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Some Intriguing New Hints About What Ant Consciousness Is Really Like

They build cities. They farm. They make war. Ants do a lot of things that seem uncannily human — and yet they’re profoundly alien, part of a hive mind called a social organism. What does that feel like to each individual ant? Now a new scientific paper suggests that there is always doubt in the hive mind.


Your Yard Is A Firefly Meet Market, And You Can Help Scientists Study It

The twinkly flashing lights of fireflies are a classic sign of summer, but the insects aren’t blinking for your aesthetic benefit. They’re courting in an absolutely cutthroat meet market, and some scientists are afraid that human activities could be making it harder for them to succeed.


What In The Monster Hell Is This Scary, Bright Green And Pink Gooey Worm?

It’s just not right. Adult humans should not have to fear monsters. But how in the world will the world ever sleep again after knowing that this terrifying radiator fluid-looking worm goo thing exists? Can humanity survive after seeing this? Just look at the sludge bug shoots out its pink dart, and you’ll only dream nightmares for the rest of your life.


NASA Has A Fix For The Billion-Dollar Problem Of Splattered Bug Guts

NASA’s been studying the way bugs splatter for years. Those gooey speckles of black and red might be gross to you, but to aerospace engineers, they’re a riddle that’s plagued the industry for decades. Yes, bug guts.


Scientists Are Spinning Spider Silk Without The Spiders

Spider silk is often touted as a wonder material that will soon weave its way into everything from body armour to replacement hearts. But we can only squeeze so much of the stuff out of our eight-legged friends, which is why scientists and entrepreneurs are working hard to reproduce it artificially.


Zombie Cockroaches Are Real, And This Wasp Controls Them

If anything in nature could be creepier than cockroaches, it would be zombie cockroaches, so good thing those don’t exist, right? Right? Actually, they do exist, thanks to the terrifying work of the dementor wasp. I’m never going outside again.


Male Butterflies Ejaculate, Female Butterflies Digest

A mating system that puts the sexes in conflict can evolve some pretty extreme copulatory structures. Spiky penises and twisty vaginas are the tip of the iceberg. According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Biology last week, we should add protein-melting vaginal tracts to the list.


Interspecies Competition In These Insects Won By Penis Spikiness  

Insects with nightmarish spiky penises that can harm their mates are really nothing new. But a new study in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology has determined that given the right conditions, wielding a nightmarish spiky penis could also harm a different species.


At Last, We Understand What Turns Fruit Flies On

We’ve been breeding the fly Drosophila melanogaster in the lab for decades. We’ve tinkered with their genes — giving them extra legs, curly wings, or odd coloured eyes — in pursuit of understanding genetic inheritance and how tissues develop. But until now we didn’t know which chemical made them start to mate.


What You're Looking At Is An Insect Penis Inside Its Mate

One of the biggest challenges for scientists studying the anatomy and physiology of genitalia is the fact that much of the real functional action happens deep inside females. It’s hard to see what’s going on in there. That’s why I love studies that rise to the challenge of giving us a peek inside.


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