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Insect flight – one of the most important evolutionary developments for half a billion years

Flying animals have had a major impact on nonflying organisms. Briefly consider the ecological and evolutionary interrelationships between pollinators and flowers, or between mosquitoes, the parasites they transmit and humans. Even a cursory glance at the manifold relationships flying insects have with all other forms of terrestrial life evaporates any doubt whether the world would … Continue reading Insect flight – one of the most important evolutionary developments for half a billion years

Public perceptions towards insects and allied taxa: why are so many people afraid of them?

Greetings readership. Public perceptions of the vast majority of insects and terrestrial arthropods tend to be fairly negative. Indeed, the word “insect” alone can elicit a visceral response in some. Attitudes towards insects in the general public of many developed countries are dominated by Fear, where many people are afraid of insects, and Power, where … Continue reading Public perceptions towards insects and allied taxa: why are so many people afraid of them?

If a flea were the size of a human could it really jump over the Eiffel Tower?

Greetings readership. Quite a lengthy one for you this time. The ‘well-known fact’ that “If a flea were the size of a human, it could jump over the Eiffel Tower” is an interesting misconception - one that disregards laws of scaling and structural engineering. A brief analysis of the claim can reveal some of its substantial … Continue reading If a flea were the size of a human could it really jump over the Eiffel Tower?

How do bumblebees fly?

Greetings readership, The flight of the bumblebee is not only an excellent classical piece composed by Rimsky-Korsakov, but also the subject of another ‘fact’ about insects, which usually goes something like: “According to the laws of physics, bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly.” or a phrase of similar meaning. Indeed, the violation of the observably … Continue reading How do bumblebees fly?

Night takes Queen: where do all the wasps go in winter?

Season’s greetings readership, As I type, millions of Vespula vulgaris (‘common wasp’) queens are in a deep slumber within dead logs, sheds, attic spaces, burrows, and innumerable other areas out of the British elements. Because all other members of a wasp colony die over winter, the survival of the queen is vital to regenerate populations … Continue reading Night takes Queen: where do all the wasps go in winter?

Parenting for Dummies (feat. burying beetles)

Festive greetings readership, On a gloomy, mist-filled night, the life of a mouse is gently extinguished by disease. Its blood stills, its body cools, and a slight wind carries its almost imperceptible scent through the air. A faint buzzing approaches from the darkness, growing louder and louder; a flash of jet-black and red in the […]