Groundwater may play key role in forest fires

Aug 9th, 2017 Conservation, Nature 1 min read

Tropical rainforests have that name for a reason, occurring in high rainfall areas close to the equator with swirling mists shrouding their lofty heights and moist soil that squelches underfoot. Some rainforests in Southeast Asia, however, tell a different tale. They have been drying up. This has caused devastating fires have been ravaging the area over the last two decades, like one in Indonesia in…

Insect Cuticle Aids Spiders’ Traps

Aug 9th, 2017 Amazing, Interactions, Life 1 min read

The woolly webs of orb-weaver spiders form an inescapable trap around prey. But it’s not just the threads’ tangles that ensnare meals. As researchers reported this week (May 31) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the waxy coating on some insects teams up with fibers from the spider web to form a composite adhesive material, gluing prey in place. Thus, in a rather dark…

Ticks use sticky pads on their feet to cling on to our skin

Aug 9th, 2017 Uncategorized 1 min read

A tick’s sophisticated weaponry doesn’t end with its needle-like mouthparts, capable of piercing through human skin and inflicting itchy agony. Each leg has a pair of claws that can grasp surfaces, and between them – it has now been discovered – is a foldable pad that can spread out like a fan and stick to the smoothest of surfaces. Read more on the New Scientist…

Why Female Dragonflies Go to Extreme Lengths to Avoid Sex

Aug 9th, 2017 Amazing, Interactions, Life 1 min read

Some female dragonflies go to great lengths to avoid sex—they fake their own deaths. For the first time, a scientist has observed that female moorland hawker dragonflies freeze mid-air, crash to the ground, and lie motionless when faced with aggressive males. Called sexual death feigning, this behavior evolved to protect females against aggressive males; for instance, female moorland hawker dragonflies risk injury and sometimes death…

A Defence Against the Next Flu Pandemic Could Lie in the Skin of a Western Ghats Frog

Aug 9th, 2017 Amazing 1 min read

A protein found on the beautifully coloured skin of a frog from the Western Ghats has the potential to be a weapon against the influenza virus, a recent study has found. The ‘weapon’ protein has been named ‘urumin’ after urumi, a sword with a flexible, whip-like blade used in Kalaripayattu, a martial arts form native to Kerala. The frog is the widespread fungoid frog (Hydrophylax bahuvistara)….