Articles on Insects

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A queen bee tended by her workers … but take away her pheromones and they start to act strangely. Flickr/KrisFricke

Smells like queen spirit: royal pheromones in insect colonies

Much like people, insect colonies like to know if her majesty is at home. In the ants, bees, wasps and termites (the “big four” of the social insect world), the queen has long been suspected of using special…
The Holy Grail of myrmecology: the Dinosaur Ant. Ajay Narendra

Australian endangered species: Dinosaur Ant

The Dinosaur Ant (Nothomyrmecia macrops) is so-called because it is a “living fossil”. It is arguably one of the closest living examples of what some of the earliest true ants might have been like, both…
Vesk’s Plant-louse lives only on a single species of wattle. Melinda Moir

Australian endangered species: Vesk’s Plant-louse

Vesk’s Plant-louse (Acizzia veski) was discovered in 2007 within the Stirling Range National Park, a biodiversity hotspot of southwestern Australia. It is not a true “louse” but is a species of Hemiptera…
A couple of these and a nice chianti. Severin Tchibozo

Insects are key for food security in a growing world

Protein is a shrinking part of the diets of humans and animals. The deficiency is spreading rapidly across the world, but is particularly pronounced in Africa, even though many sources of protein can be…
Not cute, but crucial. Alvesgaspar

Wasps deserve to be loved

Recently a newspaper asked its readers to propose species that were, ecologically speaking, “useless”, such that their loss would not have any great knock-on effect on other species or biological cycles…
World-renowned naturalist and film-maker Sir David Attenborough visits Melbourne Zoo to meet the miraculous Phasmid, or Lord Howe Island Stick Insect. JOE CASTRO/AAPIMAGE

Slimy, scaly and forgotten: we need to fund our invertebrates

In Australia, the “cute and cuddlies” receive the vast amount of publicity and conservation management dollars. Little is left for the small, scaly and slimy species that many consider just plain creepy…

Scientists shut down insects sex drive

A neuropeptide that regulates sexual activity and reproduction in insects has been identified by a team of entomologists…
The metallic-coloured Schayer’s Grasshopper from Tasmania. David Rentz

Australian endangered species: Schayer’s Grasshopper

There are some 700 known species of grasshopper in Australia. But, fewer than half have been described. This is creating an information gap, and some species have fallen in. Schayer’s Grasshopper (Schayera…
Pesticide levels considered ‘environmentally protective’ are still having a catastrophic effect on insect invertebrates like dragonflies, the study showed. http://www.flickr.com/photos/21644167@N04/3755575059

Even ‘environmentally protective’ levels of pesticide devastate insect biodiversity

Pesticide levels considered environmentally friendly in Europe and Australia are, in fact, having a devastating effect on…
Insects constitute a source of higher quality protein for humans than we can obtain from plants. BBC World News

Icky insects are actually tasty treats that are good for you

In the early 1980s, I was a member of a team of nutritionists who analysed bush food samples sent by “The Bush Tucker Man” (Major Les Hiddins) from northern Australia to the Defence Nutrition laboratory…
This female Territory Imitator probably shouldn’t be on the IUCN’s Red List. But very little is known about this obscure group of insects. David Rentz

Australian endangered species: Katydids

Consider the katydids. Katydids are related to grasshoppers and crickets. They are generally long-legged, have long antennae and are nocturnal. The majority are herbivores but some are carnivorous. Several…
Cicada wing.

Cicada wings that kill bacteria

Cicada wings have been discovered to be the first natural surface to kill bacteria through their structure. Researches at…

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