Living room conservation: Gaming & virtual reality for insect and ecosystem conservation

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  • April 18, 2019
  • Gaming and virtual reality could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education and participation. This is what an interdisciplinary team at Florida International University strive to achieve by developing a virtual reality game (desktop version also available) dedicated to insect and plant species. Focused on imperiled butterflies, their innovative idea: Butterfly World 1.0, is described in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology.

    New commentary on the famous ‘Warning to Humanity’ paper brings up global inequalities

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  • April 8, 2019
  • Dubbed as ‘the most talked about paper’, the cautionary publication is suggested to have omitted a non-western view on inequality that impedes global sustainability By pointing out the western lifestyle is not “the norm and end goal of societal evolution”, the research team of Dr Mohsen Kayal (University of Perpignan, France) contributes to the debate […]

    ‘Insectageddon’ is ‘alarmist by bad design’: Scientists point out the study’s major flaws

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Earlier this year, a research article triggered a media frenzy by predicting that as a result of an ongoing rapid decline, nearly half of the world’s insects will be no more pretty soon Amidst worldwide publicity and talks about ‘Insectageddon’: the extinction of 40% of the world’s insects, as estimated in a recent scientific review, a critical […]

    Non-native pest-controlling wasp identified in Canada prior to formal approval

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  • February 25, 2019
  • Thought to be Canada’s most promising potential defense against the brown marmorated stink bug – a globally spreading agricultural pest native to Asia – the samurai wasp (another species from Asia and natural parasitoid of the former) has been considered for future release in the country in recent years. However, prior to any formal decision […]

    The Widow Next Door: Where is the globally invasive Noble False Widow settling next?

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  • February 12, 2019
  • Spiders are one of the most successful groups of ‘invaders’ on the planet. Out of over 47,000 species of spiders known today, there are some that tend to follow humans across the globe and settle in habitats far away from their native homelands. A particularly notorious example is the species Steatoda nobilis, the Noble False […]

    Wildlife on the highway to hell: Roadkill in the largest wetland, Pantanal region, Brazil

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  • October 23, 2018
  • Scientists provide crucial data to prompt further conservation and safety measures at the notorious BR-262 highway Having systematically monitored wild animals killed on the Brazilian federal highway BR-262, which passes through the Pantanal region, a research team from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, published their data concerning birds and reptiles in the […]

    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 […]