This tag is associated with 18 posts

Asian Giant Hornets – Their Venom Dissolves Skin

The title about says it all. Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) are pretty terrifying – they’re the largest hornets in the world, reaching around 5 cm (2 inches) in length, or about the size of a person’s thumb. And they can kill a person if they get stung enough. They live in parts of Asia … Continue reading »

Assassins of the Bug World

When thinking of fierce little critters, poisonous spiders often come to mind. Their fear-inducing image is all over right now for the spooky Halloween season. But there’s actually a group of insects that hunts spiders – the aptly-named assassin bugs. And how they accomplish this feat is quite amusing – the assassin bugs will often … Continue reading »

Dating Corpses: How Microbes Can Help

Decomposition is a fascinating area of research, if you have the stomach for it. Biologists often pursue it to help make us better forensics tools, since if we understand how a body changes as it decomposes, we can get a better idea of when a person (or other animal) died. In other words, it’s all … Continue reading »

Metamorphosis Revealed: 3D Imaging of the Inside of a Living Butterfly Chrysalis

Metamorphosis is an amazing process. A caterpillar appears to magically turn into a butterfly. Think of it – a worm-like critter that spends its time constantly eating leaves and growing somehow becomes an insect with relatively huge wings that mostly eats nectar from flowers. The two stages look completely different and have completely different diets … Continue reading »

Cicadas: Boisterous (Yet Elusive) Insects

Have you been wandering outside lately and heard a buzzing sound? If you tracked the sound back to some trees or shrubs (and not to a neighbor’s power tool!), chances are good that what you’re listening to is a cicada (or several of them!). Cicadas are among the loudest insects in the world, but because … Continue reading »

Novel Malaria Vaccine: Most Effective Yet?

It’s amazing to think that some of the smallest organisms cause humans some of the most trouble. For example, malaria is caused by a tiny, single-celled parasite, so small that several can live within one of our blood cells. In 2010, about 219 million people in the world were infected with malaria (mostly in tropical/subtropical … Continue reading »

The Amazing Tardigrade

What can survive being frozen at just above absolute zero, and sitting in boiling water? What about getting thrown out into space and surviving life in an oxygen-free vacuum with intense solar UV radiation for at least 10 days? It’s the amazing tardigrade! The tardigrade is a tiny, 1 millimeter-long organism that can survive a … Continue reading »

Decline of the Honey Bees: The Most Likely Suspects

You’ve probably heard that honey bees are in decline. Since 2006, honey bees have been struck by a condition that devastates hives, leaving as many as 95% of hives in an area empty. It’s been called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD for short) and it makes the bees abandon their hives, flying away and never returning. … Continue reading »