behavior

Talk about a high-altitude buzz. Bumblebees may be capable of scaling Earth’s tallest peaks, flying higher than Mount Everest, according to new research. It’s difficult for most insects and birds to fly at extremely high altitudes where the air is thin and oxygen is scarce. Flapping wings push against the air to generate lift, and...

The last thing a barn swallow probably expects as it’s flying low over a lake is to be met with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth emerging from the water. And if the bird happens to be flying over a certain lake in South Africa, that may well be the last thing it sees. A recent...

Although we can’t always perceive them, vibrations provide a critical way of communicating for many animal species. Scientists think vibrational communication is an ancient sensory mode—one that is still widely used throughout the animal kingdom. Animals from tiny insects to jumbo-size elephants talk to each other using vibrations for many different purposes, from mating and...

Forget circumnavigating the globe in 80 days—an albatross can do it in a mere 46! These world travelers are among the largest flying birds, weighing up to 25 pounds (11 kilograms), and with a wingspan of 11 feet (3 meters). But hefting such huge bodies off the ground takes a lot of energy. If albatrosses...

  Genitals are useful for transferring sperm, but why stop there? Some animals have evolved unusual and creative ways to use their naughty bits to trick predators or attract mates. Recently, scientists discovered that hawkmoths have an unusual defense against bat sonar—by rubbing their genitals together, the moths produce ultrasonic sounds of their own. These...