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 […]

    A Bed & Breakfast in L.A. reveals the lifestyle of a secretive fly species

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  • August 29, 2017
  • For nearly 30 years, Dr. Brian Brown knew about a mysterious unidentified phorid fly species, whose females would often be spotted flying above mushrooms, while the males were nowhere to be found. Little did anyone know that this years-long puzzle would be solved once and for all after a surprising call came in earlier this […]

    The ‘Star dust’ wasp is a new extinct species named after David Bowie’s alter ego

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  • June 22, 2017
  • During her study on fossil insects of the order Hymenoptera at China’s Capitol Normal University, student Longfeng Li visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, carrying two unidentified wasp specimens that were exceptionally well-preserved in Burmese amber. This type of fossilized tree resin is known for the quality of the fossil specimens which […]

    The Radiohead ant: A new species of ‘silky’ ant grows fungus gardens for food

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  • April 24, 2017
  • The ants of the genus Sericomyrmex – literally translated as ‘silky ants’ – belong to the fungus-farming ants, a group of ants that have figured out how to farm their own food. The silky ants are the less well-known relatives of the famous leaf-cutter ants – well-studied, photogenic model organisms that you simply cannot avoid […]

    Of Star Trek, Mark Twain and helmets: 15 new species of wasps with curious names

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  • March 27, 2017
  • A total of fifteen new species of parasitic wasps have been described from across the Neotropical region. Apart from belonging to a peculiar group of wasps distinct with large and elongated bodies, the new insects also draw attention with the curious names they have been formally assigned with. Among them, there are species named after […]

    New species of parasitic wasp named after ancient god of evil Set shows wicked behavior

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  • January 25, 2017
  • Being able to manipulate its host’s behavior while growing inside of it, a new species of parasitic wasp seems to have deservedly received the name of the ancient Egyptian god of evil and chaos Set. Discovered in the southeastern United States, the new species, also called the crypt-keeper wasp, parasitizes crypt gall wasps, which in […]

    Assassins on the rise: A new species and a new tribe of endemic South African robber flies

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  • December 6, 2016
  • Discovery of a new species of assassin flies led to the redescription of its genus. This group of curious predatory flies live exclusively in South Africa, preferring relatively dry habitats. Following the revisit, authors Drs Jason Londt, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa, and Torsten Dikow, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, USA, publish updated information […]

    Mayflies of Turkey: Two new records for the country species and an annotated catalogue

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  • October 6, 2016
  • Mayflies (the insect order Ephemeroptera) are a fascinating group, which represents the oldest winged insects, estimated to have been existing on the Earth since the lower Carboniferous, or, approximately for 350 million years. They are characterized by exclusively aquatic larvae, a unique fully winged subimaginal stage (the stage right before the young mayfly transforms into […]

    Flying jewels spell death for tarantulas: Study of a North American spider fly genus

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  • October 5, 2016
  • Spider flies are usually a rarely encountered group of insects, except in Western North America, where the North American jewelled spider flies (the Eulonchus genus) can be locally abundant in mountainous areas such as the Sierra Nevada of California. The brilliantly coloured adults (also known as ‘sapphires’ and ’emeralds’) are important pollinators of flowers. The […]

    More assassins on the radar: As many as 24 new species of assassin bugs described

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  • July 11, 2016
  • As many as 24 assassin bugs new to science were discovered and described by Dr. Guanyang Zhang and his colleagues. In their article, published in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal, they describe the new insects along with treating another 47 assassin bugs in the same genus. To do this, the scientists examined more than 10,000 […]