Archives for category: Insects and ‘minibeasts’

Male bumblebees can still fly at the kinds of atmospheric conditions found at over 9000 metres by changing how they flap their wings.

Mosquito sperm has smell receptors on its surface, so it may be able to sense smells – this may help it to make its way to fertilise the egg.

A Peruvian spider uses insect corpses and debris to make an eight-legged fake spider in the middle of its web. It’s not quite clear why, but it it could be to deter predators.



A gut parasite, Paranosema locustae, can stop the creation of swarms of the migratory locustĀ Locusta migratoria manilensis. These swarms can can wipe out huge areas of crops in Africa and other countries .

Three species of dung beetles gallop rather than run, and this isn’t seen in other insects. Most insects move three legs at a time, in what us known as an ‘alternate tripod gait’.

A 520 million year old fossil of a spider-like creature shows details of its brain and nervous system.

The research was published in Nature.

Ants are more closely related to bees than to wasps, according to a study of the insects’ genomes and transcriptomes (the genes that are actively being translated into proteins).

The smaller the animal, the slower it seems to see time pass – this could be why flies find it so easy to avoid our rolled up newspapers.

See the original research in Animal Behaviour.

The teeth in cogs in the legs of young Issus coleoptratus planthoppers mesh together and help the insects to jump.

Read the original research in Science.

Fruit flies given a supplement of polyamines such as spermidine slows the memory loss caused by aging. The next step is to test this in mice and humans.

See the original paper in Nature Neuroscience.

%d bloggers like this: