Our first live radio show of the year was great fun talking about zombie ants, lying, bees, and the Nobel and Ig Nobel prizes. Join us for some lighthearted conversations about science.
How do we ensure we can produce enough protein to feed everyone?
Long-term insect surveillance initiatives, such as the Rothamsted Insect Survey and the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, allow ongoing assessments of the conservation status of large numbers of insect species against a background of increasing environmental change. This meeting will highlight the key findings from long-term insect surveys, including a 50-year monitoring project for British moths and butterflies.
Stephanie Sammann looks at what happens to rainforest when it recovers from logging
Big Nature Day is the Museum’s annual celebration of the variety of nature, in recognition of the UN International Day of Biological Diversity.
New evidence from the forests of Brazil sheds light on glowing mushrooms…
Madeleine Hurry on what makes ants fight or give way, in the rainforests of Borneo
Creepy crawlies, bugs, pests, call them what you like but this half-term we will be celebrating the wonderful world of invertebrates. Join us to take part in our fun hands-on specimen based activities with our incredible invertebrates and get inventive with designing your own insect.
As part of the International Year of Light, an image showing insect trails around a floodlight
Liz Zuccala looks at how scientists are looking for drugs to stop sexual development of malaria parasites
Circadian rhythms run the biological world like clockwork. Madeleine Hurry explains how they work, from the genes in a bacterium to the human brain
Who is the bigger pest: humans or insects?! A light-hearted discussion hosted by the Wellcome Trust unpicked the issues…
A malaysian giant forest ant meets a juvenile grass frog deep in the rainforests of Borneo …
You’ve probably seen this picture already as it’s been around for a week, but I just can’t get the plump little lady out of my head. I’ve never seen an insect like it. It’s a giant weta, and this carrot-munching monster is the largest so far found. At over 70g it weighs more than a […]
Seven-Spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) The seven-spot ladybird is one of Britain’s most common beetles, easily recognisable by its distinctive markings. As its name would suggest, this ladybird has seven black spots – three on each side of the red elytra (the hardened forewing that protects the hindwings used for flying) and one split across the […]
On Saturday night I got my first bug-bites of the summer – this is quite a miracle. No, not that I got bitten – more the fact that I hadn’t been bitten yet this summer. I am one of those people who seems to attract every mosquito within a mile radius, and is usually being […]
Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) One of the most distinctive and, arguably, the most popular insects in the UK, the ladybird has captured the imaginations of many a young child. However, the future of our bespeckled friend is not as bright as her iconic red coat. Many native species of ladybirds are in decline thanks, in […]
Warfare in the ant world is nothing new. From chemical weapons to suicide bombers these insects have done it all before. Poison is the attack method of choice for most ant species; those that can’t sting spray formic acid instead. Of the stinging ants, the Bullet ant is the most notorious. It has a sting […]
Earlier this month, researchers from New Zealand announced that they had observed wasps lifting up ants and carrying them away from food. This video footage also shows how the wasps hurl the ants away in their desperate attempts to monopolise the food source. Although this video was made in a laboratory environment, the ant-dropping behaviour […]
Parasites are amazing. By taking advantage of the efforts of another species, parasites have been able to flourish in countless strange ways. For example, there is one parasite that lives only on the lips of lobsters (Symbion americanus). The fungal parasite, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis infects the brains of ants, causing them to climb high into the forest canopy, […]
Any crickets reading this – you’re in luck. Scientists have shown that hearing other crickets making sexual noises while growing up have a stronger immune system than those who were reared in silence. It seems a strange, almost coincidental, correlation – between an internal, biochemical process (immunity) and an external, social cue (sexual signalling). However, […]
Ever since French entomologists August Magnan and André Sainte-Lague famously declared that bee flight was aerodynamically impossible, a popular myth has prevailed that the phenomenon of bee flight is beyond our current scientific capabilities to explain. In fact, it was beyond our reach for over 70 years. However, in 2006 a team of researchers from […]
Apart from a few eccentric Germans, being eaten is probably the last thing any of us would ever like to have happen to us. The same is true throughout the rest of the animal kingdom, of course, with millions of adaptations evolving to help prevent such an occurrence happening. Many of these adaptations are pretty […]
Dung beetles ( Scarabaeidae) Dung beetles are seriously under threat as a result of coextinction (where a species is lost as a result of the extinction of another). In the case of the dung beetle the threat of extinction is an indirect consequence of the decline in the numbers of large mammals as a result […]
The thought of climate change may leave you with a sinking feeling in your stomach, what with rising sea levels and increasing extinction rates. Research published recently in PLoS has suggested a novel way of helping the planet, although it is unlikely to help the situation in your stomach. Eating insects can, apparently, reduce our […]
Painted Lady (Cynthia cardui) Almost a third of butterflies in Europe are in decline and one in ten is threatened with extinction. This also has a severe knock-on effect for the plant species which rely on butterflies for pollination. A recent report by Natural England has found that that the number of butterflies in the […]