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
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?
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?
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?
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?
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 […]