Fossilized dinosaur poop contains new insect species

Discovering fossilized insects is difficult, but a new find suggests a unique place to look.

Qvarnström et al., Current Biology, 2021
  • A new study demonstrates that dinosaur dung may contain fossilized insects unknown to science.
  • The newly discovered bug, Triamyxa coprolithica, is a new species that shares a family with many modern aquatic beetles.
  • The dinosaur that ate the bug 230 million years ago, Silesaurus, was a two-meter-long omnivore.
Keep reading Show less

​Researchers breed a fungus that kills mites to save bees

Researchers develop a fungus that kills mites that contribute to honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder.

Credit: BigBlueStudio/Adobe Stock
  • Honeybee colony collapse is due in part to Varroa mites that weaken honey bee immune systems.
  • Chemicals that were once effective against the mites are no longer working as well.
  • Researchers are stepping in with a newly cultured fungus that goes after the mites without bothering the bees.
Keep reading Show less

CRISPR gives mosquitos contagious infertility

Could this spell the end for mosquitos?

Researchers have used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to target a specific gene tied to fertility in male mosquitoes.

Keep reading Show less

First-of-its-kind flower smells like dead insects

Life finds a way — in this case, by smelling like death.

Credit: T. Rupp, B. Oelschlägel, K. Rabitsch et al.
  • Many plants use some kind of mimicry to attract pollinators.
  • After bees, flies are the second most important pollinator on the planet.
  • Plants that emit smelly odors usually try to mimic dead vertebrates, but Aristolochia microstoma is the first known plant to smell like dead insects.
Keep reading Show less
Credit: Alexey Protasov / Adobe Stock
  • Charles Darwin speculated that wingless insects thrived on windy islands because they weren't blown off the land.
  • While the reasoning was slightly faulty, researchers have now proved Darwin's 165-year-old "wind hypothesis."
  • This finding is yet another example of how environments shape the animals that inhabit them.
Keep reading Show less