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Entomology

Why are there so many beetle species?

Diet played a key role in the evolution of the vast beetle family tree

Getting rid of bed bugs: Trickier than ever

The blood-sucking insects now show up in two varieties and are resistant to many pesticides. New eradication strategies include fungal spores and nasty human odors.

Forests are under attack from invasive species

OPINION: International commerce and travel bring ecological destruction to the world’s most cherished natural places. We need to do more to stop the assault.

How shade coffee lends conservation a hand

When managed in the right way, the farms that provide our morning brew can be a refuge for plant and animal biodiversity

Division of labor in ants, wasps, bees — and us

Social insects and humans share the trait of divvying up tasks, as do some fish. Researchers find that it emerges naturally, and it often doesn’t take a boss to keep things in order.

Do spiders dream? What about cuttlefish? Bearded dragons?

Researchers are finding signs of multiple phases of sleep all over the animal kingdom. The ‘active’ sleep phases look very much like REM.

To help birds and insects, cultivate native gardens

Entomologist Doug Tallamy explains how filling our yards with local plants can provide our feathered friends with a caterpillar buffet

The underappreciated benefits of wild bees

Native pollinators are key to both ecology and agriculture, but have yet to get their due

Charles Henry Turner’s insights into animal behavior were a century ahead of their time

Researchers are rediscovering the forgotten legacy of a pioneering Black scientist who conducted trailblazing research on the cognitive traits of bees, spiders and more

Natural pest control: Plants enlist their enemies’ enemies

These stealthy survival tactics could teach us how to curb the widespread use of chemical pesticides in agriculture. But first, researchers must learn how seemingly helpless flora deploy this masterful strategy.

The ever-tenuous success of plants engineered to kill insect foes

Bt crops keep many agricultural pests at bay and have drastically reduced the use of pesticides. But scientists warn that these valuable tools are in jeopardy due to overuse and abuse.

Get out in your yard and count bugs

OPINION: How worried should we be about insect declines? Community science is vital for gathering information about arthropods.

A warmer planet, less nutritious plants and … fewer grasshoppers?

Higher levels of carbon dioxide are changing micronutrients in grasses, trees and even kelp. What does that mean for animals higher up the food chain?

We need to stop bugs at the border

OPINION: Trade and travel come with a shared responsibility for biosecurity

Edith’s checkerspot butterfly: Checkered past, uncertain future

How do animal populations respond to climate change? After studying the same butterfly and its habitats for decades, two biologists explain that it’s complicated — but endlessly intriguing.

Mining museums’ genomic treasures

The world’s natural history collections hold billions of biological specimens, many of which still contain DNA. Scientists exploring these genetic repositories are gaining new, historical perspectives on how animals evolve.

How plants turned predator

Carnivorous plants fascinate as much now as when their gruesome diet was first discovered. Molecular biology is helping botanists trace the origins of their predatory ways.

Life in the soil was thought to be silent. What if it isn’t?

A handful of scientists have started to train their ears to the worms, grubs and roots underground. They were not prepared for what they heard.

Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are on the rise. But why?

The complex interplay of ticks, their habitats and hosts — along with changes in land use and climate — may be enabling the spread of the pathogens they carry

How can ant and termite queens live so long?

Social insects disobey evolutionary principles that say creatures invest in body maintenance or reproduction — not both. Scientists want to know how the creatures do it. 

The alien beauty and creepy fascination of insect art

Through history and across cultures, insects have inspired artists and challenged viewers to shift their perspective

Prey tell: How moths elude bats

Millions of years of coevolution have given the insects a bag of tricks to escape their predators — from signal-jamming and decoys to acoustic camouflage

A seminal semicentennial

Fifty years ago, Geoff Parker’s pioneering scholarship on “sperm competition” in insects was broadly overlooked. Since those days, hundreds of studies in many animals have confirmed the importance of what he discovered while watching flies mate around cow pats.

The essential fly

Think before you swat: The much-maligned fly could be the key to ensuring future supplies of many of the world’s favorite foods

Dung beetles: In the gutter, gazing at the stars

As they craft their humble lives from piles of manure, the insects look to the skies for direction

The ungentle joy of spider sex

Some spiders pair puny males with gigantic females, making mating both tricky and dangerous. Why and how such mismatches evolved remains curiously enigmatic.

How predictable is evolution? An ant-loving beetle holds answers.

Dozens of times over the eons, rove beetles have made complex, independent adaptations to live inside the nests of ants — the phenomenon of convergent evolution. Biologists want to know if this shows patterns at work in natural selection.

Locusts and Grasshoppers | Things to Know

VIDEO: What’s the difference between these two insects? And what triggers a swarm?

How a poisonous plant became breakfast, lunch and dinner for monarchs

By engineering mutations into fruit flies, scientists reconstructed how the butterflies may have evolved resistance to the toxins found in milkweed, allowing their caterpillars to feast on the plant

Awesome ears: The weird world of insect hearing

Evolution made insect ears many times over, resulting in a dazzling variety of forms found in spots all over the body. Biologists are digging deep into some of those ears to figure out how and why they came to be.

The mind of an anthill

Can we use the tools of psychology to understand how colonies of social insects make decisions?

What droopy antennae, crouching cockroaches and still fruit flies have to tell us about the secrets of sleep

Slumbering bugs offer clues to explaining humans’ need for shut-eye<div xmlns="http://pub2web.metastore.ingenta.com/ns/"/>

The monarch’s stupendous migration, dissected

COMIC: The feisty orange-black butterfly uses a toolbox of biological tricks to find its way down to Mexico for winter and flap north again in spring. Here’s how scientists figured out those tricks — and what they don’t yet understand.

Darwin’s finches fall prey to a blood-sucking parasite

An invasive fly could mean the loss of bird species on the Galápagos Islands. To save them, scientists may introduce another invasive insect.

Tricks and traits that let insects take flight

The world’s earliest aeronauts possess a panoply of adaptations to help them navigate the skies.

The whole food diet for bees

A balanced menu makes for healthy, productive bees — but the loss of wildflowers means that many fail to find the kind of nutrition they need

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