New research shows that nearly 300 species of coastal creatures were carried across the Pacific Ocean in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with some organisms making a journey of more than 7,000 kilometres (4,350 miles) across the waves from Japan to the United States. This unprecedented migration was made possible by the
Among the possible pest infestations you could get, bed bugs are definitely one of the worst. They’ll nest inside your mattress and feast on your flesh at night, and they develop resistance to pesticides really quickly. So once you have them, getting them gone is really tricky and requires professional help. And there has
Australia was once home to a giant prehistoric Ice Age marsupial related to wombats and koalas, and that followed an annual seasonal migration. The three-tonne beast, up to 1.8 metres (6 ft) tall and 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) long, was the only known marsupial to follow a migration pattern, according to our research published in
In the isolated Solomon Islands, mothers and fathers have been known to sing to their children of apocryphal rats. In one rhyme, Kamare and Isuku go scurrying up a child, one rat on each side. They climb the ribs and reach the armpits, where the singer finally tickles the child. Isuku, as the song
Time to add even more candles to life’s birthday cake – around another 150 million of them, to be precise. Rocks from northern Canada have shown signs that life was doing its thing about 3.95 billion years ago, setting a new record for fossils while showing biology was more eager to get started on Earth
Primates such as apes, monkeys and chimpanzees can appear extraordinarily human in their responses to the world around them. They have been observed, for instance, grieving when members of their tribe die, in a surprisingly touching way. Mother primates are also known to carry around their dead babies for some time after death, although it
Five minutes in the life of a guppy in the terrible spring of 2015: You’re swimming around with your friends in a tank. You’ve been here for days. Food falls from the sky. Everything is fine. Then suddenly, you’re netted up and dropped into an alien world, all alone, just you and the glass.
We’ve all heard the terrible stories about the Great Barrier Reef, and the extensive bleaching that has occurred in recent years. But despite what some news outlets might think, the reef is not actually dead, and we still need to monitor what’s happening closely to try to stop the damage where possible. That’s why
Diploscapter pachys has a lineage that goes back about 18 million, and in all that time it seems the tiny little roundworm hasn’t cared much for doing the horizontal Hokey-Pokey. That’s quite a record, and now researchers think they know why D. pachys is such an all-star of sexual abstinence; it has amassed a rather
It was well past midnight when Michael Abrams, Claire Bedbrook and Ravi Nath crept into the Caltech lab where they were keeping their jellyfish. They didn’t bother switching on the lights, opting instead to navigate the maze of desks and equipment by the pale blue glow of their cellphones. The students hadn’t told anyone that they were
Hermit crabs are well known for their ability to turn an empty shell into protective armour, but it seems that shells aren’t the only armour around. A new species of hermit crab that shelters in solitary corals has been discovered in southern Japan. Details of the discovery, made by scientists at Kyoto University, have
In the world of ducks, there’s a lot going on under the surface. But the biggest influence on what’s down below seems to be the company they keep. Of the 10,000 or so known species of birds, ducks are in the rare minority that have actually retained their penises, which shrink and expand by as
A giant, beach ball-sized frog that lived 70 million years ago had a bite that would have been strong enough to snap up small dinosaurs. Beelzebufo ampinga was the largest frog to have ever lived – at least that we know of. But it was similar to the modern Ceratophrys frogs, and now scientists have used
It’s not easy raising kids. You bring them into this world, feed them, look after their every need, and what kind of thanks do you get? Well, in the case of velvet spiders, a mother’s pride in her brood is nightmarishly short-lived, because when food supplies run low, her crawling, many-legged children will ultimately devour
Wolves have an understanding of cause-and-effect that domesticated dogs do not – and they’re just as good as dogs at following directions given by a human. This difference in cognition may have something to do with the domestication process, according to researchers from the Wolf Science Centre at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna.
Mexico sits atop three of Earth’s largest tectonic plates – the North American plate, the Cocos Plate, and the Pacific Plate. Whenever these chunks of crust grind or butt up against one another, earthquakes happen. As a former lakebed, Mexico City is also home to soft soil that essentially acts as an amplifier for tremors,
So many new species aren’t discovered straight out of the ground, but after having been under our noses for decades. Such is the case with Arminisaurus schuberti, a newly discovered ‘sea monster’ that swam the Jurassic oceans 190 million years ago. Poor Arminisaurus had a dreadful journey. The fossilised bones were originally discovered in a
A new study has revealed that at least one dinosaur species laid eggs that were a striking blue-green colour – and that suggests the creatures were even more like birds than we previously thought. Analysis of a fossilised dinosaur nest has now confirmed the egg shells found within weren’t discoloured by fossilisation, but were actually
How animals evolved on Earth is somewhat murky. We know that most major animal phyla we see today appeared during the Cambrian explosion 541 million years ago – but before that, the fossil record is patchy. But that doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. Before the Cambrian explosion, there lived a group of strange lifeforms known collectively
A brave little koala has survived a perilous 16-kilometre (10-mile) journey clinging to the axle of a four-wheel-drive. The marsupial is believed to have crawled into the car’s wheelwell unbeknownst to the driver, who then started driving through the winding terrain of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Other drivers had flagged him, but he
The snow leopard’s conservation status just got knocked down a notch, and the big cat is now officially no longer endangered. On the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, the snow leopard is now considered Vulnerable – still under threat, just not quite as dire as the Endangered status.
Benjamin Franklin may or may not have flown a kite through lightning. But British scientist Michael Faraday, a 19th-century pioneer in electromagnetism, definitely grabbed an electric eel. He wrote in awe of animals that gave the “same concussion to the living system as the electrical machine, the voltaic battery and the thunderstorm”. Faraday decided
It’s tough being different – especially when you’re an 8-year-old who absolutely loves bugs and brings them to school as friends. Sophia Spencer’s fascination with insects didn’t go down well with her peers until a crowd of professional entomologists stepped in for support. Now she has just become the proud junior author of a paper
After high winds and heavy rains brought by Hurricane Harvey, a mysterious sea creature with fangs and no face washed up on the shoreline in southwest Texas – giving the Internet a challenging task: to identify it. Preeti Desai, social media manager at the National Audubon Society, posted pictures of the critter earlier this month
Beneath the Antarctic ice, Weddell seals play in underwater caverns. Resplendent quetzals deliver food to their young in a Costa Rican cloud forest. And an elephant gazes at a photographer as her herd quenches its thirst by the edge of a waterhole. Even as hurricanes and wildfires wreak havoc on much of the globe, the
Scientists have discovered a new type of ‘hell ant’ – a species with terrifying spiky mouthparts reinforced with metal and used for drinking the blood of its enemies. Thankfully, these insects have been extinct for a while, but a 98-million-year-old amber specimen has now revealed stunning detail of the prehistoric species, including a curious metal
Zoo Miami isn’t evacuating its animals. Instead, it has safely secured them, hunkering down to weather Hurricane Irma. Many of them have been temporarily relocated to a reinforced building on the zoo site, where they will stay until the hurricane – which made landfall Sunday and is currently battering the state’s south – has passed.
As a meteorologist, there are things you learn in textbooks that you may never see in person. You know they happen theoretically, but the chances of seeing the most extraordinary weather phenomena are slim to none. This is one of those things – a hurricane strong enough to change the shape of an ocean.
Remember when crows were the big deal among tool-building animals? That’s so last decade. Parrots are where it’s all at now in clever avian construction. More precisely, Goffin’s cockatoo is the latest bird to be declared a master engineer by biologists. Which comes as a bit of a surprise to researchers – unlike the crow,
A world-famous butterfly migration along the west coast of the US has reduced to a relative trickle in recent decades, indicating this amazing natural phenomenon could soon be a thing of the past. The decline in western monarch populations has been evident since the 1980s. Now a new study is calling it; the end is
We’ve never seen the CRISPR gene-editing tool used like this before. Scientists have turned a Japanese garden plant from violet to white by disrupting a single gene – yet more evidence of the huge potential that CRISPR holds. The modified flower is the Japanese morning glory plant (the Ipomoea nil or Pharbitis nil), with researchers
Scientists have never fully understood what drives whole pods of whales to beach themselves in mass strandings along the world’s coastlines, but it’s possible the impetus may not originate on Earth. The same phenomenon that produces spellbinding aurorae like the northern lights could also be triggering mass whale strandings, with powerful solar storms causing disruptions
Do pack animals just follow their leader? Or if not, how do they reach a consensus? According to observations taken of African wild dogs in Botswana, one option is sneezing. According to new research, if enough animals in the pack sternutate, that constitutes a quorum that it’s time to get up and go hunting.
It’s sticky, slimy, and if you held one in your hands it might feel something like a gelatinous, semi-deflated basketball. But the biggest surprise about this bizarre brain-like blob found recently in an artificial lagoon in Canada is that the gooey mass isn’t actually an it at all, but a they. Yep, this pile
Think of the tropics, and you’ll no doubt picture lush, dense greenery with huge leaves. Venture towards the poles or arid regions, however, and the leaves on vegetation become small and narrow. So it’s easy to assume plants evolved different sized leaves to cope with differences in temperature and moisture. Now scientists have a clearer
Our increased use of antidepressants is having a knock-on effect on nature: scientists have found evidence of these drugs in the brain tissue of 10 different species of fish in the Great Lakes region. Not only does it threaten the biodiversity of the lakes, the researchers say, it can also cause harmful changes to the
As a researcher who works on fruit flies, I often get asked how to get them out of someone’s kitchen. This happens to fly researchers often enough that we sit around fly conferences (these actually exist) and complain about getting asked this question. Meanwhile, we watch the same fruit flies buzz around our beers instead
A prey-killing mechanism so imperceptibly deadly it evolved at least five times in different kinds of ants has been caught on camera by scientists – just barely. Myrmoteras, a rarely seen genus of trap-jaw ants from South-East Asia, snap their jaws shut on unsuspecting prey at speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour (50
Changes to the Turkish secondary school science curriculum that has been expected to take effect by 2019 will be in place next month, according to recent updates on the controversial measure. While the government sees this as the foundation for a simpler, “values-based” education system, for many in the politically-charged nation it’s a troubling sign
I watched the solar eclipse on my parents’ farm in Wisconsin and got a front row seat to wacky animal behaviour during the celestial event of the century. At the eclipse’s peak, when the moon was covering about 83 percent of the sun, chipmunks popped their heads out of their burrows, and a pheasant started
After years of research, scientists have worked out how some bacteria are able to survive inside amoebae – by stabbing them with microscopic daggers to prevent digestion. This miniature game of biological swordplay was discovered through a new method where amoebae are frozen to minus 180°C (minus 292°F) and then gradually chiselled with a focussed
Scientists have unearthed a new class of chemical reaction which had been overlooked since it was first predicted to exist almost 100 years ago. It is thought this could open the possibility for new engine designs and even be used to understand a range of fundamental issues around climate change and the conditions that gave
Devastating floods and landslides have hit India, Nepal, and Bangladesh over the past week, as the monsoon season has brought extremely heavy rains. Amidst reports of rising death tolls in the region, there’s one flicker of positivity – footage has emerged of trained elephants helping with the rescue efforts, as they carry people to safety
For the first time, researchers have amazingly captured the offshore calls of Gentoo penguins as they forage in the freezing waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Using miniature GoPro-style ‘penguincams’ fastened to the backs of the seabirds, the team found that vocal communication amongst these penguins is linked to group formation rather than food gathering. The
Over half a billion years ago our planet experienced the mother of all ice ages. One that not only turned Earth into a giant snow ball, but, according to new research, probably gave complex life the kick in the pants it needed to flourish. Organic molecules found trapped inside sedimentary rocks from the Australian outback
On August 1, security footage revealed that a giant tortoise named Aboo had walked out the gates of an animal park in Japan and wandered off in an unknown direction. You’d think she wouldn’t get very far, but staff were unable to locate the tortoise for more than two weeks. Worried that she may have
A dinosaur we’ve only known about for a couple of years could be the missing link between plant-eating dinosaurs and members of the theropod group, including carnivores like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor. That’s based on a new analysis of the Chilesaurus dinosaur – first identified in 2015 from a fossil find in Chile, it’s intrigued
Last Friday, Hans Nilsson in Sweden finally caught sight of an elusive creature he’d been trying to capture on film for three years straight. He spoke about the experience to Swedish national radio, and just a couple days later his footage of the incredibly rare, incredibly majestic white moose is in the process of breaking