Jane J. Lee

A routine survey turned up a small ray of hope recently when a single rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis)—thought extinct in the eastern U.S.—popped up in Virginia‘s Sky Meadows State Park (map).  Scientists first realized that this rare species, which was found in open habitats in New England, the upper Midwest, and parts of Canada, was in...

Young mantis shrimp camouflage themselves by using reflectors that give off opalescent blue-green light to make their eyes invisible to anyone who’s looking, according to a new study. Adult mantis shrimp are known for having one of the swiftest strikes in the animal kingdom. Yet their young are tiny and vulnerable, depending on transparent bodies to...

Nothing gets us reaching for the can of bug spray quicker than a creepy crawly scuttling our way. The approaching end of summer may give us some relief from their biting, stinging, and hiding in our favorite shoes. But the misguided collective wisdom about the insects and spiders in our lives shows no signs of abating....

Watch a video detailing how the famous snowy owl got new feathers earlier this year.   A snowy owl injured during its big-city adventure to Washington, D.C., this past winter has died. It survived camera-toting fans and a run-in with a bus in the nation’s capital, only to be found dead by the side of...

From matchmaking to setting the right mood, it takes a lot of effort to get endangered species in captivity to breed. Sometimes animals can’t be left to let nature take its course, so people intervene.  Artificial insemination—taking sperm from a male and placing it into the reproductive system of a female—is one such tool in...

Beluga whales and bottlenose dolphins express their pleasure by squealing like children, a new study suggests for the first time.  The squeaky sounds, which are different from the echolocation buzzes some whales and dolphins use to home in on prey, suggest there’s yet another aspect of behavior that people share with marine mammals, among the smartest groups...

Deep-sea sharks wield some surprisingly well-adapted eyes that help them see in the dark, according to new research. Transparent patches of skin above their eyes and a unique arrangement of light-sensitive cells on their retinas, among other things, allow five species of bioluminescent deep-sea shark to collect and focus as much light as possible to hunt prey and...

They have eight arms lined with suckers that can latch on to just about anything, yet octopuses never seem to get tangled up in their own limbs. That’s because a self-recognition mechanism in the skin of the common octopus prevents its suckers from sticking to the animal, according to a new study published today in...

It’s been a banner month for rare shark sightings. Last week a fisher off the coast of Florida caught the second goblin shark ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico. Now reports out of Japan state that fishers have caught a 13-foot (3.9 meter) long megamouth shark, also incredibly rare, near Shizuoka, Japan (map).  This is...

Commercial fisher Carl Moore wasn’t sure what he had netted last week just south of Key West, Florida (map), when he saw the fish’s flat, blade-like snout. Only after the Georgia angler photographed and released his catch was its identity confirmed: It was a goblin shark, a rare deep-sea shark, and it’s believed to be only...

In response to public interest, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed the expansion of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries this week. The main effect of any expansion plans, if approved, would be bans on oil and gas exploration within the sanctuaries, along with increased protections for water...

Modern-day sloths are tree dwellers, only occasionally venturing down to the ground. But about five to eight million years ago, five sloth species ventured into the sea. Now, new research suggests that these ancient animals went much further into the water than we ever knew. Instead of just living near the ocean and making brief...

Modern-day sloths are tree dwellers, only occasionally venturing down to the ground. But about five to eight million years ago, five sloth species ventured into the sea. Now, new research suggests that these ancient animals went much further into the water than we ever knew. Instead of just living near the ocean and making brief...

One of the world’s largest fishes gets a super-size sanctuary thanks to a decision by the Indonesian government to ban fishing for manta rays within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The move, hailed by conservation organizations and researchers, has resulted in the world’s largest protected area for these migratory animals. Indonesia’s EEZ stretches for...

One of the world’s largest fishes gets a super-size sanctuary thanks to a decision by the Indonesian government to ban fishing for manta rays within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The move, hailed by conservation organizations and researchers, has resulted in the world’s largest protected area for these migratory animals. Indonesia’s EEZ stretches for...