As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

SCIENCE: There’s an Intersex Stick Insect, And Their Name is Charlie

Charlie the Intersex Stick Insect - Facebook

London’s Natural History Museum has confirmed that the first known dual-sex stick insect has been discovered – and their name is Charlie. Charlie is a green bean stick insect, or Diapherodes gigantea, who belongs to stick insect breeder Lauren Garfield who lives in Waldringfield, Suffolk. Garfield shared photos of Charlie to her Facebook page, and said that she had “accidentally” bred a “gynandromorphic” stick insect. Full Story from Pink News

NATURE: How Vampire Bats Survive on an All-Blood Diet

vampire bat

Vampire bats have an unusual, blood-only diet that’s high in protein but lacking in other nutrients. Now, a new study hints that “missing” genes may explain how the flying mammals survive on nothing but blood meals, lapped from their victims’ open wounds in the dead of night, The Scientist Magazine reported. In the new study, posted Oct. 19 to the preprint database bioRxiv, researchers compared the genome of the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) with those of 25 other bat species. The analysis revealed that D. rotundus lacks functional copies of 13 genes that appear in the other bats; these … Read more

NATURE: Now There Are Zombie Sex Flies

Zombie Flies

A deadly fungus infects and controls the minds of house flies, before consuming them from the inside out — and that’s just the start of its gruesome reproductive strategy. As the fungus’s grand finale, its spores, which poke from the cadavers of infected female flies, emit an alluring scent that seduces males into mating with the corpses. When the pathogenic fungus Entomophthora muscae infects house flies (Musca domestica), it begins by manipulating their behavior, compelling the flies to climb to an elevated surface, like a tall plant stem or twig. The zombie flies then cling and die there with their … Read more

Narwhals, Unicorns of the Sea


Next to tardigrades and red panda, Narwhals are one of my favorite creatures: The narwhal is an elusive, mysterious resident of the remote Arctic. The species, a relatively small whale adapted for extreme icy environments, is known for growing a characteristic spiral tusk that resembles the historical portrayal of a unicorn’s horn. The name “narwhal” comes from the Norse words “nar” (corpse) and “hval” (whale). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the name refers to the whale’s dappled gray skin, which to sailors resembled that of a drowned person. Narwhals are an important subsistence resource for Inuit … Read more

NATURE: Attack of the (Bee) Clones

Cape Honeybee - Deposit Photos

When hives of the African lowland honeybee (Apis mellifera scutella) collapse, they do so because of an invisible inner threat: the growing, immortal clone army of a rival bee subspecies. That army is possible because the female workers of the rival subspecies — the South African Cape honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis) — can create perfect copies of themselves, with one individual found to have done so millions of times in the past three decades. With this perpetual-cloning ability, the Cape honeybees sneak into the hives of their lowland honeybee rivals and churn out copy after copy (no need for a … Read more

SCIENCE: There’s Now a Bionic Vulture

Bionic Vulture

A wild vulture recently had surgery in Vienna to implant a bionic leg. While still a nestling, Mia suffered a major injury to her right leg. Her parents had used sheep wool to hold the nest together, and some of the fibers became tangled around the young vulture’s ankle. With her strangled foot starved for oxygen, her toes began to die. Fortunately for Mia, a team of veterinarians treated her injury. However, the foot was beyond repair; an amputation left her with a right leg ending in a stump. For a bearded vulture, lacking a foot is a death sentence, … Read more

Scientists Unravel Mystery Of One of Nature’s Weirdest Wangs


Scientists in Australia have uncovered the mystery behind the bizarre four-headed echidna penis by creating an advanced 3D model of the peculiar organ. There are four species of echidnas that, along with platypuses, make up a unique group known as monotremes — the smallest of the three mammal groups — whose members lay eggs like birds and fish, but also produce milk like other mammals. Much about this group remains a mystery, the study researchers said. One of the biggest monotreme mysteries is the echidna penis, which has four separate heads, or glans, at the end of the shaft. If … Read more

There’s Plastic in the Air You Breathe

Plastic - Deposit Photos

Millions of tiny pieces of plastic are swirling around in Earth’s atmosphere and traveling across entire continents, according to a new study. This environmental problem is likely to get much worse and could have serious effects on human health, experts say. Microplastics measure less than 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) long, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). And previous studies had shown that these microscopic particles can be found in the ocean, bottled water and even our poop, but until now, the atmospheric section of this “plastic cycle” had been poorly understood. The new study revealed thousands of … Read more

SCIENCE: Do Octopuses Dream?

octopus - pixabay

When octopuses snooze on the seafloor, their skin sometimes pulses with an array of colors, and at other times, they become pale and plain. These alternating patterns mark two distinct stages of the octopus sleep cycle, a small study suggests. During “active sleep,” when an octopus’s skin ripples with dazzling colors, the cephalopod may experience something similar to our rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, the authors wrote in the study, published March 25 in the journal iScience. Humans do most of their dreaming during REM sleep, but for now, we don’t know if cephalopods also drift off to dreamland — or … Read more

NATURE: Tiny Animal Superpowers

ant and dog - pixabay

Nature documentaries showcase the most exciting moments of daily life in the natural world, and a new series reveals that survival for some of the tiniest creatures can be as harrowing, suspenseful and dramatic as it is for big animals. Apple TV+’s “Tiny World” introduces a fresh look at how the world looks when glimpsed from the point of view of its smallest wildlife inhabitants, such as minuscule scampering lizards; wee flyers like bees, dragonflies and hummingbirds; and rainforest primates that are so small they’re dwarfed by a katydid. The series is narrated by actor Paul Rudd, who embraced the power … Read more