Displaying 1 - 20 of 62 articles

A painting from Botha’s Shelter in the Ndedema Gorge in the Drakensburg, said to be home to a rich tapestry of San art and life. Wits University Press

An enigmatic theme in San rock paintings is finally unlocked

Formlings are representations of flying termites and their underground nests. They are associated with botantical subjects considered by the San to have great spiritual significance.
Locust sits on a wheat stalk. Eduard Korniyenko/Reuters

Pesticides are not the only way to deal with our biggest food competitor: insects

Insects have been in a feature in agriculture since the end of the 19th century. Using a combination of new and old control methods is the best way to deal with our food competitors.
Dung beetle rolling in the shade. Marcus Byrne

Five things dung beetles do with a piece of poo

Dung beetles have been cleaning up the planet for at least 65 million years. The 6000 species across the world have adapted to a life at the back end of the food chain in the most remarkable ways.
Waterbugs are used for the monitoring of river ecosystem health across the world. Amanda Woodman

How healthy is your river? Ask a waterbug

Around the world, waterbugs are the most widely-used indicator of environmental health and pollution of rivers, lakes and wetlands.
Not all bees are honeybees. This is a green ‘sweat’ bee. Ian Jacobs/flickr

Losing bees will sting more than just our taste for honey

Data from all over the globe suggest that bees are in decline, and we may lose a lot more than honey if bees are unable to cope with the changing climate and increasing demand for agricultural land.
Bats have adapted new hunting techniques in their pursuit of moths who in turn have developed defensive strategies. Sarun T/Shutterstock

Explainer: the evolutionary arms race between bats and moths

Bats have developed special attack mechanisms for hunting moths, and moths have responded by developing defence mechanisms to avoid being eaten.
A member of the King Cricket family, aka the Parktown prawn, is found across the southern hemisphere. Lourens Durand/Shutterstock

Scary king cricket is a beautiful example of evolution at its best

King Crickets, or Parktown Prawns as they're more commonly known in South Africa, have been terrifying Johannesburg residents for many years.
True Australians: hard workers, quiet achievers and generally underappreciated labourers.

Australia: riding on the insect’s back

Insects are largely hidden from view or maligned unfairly, but they make a tremendous contribution to the Australian economy.
Orange Harlequin bugs are unappealing to birds – and almost invisible to a preying mantis. Louise (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

To avoid mantids, stinkbugs evolved to hide in plain sight

Did you know that the sky isn’t actually blue? Perhaps in school you learned about how air scatters light, filtering out red light from the sun, but that is only half the story. While our eyes perceive…
The steampunk insect. photochem_PA

In defence of the stink bug

Stink bug. As names go it is a PR disaster, each of the words alone hardly endearing, and, in combination, wholly off-putting. Which is a shame because stink bugs have a perky charm, a distinctive style…
The Australian Emperor Dragonfly is only a handful compared to its ancestors who measured more than 60cm. Flickr/Daniel lightscaper

Insects are the great survivors in evolution: new study

The time and date of the origin of insects and their pattern of evolution and survival over millions of years is revealed in a new study, published today in Science magazine. Insect relationships have…
Where the rainforest meets the plantation: there are probably a lot more insects. Ryan Woo for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Palm oil plantations are bad for wildlife great and small: study

Palm oil plantations have an overall negative impact on biodiversity, according to research released this week. The study, published in Nature Communications, found palm oil plantations are home to fewer…
A male Onthophagus vacca, the species of dung beetle being released this week in Western Australia. CSIRO

French beetles flown in to clean up Australia’s cattle dung

The average cow drops between 10 and 12 dung pads (also known as “pats”) every day and just one of those cow pads can produce up to 3,000 flies in a fortnight. With more than 28 million cattle in Australia…
Showing my true colours. Derek Hennen

Scientists at work: capturing beautiful millipedes in Ohio

I stumbled through the forest, attempting to find a path I knew was there. It didn’t take that long to find the decaying bridge, now being overtaken by blackberry and multiflora rose. That is where I had…

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