Leaflower trees attract leaf flower moths, and not just for pollination. These plants can give off a fragrant odor that leaflower moths cannot resist, and much to their detriment. Most leaf flower larvae are deposited into the fruit that grows on the plants. Once the larvae develop into maturity it will fall onto the forest floor only to spread its new wings and fly away. However, another species of moth, E. lanceolaria, remains enclosed within the fruit even after it has reached adulthood.
The particular tree that this species of moth prefers is called G. lanceolarium, and this tree is unique in that it takes a longer than normal amount of time before this tree bears fruit. Naturally, this tree’s pollinating moths will find themselves trapped within the tree’s fruit until the fruit matures, which is well into the moths adult life. Luckily, the moth eventually escapes just in time to lay their eggs and survive long enough to feed on some fruit, which I imagine they must be pretty sick of by that point.
Do you know of any insects that die as a result of the pollination process?
A Brand New Species Of Opossum Has Been Found
An entirely new species of opossum has been found in plane sight at a museum. Biologist, Silvia Pavan, discovered the unfamiliar opossum when a specimen was brought to the museum where she worked. After carefully analyzing the opossum, she realized that there were already specimens of this mysterious opossum being kept in museum collections. The reddish brown hair covering this newly found opossum is similar to another species of opossum known as Monodelphis saci, which is a name taken from a similar looking gnome from South American folklore.
Much like the saci, this still unnamed species of opossum is also sporting a reddish coat. Opossums originated from South America, and they quickly dispersed to the North American continent, reaching regions as far north as Virginia. Since the opossum is so widely distributed, there could still be several unnamed species of opossum still active in the wild.
Have you ever spotted an opossum with a colored fur coat, or a coat that was not white or black?
Humans and other vertebrates run faster the less their feet hit the ground. However, this is not the case with organisms that possess six or more legs. Rather these leggy creatures run faster the more they have all of their legs on the ground. Due to this advantage on the part of bugs, engineers often create robots that move in a manner similar to insects. Despite this seemingly sensible scientific tradition, some engineers are now claiming that having more legs may not necessarily be such a great model for robotics.
Researchers have recently developed advanced algorithms to determine if more legs always equates to faster speeds. Remarkably, the results showed that insects would actually be faster if they were bipedal. So why do insects have multiple legs if two legs is more optimal? Researches believe that insects are still better off with more than two legs since they have to use their legs to climb vertical surfaces. When a spider is climbing upwards, it is better to have two sets of three legs sticking to a vertical surface as opposed to two legs.
Are there any animals that have six or more legs and are not insects or arachnids?
Although you may not hear too many stories about people falling victim to the rabies virus, there are still plenty of rabies cases reported around the United States, and elsewhere, today. Researchers from the University of Georgia’s Ecology department are attempting to eradicate the virus entirely.
The researchers, as you would expect, have seen their share of raccoons while out in the field. Around ninety percent of rabies cases reported in the United States were transmitted by wild animals, and thirty percent of those wild animals are raccoons. In fact, there have been efforts to eradicate the rabies virus for years now. Some of these efforts include lobbying lawmakers to create laws that make the spread of rabies more improbable, such as requiring domestic dogs and cats to receive the rabies. There are, luckily, very few confirmed cases of rabies in the US relative to other countries, but according to the World Health Organization you should definitely visit the hospital if you have recently sustained a bite from a bat or raccoon.
Have you ever been worried that you may have had rabies?
The Asian citrus psyllid is an invasive insect that spreads the dreaded citrus greening disease. Florida’s citrus industry has taken a beating in recent years thanks to the work of this destructive insect. However, new research from the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), the University of Washington, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture’s Research Service, shows that this devastating invasive insect may offer some benefits that researchers have not discovered until now.
The previously unknown bacteria that is responsible for transmitting the bacteria that causes citrus greening disease may not be a “bad” bacteria in itself. When the psyllid infects citrus crops it undergoes a dramatic change in its metabolism and overall physiological functions. Being able to gain a better understanding of how this insect’s metabolism works is essential to understanding how the psyllid is able to produce these harmful toxins. The existence of organisms like the psyllid raises the question as to which came first the citrus plant? Or the citrus psyllid? This is a question that even the brightest of scientists admit is still a mystery.
Have you ever known someone who ran into economic hardship as a result of citrus greening?