Christine Dell’Amore

The world’s largest spider has crept back into the spotlight, thanks to a scientist who describes a harrowing encounter with a tarantula. Harvard entomologist Piotr Naskrecki recently recounted on his blog coming across a puppy-sized, foot-long (0.3-meter) South American Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) a few years ago in Guyana (map). “I could clearly hear its hard feet hitting the...

Lonesome George, the famous Galápagos tortoise that was the last of his kind when he died in 2012, is due to get some company. A taxidermic mount of George was recently put on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. When he was alive, George lived in Ecuador’s Galápagos National Park. Visitors can gaze at...

Five species of acrobatic monkey that have long flown under the scientific radar have been named in South America. These “flying monkeys,” or sakis, are notoriously shy and hard to study in their vast Amazon rain forest homes, where they’re known to sail quickly from treetop to treetop. Scientists had previously identified five species of...

Butterflies can evolve new colors rapidly and simply by tweaking the structures of their wings, a new study says.  A team of researchers who bred a species of brown African butterfly in the lab were shocked to discover that the offspring could turn purple in just six generations, or about a year. (See: “Pictures: Butterfly...

We’ve long known that African elephants have a great sense of smell—but a new study shows that the large mammals have truly superior schnozzes. Compared with 13 other mammal species studied, African elephants have the most genes related to smell: 2,000. That’s the most ever discovered in an animal—more than twice the number of olfactory genes in...

COPENHAGEN—One of the Antarctic moments frozen forever in my memory is sitting atop a mountain and watching a huge ship—still several hours away from land—charging through the ice, a reassuring beacon of humanity in the polar wilderness. That ship, the Swedish icebreaker Oden, was making its way to the U.S. McMurdo Station, which I visited...

Katydids are well known for their vocal prowess, with males communicating with distant females by rubbing their wings together. But Supersonus, a newly identified genus of insect that comprises three recently discovered species of katydid (also known as a bushcricket), is in a class by itself. All three species produce the animal kingdom’s highest pitched...

People looking for love may already feel like their dating lives are pretty wild. But you may not know exactly how wild until you read Jennifer Verdolin‘s new book Wild Connection, which reveals how our relationships and courtships often mirror those of other species in the animal world. (Related: “Wild Romance: Weird Animal Courtship and Mating Rituals.”) Take the prairie...

Turns out the mite is mightier than we thought: A tiny arachnid that lives in southern California is the world’s fastest land animal relative to size, according to a new study. At its quickest, the sesame seed-size Paratarsotomus macropalpis zips along at about 322 body lengths per second (a measure of speed that shows how quickly an animal...

Zebra stripes evolved to keep pesky insects at bay, according to the most thorough study to date on the subject. All three species of zebra have bold stripes in comparison to other African grazers like buffalo and antelope. This so-called stripe riddle has puzzled scientists—including Darwin—for over a century, leading to five main hypotheses: that the...

Mention hamsters and most people recall a fond childhood memory, often of an escaped pet that’s found with its cute little cheeks stuffed full of loot. Mine involves Chipper, my dwarf Russian hamster, which was bitten by my cat and died a few days later—a lesson to my 11-year-old self to be more cautious. (Read more...

The ivory trade is an “ecological and moral disaster” that requires businesses and consumers to take up the fight, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton argued in a joint op-ed published February 23 in the Financial Times. Hillary, the former U.S. secretary of state, has been a vocal opponent of the black market trade in wildlife parts,...

The ivory trade is an “ecological and moral disaster” that requires businesses and consumers to take up the fight, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton argued in a joint op-ed published February 23 in the Financial Times. Hillary, the former U.S. secretary of state, has been a vocal opponent of the black market trade in wildlife parts,...

An egg-laying, spiny mammal with a four-headed penis is already pretty bizarre, but it turns out short-beaked echidnas are even stranger than we thought. Weighing up to nine pounds (four kilograms) and resembling a big hedgehog, the short-beaked echidna is one of only three species of monotremes—or egg-laying mammals—left in the world, along with the platypus...

An egg-laying, spiny mammal with a four-headed penis is already pretty bizarre, but it turns out short-beaked echidnas are even stranger than we thought. Weighing up to nine pounds (four kilograms) and resembling a big hedgehog, the short-beaked echidna is one of only three species of monotremes—or egg-laying mammals—left in the world, along with the platypus...