Mosquitoes' taste for blood is finally explained

Mosquitoes can taste your blood using unique sensory abilities. Can we use that to keep them off us?

Credit: MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP/ Getty Images
  • A recent study demonstrates that mosquito brains react to the taste of human blood in strange ways.
  • Some neurons only activated when presented with all four flavor elements. This is thought to be a unique adaptation.
  • The findings may lead to novel ways to prevent mosquito bites.
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Spiders lace webs in toxins to paralyze prey

Just what every arachnophobe needed to hear.

Luciano Marra from São Paulo, Brasil - Aranha de Teia (Nephila clavipes), CC BY-SA 2.0
  • A new study suggests some spiders might lace their webs with neurotoxins similar to the ones in their venom.
  • The toxins were shown to be effective at paralyzing insects injected with them.
  • Previous studies showed that other spiders lace their webs with chemicals that repel large insects.
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Weird science shows unseemly way beetles escape after being eaten

Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.

  • A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
  • The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
  • Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
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Rutgers-led research finds bee decline threatens crop yields

Declining bee populations could lead to increased food insecurity and economic losses in the billions.

(Photo: Sarah Dickinson)
  • Species richness among wild bees and other pollinators has been declining for 50 years.
  • A new study found crops like apples, cherries, and blueberries to be pollination limited, meaning less pollination reduces crop yields.
  • Conservation efforts will need to be made to stave off future losses and potential food insecurity.
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    This might be the oldest creature to have ever lived on land

    Scientists think an insect similar to the modern millipede crawled around Scotland 425 million years ago, making it the first-ever land-dweller.

    British Geological Survey
    • An ancient millipede-like creature living in Scotland may have been the first creature to live on land.
    • A fossil representing Kampecaris obanensis was first discovered in 1899 on the Scottish isle of Kerrera. It's now been radiometrically dated to 425 million years ago.
    • If the new research is correct about the age of the fossil, then scientists have been greatly underestimating how rapidly bugs and plants evolved to transition to life on land.
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