Exceptional catapulting jump mechanism in a tiny beetle could be applied in robotic limbs

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  • February 25, 2020
  • The fascinating and highly efficient jumping mechanism in flea beetles is described in a new research article in the open-access journal Zookeys. Despite having been known since 1929, the explosive jump – which is also the reason behind the colloquial name of this group of leaf beetles – has so far not been fully understood. By joining forces, […]

    Citizen scientists discover a new snail and name it after Greta Thunberg

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  • February 20, 2020
  • A new to science species of land snail was discovered by a group of citizen scientists working together with scientists from Taxon Expeditions, a company that organises scientific field trips for teams consisting of both scientists and laypeople. Having conducted a vote on how to name the species, the expedition participants and the local staff […]

    Fifteen years & 20 million insects later: Sweden’s impressive effort to document its insect fauna in a changing world

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  • February 18, 2020
  • The Swedish Malaise Trap Project (SMTP) was launched in 2003 with the aim of making a complete list of the insect diversity of Sweden. Over the past fifteen years, an estimated total of 20 million insects, collected during the project, have been processed for scientific study. Recently, the team behind this effort published the resulting inventory in […]

    Faster than a speeding bullet: Asian hornet invasion spreads to Northern Germany

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  • February 5, 2020
  • The specimen of collected in Hamburg

    Known to prey on many insects, including honey bees and other beneficiary species, the Asian hornet, which had recently invaded parts of Europe, presents a serious threat to apiculture and even to ecosystems. In their paper, published in the open-access journal Evolutionary Systematics, German scientists share concerns about this fast invader spreading to the north. In early September 2019, a single specimen was collected alive in Hamburg (Germany), representing the northernmost find of the species so far.

    French mathematician and spider aficionado Cédric Villani honoured with a new orb-weaver

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  • February 4, 2020
  • Considered as one of the best studied spiders, the orb-weavers remain poorly known in the central parts of the Palearctic ecozone. Hence, an international research team took to the Caucasus, Middle East and Central Asia. Their article in the open-access peer-reviewed journal ZooKeys documents three new-to- science species, where one is named after the Indo-Iranian god of light Mithra. Another carries the name of the flamboyant French mathematician and spider aficionado Cédric Villani.

    “Oldest bamboo” fossil from Eocene Patagonia turns out to be a conifer

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  • A recent examination revealed that Chusquea oxyphylla, a fossilised leafy branch from the early Eocene in Patagonia, which has been widely cited as the oldest bamboo fossil and as evidence for a Gondwanan origin of bamboos is actually a conifer. The results of the finding are published in the open-access journal Phytokeys.

    Second of its kind ‘sharpshooter’ leafhopper from Brazil ‘strikes’ with its colouration

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  • January 28, 2020
  • When, in 2014, Brazilian researchers stumbled across a never-before-seen red-eyed leafhopper feeding inside the rosettes of bromeliads, growing in the restingas of southeastern Brazil, they were certain it was a one-of-a-kind discovery. Described as new-to-science species, as well as genus (Cavichiana bromelicola) and added to the sharpshooter tribe Cicadellini, it became the first known case […]

    19th-century bee cells in a Panamanian cathedral shed light on human impact on ecosystems

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  • January 27, 2020
  • About 120 clusters of 19th-century orchid bee nests were found during restoration work on the altarpiece of Basilica Cathedral in Casco Viejo (Panamá). Having conducted the first pollen analysis for these extremely secretive insects, the researchers identified the presence of 48 plant species, representing 23 families.

    Viticulture Data Journal: Non-conventional papers foster Open Science & sustainability

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  • January 22, 2020
  • Non-conventional, yet pivotal research results: data, models, methods, software, data analytics pipelines and visualisation methods, related to the field of viticulture, find a place in a newly launched, open-access and peer-reviewed Viticulture Data Journal.

    Cave fights for food: voracious spiders vs assassin bugs

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  • Adult specimens of Zelurus diasi (left) and Enoploctenus cyclotorax (right) observed in the study area.

    Killing and eating of potential competitors has rarely been documented in the zoological literature, even though this type of interaction can affect population dynamics. In a recent publication in the open-access journal Subterranean Biology, Brazilian scientists presented their notes regarding the predation of an assassin bug by a spider in Neotropical caves. Underground, where food resources are scarce, such events might be possible as a result of ecological pressures imposed by the hostile environment, hypothesise the researchers.