In this installment of What I Left Out — a recurring feature in which writers share a chapter that didn’t make it into their latest book — author and scientist Martin Doyle tells how a ragtag team of researchers and river guides are trying to repair the intricate food web disrupted by the Glen Canyon Dam.… Read the rest
It’s official: pooping the bed is not the worst thing you can do. Letting bedbugs do it is worse.
As the creepy critters bite you while you slumber, they also squeeze out poops loaded with histamine, a chemical that our own bodies push out during an inflammatory response to allergens. Histamine can trigger itchiness, watery eyes, sneezing, trouble breathing, headaches, and asthma attacks, among other problems. Homes with bedbug infestations can become histamine Dutch ovens, according to a new study led by entomologists and health experts at North Carolina State University. The researchers found that histamine levels… Read the rest
Deadly battles play out several times a day in the Ivory Coast’s Comoé National Park, leaving wounded behind. The fights break out when hundreds of African Matabele ants march off to raid a nearby termite mound to slaughter termite workers and haul them back to the nest to feed the colony. But termites, with their strong, sharp mandibles, aren’t easy prey, and raiders often get limbs bitten off in the fight.
In the aftermath of a raid, researchers are finding evidence that the ants care for their wounded. The wounded ants secrete a pheromone that calls other returning raiders to carry their injured comrades home. Back at the nest, healthy nest-mates clean the injured ants’… Read the rest
If a Matabele ant loses a limb in a battle with termites, its nestmates will tend its injuries – a behaviour never before seen in any non-human animal… Read the rest
Bombardier beetles sometimes get eaten by toads, but they can squirt hot, toxic jets of liquid from their backsides so the toads often vomit them right back up… Read the rest
Colonies of turtle ants are often attacked by competing species, and the ants understand enough military strategy to decide when certain nests should be abandoned… Read the rest
While buzzing between flowers, bees can solve the maths dilemma called the travelling salesman problem by finding the shortest route that visits every blossom… Read the rest