Mosquito Larva Catches Prey by Launching Its Head like a Tiny HarpoonWho knew that even at such an early stage in their lives, these insects are already killing it (quite literally).In research that spanned over a decade, scientists have finally published their findings on how mosquito larvae actually get their prey for nourishment. It turns out that these baby insects react with lightning speed. As published in the journal Annals of the Entomological Society of America, the researchers showed that two species of mosquitos, namely, Toxorhynchites amboinensis and Psorophora ciliata display unique mannerisms when it comes to hunting their prey. The larvae of these insects can launch their heads to snap up a meal in just 15 milliseconds. This was found through high-speed film footage obtained by the researchers. According to lead study author Robert Hancock, it was all just a blur to them. "We all saw a blur; then we saw a captured larva being shoveled into the mouth of a predator. That's all we saw," he said.Image credit: Hancock et.al#research #insects #science #biology #larvae #mosquitos
Argas brumpti Tick Survived for 8 Years Without FeedingLiving without eating for years is possible– if you’re a tick, at least!An East African species of tick, called Argas brumpti, was able to survive for eight years without eating. Julian Shepherd, an associate professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University discovered the insect’s abilities after running out of a food source for the said species. After initially receiving these creatures as a gift in 1976, Shepherd was surprised to find out that they survived for a very long time without eating any food. The set of ticks he acquired was composed of six adult females, four adult males, and three nymphs of the species. He fed them lab rabbits, mice, and rats until 1984 when the professor decided to stop feeding them due to a lack of source. The male ticks died four years after they weren’t able to eat. The females survived for 8 years and even managed to reproduce asexually, a behavior Shepherd noticed for the very first time. After 45 years of researching and studying the insects’ behaviors, he published his findings in the Journal of Medical Entomology.Image credit: Jonathan Cohen#food #survivial #animals #insects #ticks #research #Argasbrumpti
Chimpanzees Apply Insects to Heal WoundsResearchers from Osnabrück University and the Ozouga Chimpanzee Project observed chimpanzees applying insects to their wounds. The team, led by Dr. Tobias Deschner and Prof. Dr. Simone Pika, investigated the behavior of a group of chimpanzees. The team aimed to record and observe the social relationships, hunting behavior, tool use, and cognitive and communicative skills of the animals.This is the first time that chimpanzees were observed to apply animal matter on open wounds. "Our observations provide the first evidence that chimpanzees regularly capture insects and apply them onto open wounds. We now aim to investigate the potential beneficial consequences of such a surprising behavior," said Dr. Deschner.The authors of the study who documented this behavior have suggested that the insects might have anti-inflammatory or antiseptic properties. Another proposed explanation for this behavior is that it could be part of the local chimpanzee culture.Image credit: Tobias Deschner/ Ozouga chimpanzee project#animals #behavior #chimpanzees #medicine #externalapplication #insects #research #animalbehavior
This Is a Water Bug-Flavored Wine CoolerOr is it a beer? I’m not sure. But let’s put aside, for the moment, the precise means in which this drink will leave you intoxicated. We’ll begin with your decision to drink a substance deliberately designed to taste like a particular species of Taiwanese water bug.How do they know what this water bug tastes like? Sora News 24 explains that this insect is known in much of East Asia has having a sweet flavor similar to that of shrimp. A vinter/brewer/distiller in Japan now offers that delicious water bug flavor as a drink that translates into “Insect Sour.” It has 5% alcohol, so you’ll need to knock back a few to feel the bug-like effects.-via Dave Barry | Image: PR Times#Japan #insects #alcohol
Asian Honeybees Give Off Scream-Like Alarm When Being Attacked by Giant HornetsThat kind of response to predators or enemies will warn other members of its species! Researchers from Wellesley College managed to record the unique sounds honey bees (Apis cerana) make when giant murder hornets attack their area.Associate professor of biological sciences Heather Mattila and her colleagues observed that the bees make these noises at a frenetic pace as a distress signal when the hornets were outside their hive. “The pipes share traits in common with a lot of mammalian alarm signals, so as a mammal hearing them, there's something that is instantly recognizable as communicating danger,” she said. “It feels like a universal experience.”These sounds, also called antipredator pipes, are harsh and irregular, with shifting frequencies. Researchers compared it to the alarming shrieks, fear screams, and panic calls other animals make in response to predators. Aside from serving as a warning bell or a distress signal for the colony, the sounds serve as a signal for colony members to start their defensive actions, such as spreading animal dung around colony entrances to repel giant hornets and forming bee balls to kill attacking hornets collectively.#honeybee #bee #Insects #DistressSignal #environmentalresponse #danger
The Ten Scariest Creatures Seen Through MicroscopesThe world is full of living creatures we can't see. They outnumber us, and they can be terrifying. The reason we can't see them is because they are too small, and that's a blessing, because many of them would give us unending nightmares. Getting a look at them from a view through a microscope may be upsetting, but this is nature. If they could see us, they might be frightened as well. The creature shown at the top is a hydrothermal vent worm, ranked at #9, so you can imagine the horror that ranked above it. However, most are not all that ugly. They are included due to their danger to us, which may give you a case of the squicks, especially #2. -viaBoing Boing ​View the full list in the video clip below#microscope #insects #parasites #microscopicanimals #flea #glassworm #hookworm #mosquito #larvae
This Self-Righting Drone Uses Ladybug Inspired Wings to Get Back Up“When life knocks you down, you’ve got to get back up.”Ladybugs stand by this quote, and quite literally. When knocked down and stuck on their backs, ladybugs are capable of self-righting themselves by utilizing their strong outer wings, known as elytra, and by thrusting their legs or hind wings in order to reorient themselves.These little creatures have existed for a very long time and Charalampos Vourtsis—a doctoral assistant at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland—notes that “Over that time, they have developed several survival mechanisms that we found to be a source of inspiration for applications in modern robotics.” Inspired by this, researchers have developed self-righting drones, equipped with artificial elytra for the same purpose. This allows the drones to stabilize and reorient themselves when caught in awkward positions and even improves their aerodynamic capabilities during flight, as tests and experiments by researchers have shown. For example, long elytra, which they found were the most effective, were tested by the team on different inclines of 10°, 20°, and 30°. The drones were successful in self-righting themselves in all scenarios except for the steepest incline. The drones were also able to reorient themselves on several different terrains, namely: pavement, coarse sand, rocks, shells, and wood chips. While the drones were unable to do so in fine sand and grass, the researchers believe that further optimization may help the drones to accomplish this. A non-negligible lift offsetting the weight of the drone was also noted by the team, regarding it as a bonus.Image: EPFL-LIS#drones #ladybug #elytra #aerodynamics #insects #science #engineering #entomology #stabilization