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  • April 12, 2017
  • 10:59 AM
  • 308 views

Flyfocals: Vision and Vectors Help Hunting Robber Flies

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Image credit: Thomas ShahanRobber flies (Asilidae family) are not your typical house flies. They are small, predatory insects that feed on a vast array of other arthropods. While they are small in size (10 times smaller than a dragonfly), these guys are serious hunters. For example, Mallophora omboides is known as the “Florida bee killer” for its taste for honey bees. Other robber flies hunt down wasps, dragonflies, spiders, or grasshoppers, just to name a few. Perhaps almost as impressive a........ Read more »

Wardill, T., Fabian, S., Pettigrew, A., Stavenga, D., Nordström, K., & Gonzalez-Bellido, P. (2017) A Novel Interception Strategy in a Miniature Robber Fly with Extreme Visual Acuity. Current Biology, 27(6), 854-859. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.050  

  • November 22, 2016
  • 03:43 AM
  • 414 views

Interview with Rosa Fernández, 2016 OMA Visiting Fellow

by Christophe Dessimoz in Open Reading Frame

Note: We are rebooting our “Life in the Lab” series, which features interviews of interns and visitors. This post is by our inaugural OMA Visiting Fellow Rosa Fernández García, who spent a month with us earlier this year. You can follow Rosa on Twitter at @Rosamygale. —Christophe

 

Please introduce yourself and your research interests.

I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology (major in Zoology) at Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. I got my master’s and PhD at the s........ Read more »

Fernández R, Laumer CE, Vahtera V, Libro S, Kaluziak S, Sharma PP, Pérez-Porro AR, Edgecombe GD, & Giribet G. (2014) Evaluating topological conflict in centipede phylogeny using transcriptomic data sets. Molecular biology and evolution, 31(6), 1500-13. PMID: 24674821  

Novo M, Fernández R, Andrade SC, Marchán DF, Cunha L, & Díaz Cosín DJ. (2016) Phylogenomic analyses of a Mediterranean earthworm family (Annelida: Hormogastridae). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 94(Pt B), 473-8. PMID: 26522608  

Sharma, P., Fernandez, R., Esposito, L., Gonzalez-Santillan, E., & Monod, L. (2015) Phylogenomic resolution of scorpions reveals multilevel discordance with morphological phylogenetic signal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1804), 20142953-20142953. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2953  

  • October 22, 2015
  • 11:34 AM
  • 941 views

Thiaminases poison animals by destroying an essential vitamin

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

A fundamental part of being alive is continually building up and breaking down organic molecules. Some molecules can only be constructed or torn down by a select group of living things, which can make it interesting for everyone else. For example, only bacteria and archaea can synthesize vitamin B12, so we have to get it through our diet or by having it administered as a drug.... Read more »

Moyo A, Bimbo F, Adeyoyin K, Nnaemeka A, Oluwatoyin G, & Oladeji A. (2014) Seasonal ataxia: A case report of a disappearing disease. African Health Sciences, 14(3), 769. DOI: 10.4314/ahs.v14i3.38  

Ringe H, Schuelke M, Weber S, Dorner BG, Kirchner S, & Dorner MB. (2014) Infant botulism: Is there an association with thiamine deficiency?. Pediatrics, 134(5). PMID: 25311602  

  • August 20, 2015
  • 02:09 PM
  • 1,180 views

Falling with Style: Controlled Gliding in Spiders

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Sometimes I read a paper because the methods catch my eye. I can just imagine some scientists sitting around a table with a beer and saying, “I wonder what would happen if we just dropped a bunch of spiders from the tops of trees.” An article published online yesterday did just that.Barro Colorado Island is a man-made island is located in Gatun Lake, created by filling of the Panama Canal. It is covered in tropical rainforests, and its inhabitants have been studied extensively. It would be a........ Read more »

Stephen P. Yanoviak, Yonatan Munk, & Robert Dudley. (2015) Arachnid aloft: directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders. J. R. Soc. Interface. info:/10.1098/rsif.2015.0534

  • August 11, 2015
  • 03:16 PM
  • 861 views

Mutualism a.k.a Caterpillars Drugging Ants To Do Their Bidding

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

The manuscript is done! Submitted! Summer interns are finished. Boot up Normal Life Mode, please. Recommence blogging. So many good papers have come out during my hiatus. Where to start…where to start…If you have read this blog for any amount of time then you will come across by fascination with ant manipulation, particularly zombification. This is why my cursor stopped over a new paper in Current Biology about caterpillars manipulating ants to do their bidding. Let’s start with mutualism......... Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 10:00 AM
  • 901 views

Hold your breath: carbon dioxide triggers exploratory behaviour in mosquitoes to help find hosts

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington show that sensing carbon dioxide triggers mosquitoes to explore visual features that help guide them towards potential hosts. Holding your breath won't really help you from getting bitten though.... Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 04:21 PM
  • 931 views

Not So Simple: Social Evolution in Silk-Weaving Ants

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Silk weaving ants. That in and of itself is really neat. Then you see this picture of Polyrhachis shattuck...I mean, look at her! How many cool points can one animal rack up? A new study in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology takes a look at these arboreal nesting and silk-weaving ants.Let's begin with sociality. It is one of those subjects in biology that is considered its own discipline. When you think of social animals you probably think of herds of mammals or maybe schools of ........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2014
  • 10:22 AM
  • 831 views

Treating school uniforms to reduce dengue: the Finances

by Yao-Hua Law in TORCH

 [A shorter version of this article first appeared on SciDev.Net] Scientists working to reduce dengue among school children in Thailand are testing something new: insecticide-treated school uniforms. A recent model published in PLoS One suggests that this intervention can be economically attractive in the context of Thailand. Using data from dengue studies in Thailand, the […]... Read more »

  • April 19, 2014
  • 12:51 PM
  • 1,568 views

First female “penis” discovered in cave-dwelling insects

by beredim in Strange Animals

Image showing the female penis of N. auroraCredit: Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: PsocopteraFamily: PrionoglarididaeGenus: NeotroglaSpecies: N. aurora, N. curvet and 2 otherThis Thursday, researchers announced that they have discovered several insect species that display the "world's first" known instance of gender-reversed genitalia. In simple words, they have found 4 insect species with female... "penises." and male "vaginae"!........ Read more »

  • March 14, 2014
  • 03:32 PM
  • 1,323 views

The Charge of the Crazy Ant: Chemical Warfare Between Invading Species

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

I’ll be the first to admit that I've been a little blog-negligent lately. Even when all of the ice and snow we've gotten here on the East Coast forced me to stay inside I just binge watched shows on Netflix instead. I’m not sure what brought me out of my procrastination funk and compelled me to do a little reading and writing. If you've been following the Facebook page then you've been getting a lot of yummy sciency tidbits, but it’s time for me to get back on the hard science wagon. I thi........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2014
  • 11:03 AM
  • 2,366 views

Giraffe Weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa)

by beredim in Strange Animals

Giraffe weevilKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: ColeopteraFamily: AttelabidaeGenus: TrachelophorusSpecies: Trachelophorus giraffaConservation Status: Not assessedCommon Name: Giraffe weevil, leaf-rolling weevils (used for all Attelabidae species)The giraffe weevil is a weevil species endemic to the forests of Madagascar. It was discovered in 2008, hence little is known about it. As you have probably guessed, its named this way due to ........ Read more »

  • January 31, 2014
  • 09:00 AM
  • 2,144 views

What happens when you poke, prod and pinch black widow spiders? You might be surprised…

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

A research paper investigates what happens when black widow spiders are poked, prodded and pinched, experimentally. Not surprisingly (to Arachnologists!) they seldom bite.... Read more »

  • January 29, 2014
  • 04:00 AM
  • 1,404 views

New Species of ‘Bizarre’ Giant-Eyed Insect Discovered in Washington Fossil

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

A “bizarre” fossilized bug whose head was nearly covered by two giant, bulbous eyes may help explain the evolution of unusual predatory insects that are still flying today, paleontologists say.... Read more »

  • January 27, 2014
  • 12:04 PM
  • 1,002 views

Pinpointing the Pollen: Honeybees and a Host Jumping Virus

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lately I've been revisiting some of my past topics and continuing the story with new research. Such is the case today. A relatively popular post of mine from 2010 called The Buzz on the Bees described a study from that year by Jerry Bromenshenk et al. investigating Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD describes the mysterious, sudden and serious die-off seen honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies across the U.S. It is characterized by sudden colony death with a lack of adult bees in front of the........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2014
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,721 views

A master-class in bizarre biology: itchy, incestuous, parasitic mites with adult offspring

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

Pyemotes mites are parasitic on many insects, some of which are themselves economically important. After hanging onto their hosts, feeding on their haemolymph, and being good little parasites, females become engorged and have significant abdominal swelling. The eggs hatch in the female ovaries and the immatures develop develop inside their mothers, hatching as adults. When they emerge from their mothers, males swarm around the area where emergence is occurring, waiting for adult females to come ........ Read more »

Broce AB, Zurek L, Kalisch JA, Brown R, Keith DL, Gordon D, Goedeke J, Welbourn C, Moser J, Ochoa R.... (2006) Pyemotes herfsi (Acari: Pyemotidae), a mite new to North America as the cause of bite outbreaks. Journal of medical entomology, 43(3), 610-3. PMID: 16739423  

Del Giudice P, Blanc-Amrane V, Bahadoran P, Caumes E, Marty P, Lazar M, Boissy C, Desruelles F, Izri A, Ortonne JP.... (2008) Pyemotes ventricosus dermatitis, southeastern France. Emerging infectious diseases, 14(11), 1759-61. PMID: 18976564  

  • December 18, 2013
  • 09:20 AM
  • 2,300 views

Velvet look-alikes: a most astonishing mimicry complex

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

A most amazing mimicry complex exists with velvet ants in Central and North America. This post explores this complex, including discussion about why these different wasp species looks so similar.... Read more »

Wilson JS, Williams KA, Forister ML, von Dohlen CD, & Pitts JP. (2012) Repeated evolution in overlapping mimicry rings among North American velvet ants. Nature communications, 1272. PMID: 23232402  

  • November 27, 2013
  • 09:20 AM
  • 1,879 views

On the unusual diets of spiders: A thanksgiving treat

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

Spiders do not always feed on live prey. Some will scavenge dead insects, and some will drink nectar... unusual diets, indeed.... Read more »

  • November 20, 2013
  • 09:30 AM
  • 2,236 views

Strange eyes, twisted wings

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

The wonderful yet odd insect order Strepsiptera. This post explores a bit of their biology and includes a stunning video of a male emerging from its wasp host.... Read more »

  • November 14, 2013
  • 09:00 AM
  • 2,295 views

Discovering Amazing Arthropods

by Chris Buddle in Expiscor

The first post on Expiscor - a few blog within the SciLogs network. This post introduces three species of arthropods, each with interesting biology.... Read more »

  • January 28, 2013
  • 04:16 PM
  • 857 views

Dung Beetles and Ball-Rolling: Star Light, Star Bright

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lately, it seems that poo is a popular topic in science news sections, and the dung beetle seems to be up front and center. I suppose that, if you are a dung beetle, you've solved all sorts of poo-related problems. If you recall the dung beetles and ball-cooling post from November, you will remember that these insects use their dung balls to help cool off their feet on the blazing hot African sands. But what if you are a beetle that works at night? You can chuck out the hot feet problem and worr........ Read more »

Dacke, M., Baird, E., Byrne, M., Scholtz, C., & Warrant, E. (2013) Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.034  

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