Jennifer S. Holland

Hate spiders? The Malaysian jumping spider might just win you over. New research reveals that Paracyrba wanlessi preys almost exclusively on a despised human foe: the mosquito.  Perhaps a little respect is in order for an arachnid that gobbles up swarms of mosquitoes, the disease-transmitting insects responsible for millions of deaths a year due to malaria and other illnesses—not to…

Wildlife

Foodies aren’t the only ones swarming cities in search of the best eats. Even bees are going urban to satisfy their taste for diverse, high-quality food—especially as wild habitat becomes more scarce, new research reveals. Gordon Frankie, an urban entomologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying the foraging habits of native bees in…

Human Journey

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What has three eyes, two noses, and an antenna poking up like a little puppet from its head? That would be a unique specimen of the freshwater crab Amarinus lacustris, discovered in New Zealand and described in this week’s issue of the journal Arthropod Structure & Development. The “tri-clops” crab’s peculiar extra parts, and its malformed brain,…

Wildlife

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Dog owners were right all along. Our pups really do get jealous when we direct our affection elsewhere—but mostly when their rival for attention appears to threaten their social life. Once thought to be too complex an emotion for nonhumans, jealousy in canines—and the “pay attention to me” behaviors that arise from it—probably evolved to protect…

Wildlife

The superfast tongue of the horned frog is also a superpowerful adhesive. A new study published June 12 in Scientific Reports is the first to explain just how this amphibian‘s feeding apparatus sticks to prey so successfully. Evolutionarily speaking, it makes sense for the frogs to have an accelerating rocket of a tongue—to get the…

Wildlife

Love is a fickle thing—even in barn owls. These normally monogamous birds sometimes call it quits and move on to new partners—nearly a quarter of the time, in fact, says a new study published April 28 in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Among people in the U.S., the divorce rate is about 40 percent. And while these “divorces” may…

Changing Planet

Washington, D.C.‘s visiting snowy owl has had a rough couple of months, but the bird is now getting a full makeover—including some shiny new feathers. The two-year-old bird was first spotted in the nation’s capital in late January, and was reportedly hit by a bus shortly thereafter. Snowy owls are arctic dwellers that usually don’t…

Human Journey

Washington, D.C.‘s visiting snowy owl has had a rough couple of months, but the bird is now getting a full makeover—including some shiny new feathers. The two-year-old bird was first spotted in the nation’s capital in late January, and was reportedly hit by a bus shortly thereafter. Snowy owls are arctic dwellers that usually don’t…

Wildlife

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The short list of animals that console stressed-out friends just got longer … and heavier. Asian elephants, like great apes, dogs, certain corvids (the bird group that includes ravens), and us, have now been shown to recognize when a herd mate is upset and to offer gentle caresses and chirps of sympathy, according to a study published February…

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A toad from the Andes mountains that had long been thought extinct and was known only from a single museum specimen collected in 1970 has resurfaced in Ecuador. After the initial discovery of the Tandayapa Andean toad in Ecuador’s Pichincha Province (map) more than four decades ago, scientists searched time and again for more of…

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What’s longer than a minivan and can swallow a whole deer for dinner? The enormous Burmese python that turned up in the Everglades this week—the second largest found in the fragile Florida wetland environment within the last year. The snake was 18 feet 2 inches (5.5 meters) long and weighed about 150 pounds (68 kilograms). The…

Wildlife