The first drywood termite known to use snapping stick-like mandibles to defend its colony

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  • October 2, 2018
  • Tasked to defend the colony from attackers, the specialised soldier caste in some termite species has evolved various impressive mechanisms, including plug-like heads – meant to block intruding ants trying to invade their lairs, and mouthparts designed to bite and pierce. Still, there are even more spectacular soldiers, such as a recently discovered drywood termite […]

    New light on the controversial question of species abundance and population density

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  • September 17, 2018
  • Inspired by the negative results in the recently published largest-scale analysis of the relation between population density and positions in geographic ranges and environmental niches, Drs Jorge Soberon and Andrew Townsend Peterson of the University of Kansas, USA, teamed up with Luis Osorio-Olvera, National University of Mexico (UNAM), and identified several issues in the methodology used, able to […]

    Towards untangling the ‘antennal grabbing’ phenomenon in mating cuckoo bees

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  • August 27, 2018
  • Scientists report this behavior for the first time in the genus Nomada, following both lab and field observations in Germany One can seldom spot a cuckoo bee, whose peculiar kleptoparasitic behaviour includes laying eggs in the nests of a certain host bee species, let alone a couple mating. Nevertheless, German scientists – Dr. Matthias Schindler, University […]

    First-ever fern checklist for Togo to help decision makers in the face of threats to biodiversity

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  • June 22, 2018
  • Ferns and their allied species, which together comprise the pteridophytes, are vascular non-flowering plants that reproduce via spores. Many of their species are admired for their aesthetics. However, despite being excellent bioindicators that allow for scientists and decision-makers to monitor the state of ecosystems in the face of climate change and global biodiversity crisis, these […]

    Museum collection reveals distribution of Carolina parakeet 100 years after its extinction

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  • June 19, 2018
  • While 2018 marks the centenary of the death of the last captive Carolina parakeet – North America’s only native parrot, a team of researchers have shed new light on the previously known geographical range of the species, which was officially declared extinct in 1920. Combining observations and specimen data, the new Carolina parakeet occurrence dataset, […]

    Five new blanket-hermit crab species described 130 years later from the Pacific

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  • April 24, 2018
  • Since 1888, a lone crab species living in an extraordinary symbiosis has been considered to be one of its kind At the turn of the twentieth century, two independent marine scientists – JR Henderson in 1888, and A Alcock in 1899, described two unusual blanket-hermit crabs from the Indo-West Pacific. Unlike other hermit crabs, these […]

    A new hope: One of North America’s rarest bees has its known range greatly expanded

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  • April 16, 2018
  • The Macropis Cuckoo Bee is one of the rarest bees in North America, partly because of its specialized ecological associations. It is a nest parasite of oil-collecting bees of the genus Macropis which, in turn, are dependent on oil-producing flowers of the genus Lysimachia. In fact, the cuckoo bee – which much like its feather-bearing counterpart does not build a […]

    The Alps are home to more than 3,000 lichens

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  • March 12, 2018
  • Historically, the Alps have always played an emblematic role, being one of the largest continuous natural areas in Europe. With its numerous habitats, the mountain system is easily one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in Europe. Lichens are curious organisms comprising a stable symbiosis between a fungus and one or more photosynthetic organisms, for example […]

    Double trouble: Invasive insect species overlooked as a result of a shared name

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  • February 8, 2018
  • An invasive leaf-mining moth, feeding on cornelian cherry, has been gradually expanding its distributional range from its native Central Europe northwards for a period likely longer than 60 years. During that period, it has remained under the cover of a taxonomic confusion, while going by a name shared with another species that feeds on common […]

    Pan-European sampling campaign sheds light on the massive diversity of freshwater plankton

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  • January 8, 2018
  • In a major pan-European study, a research team from Germany have successfully extracted environmental DNA (eDNA) from as many as 218 lakes to refute a long-year belief that vital microorganisms do not differ significantly between freshwater bodies and geographic regions the way plants and animals do. Their new-age approach to biodiversity studies resulted in the […]