This tag is associated with 18 posts

Using Silkworms to Make More than Silk

We have a long history with the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which was native throughout Asia and thought to have been domesticated more than 5,000 years ago in China to make silk. Silkworms today are biological silk-producing machines, the products of thousands of years of careful breeding. Silk production is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with … Continue reading »

The Chikungunya Virus is in the U.S.: Get to Know the Virus

Have you heard of the chikungunya virus? The virus (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) was discovered in 1952 in Africa, and has been slowly making its way around the world… although the pace has been quickened in recent years. The first U.S. case was reported just earlier this month, on July 17, 2014, and a second case soon … Continue reading »

Citizen Biology

Are you not a scientist by training but you’d like to help scientists do real research? Or maybe you are a scientist and would like to aid others in doing more investigations in your spare time. Whatever your background, there are actually many ways that you can now do real scientific research in your spare … Continue reading »

Exploding Termites

A species of rainforest termite makes the ultimate sacrifice to defend its home – these bugs blow themselves up. Self-destructing animals might sound like a B-rated sci-fi movie, but it is a reality when it comes to these termites (of the species Neocapritermes taracua) living in the French Guiana rainforests of South America. Older worker … Continue reading »

Aging and the Gut Microbiome

The more we learn about them, the clearer it’s becoming that the microbiomes that surround us – and live inside of us – serve vital functions for us. (Microbiomes are collections of microbes, such as bacteria and yeast, which live together in a certain area.) Just last week, we looked at the microbes living in … Continue reading »

Camouflage Experts: Walkingsticks

Have you ever looked at part of a plant only to discover it’s actually an insect? Walkingsticks, also known as stick-bugs, are insects that have mastered the art of camouflage. With long, skinny bodies that are usually green or brown in color (or even able to change color!), these bugs easily blend in with the … Continue reading »

Biology Bytes: The Books

The Biology Bytes blog was inspired by the publication of two separate books by the same author. If you enjoy reading about the fascinating critters and plants that are all around us, or the latest developments in stem cell research or modern medicine in general, or have simply been enjoying reading the wide variety of … Continue reading »

Cockroaches: Pests and Pets

Cockroaches often get a bad reputation; they’re dirty, invade people’s homes, and spread disease. But because they’re generally attracted to unsanitary, damp conditions, cockroaches actually find most homes uninviting. They’re seldom found in clean living areas. And in fact, of the 4,500 species of cockroaches found worldwide, only 30 are associated with human dwellings, and … Continue reading »

Sustainability and Eating Insects

While many cultures around the world regularly eat insects, people in North America and Europe are generally still squeamish when it comes to plopping a mealworm in their mouth. But insects are a much more sustainable source of animal “meat” than beef, chicken, and pork – insects take up less space, eat less food to … Continue reading »

Fossilized Mosquito with a Belly Full of Blood

While it’s unlikely that Jurassic Park and its cloned dinosaurs will become a reality any time soon, researchers did recently discover a 46 million-year-old fossilized mosquito with a meal of blood trapped within it. Although DNA did not survive, other blood components did, and so this highly unlikely discovery can help us better understand the … Continue reading »