tech and geek stuff
Biologists find surprising variability in courtship behaviors of wolf spiders
Studies of wolf spiders found that courtship displays help preserve genetic isolation between closely related species. Another study found that the species Gladicosa bellamyi used multi-modal communication...
Bird-eating spiders?! New tarantula species found
Three new species of massive, furry “birdeater” spiders have been discovered, with dozens more stricken from the grouping.In a new paper published in the open-access journal ZooKeys, researchers cleaned...
Translucent helmeted cockroach looks like an alien with a halo
Slovak Academy of SciencesBy Karl Gruber Species: Helmablatta louisrothi Habitat: Lava caves in Vietnam Advertisement It’s one of the weirdest-looking cockroaches ever known, sporting a huge head with...
Neanderthal teeth tell tales of diet and medicine
Enlarge / The jaw of the El Sidron individual found to be consuming poplar and Penicillium-containing vegetation.Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC reader comments 2 Share this story Around 50,000 years...
Sociable woodpeckers that cooperate have evolved smaller brains
Cooperation may ease the strain on woodpeckers’ brainsWilliam Leaman/Alamy Stock PhotoBy Andy CoghlanIn primates such as humans, living in cooperative societies usually means having bigger brains — with...
Species appears to evolve quickly enough to endure city temperatures
Urban acorn ants collected in Cleveland appear to have taken no more than 100 years -- no more than 20 generations -- to evolve and thrive in their heat-trapping city home. The capability suggests the...
First underwater video footage of the True's beaked whale
The True's beaked whale is a deep-diving mammal so rarely seen that it often defies recognition at sea by researchers. As a result, we have little data about its distribution, abundance and calving rate...
The Amazon forest is the result of an 8,000-year experiment
Brazil nuts scattered at the base of trees in the Amazon. These trees are so common in the Amazon today as a result of human cultivation that began over 8,000 years ago.Lior Golgner reader comments 10...
WW2 bomb craters are a home to rare and vulnerable animals
Useful microhabitatZsófia HorváthBy Kata KaráthSome bombs can help create life. A rich mix of rare saline water species have been found thriving in ponds formed in second world war bomb craters in Hungary....
Study sheds new light on how species extinction affects complex ecosystems
Research has found that methods used to predict the effect of species extinction on ecosystems could be producing inaccurate results. This is because current thinking assumes that when a species vanishes,...
De-extinction dilemma: reviving dead species may doom the living
The resurrection of extinct species may soon be feasible – but expensiveMoviestore Collection/REX/ShutterstockThe resurrection of extinct species, as depicted in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, was until...
New species of bushbaby found in disappearing forests of Angola
What big eyes you haveElena BersacolaBy Sam WongIt’s a dwarf with big eyes, big ears and a big voice. The newly discovered Angolan dwarf galago belongs to the bushbaby family, members of which are found...
Tiny new frog species found in India
Some of the smallest known frogs were recently discovered following a five-year survey in India. Seven new species of “night frogs,” in the Nyctibatrachus genus, include four species that are among the...
Harvard scientists aim to bring back the woolly mammoth
The woolly mammoth went extinct thousands of years ago, but Harvard scientists say they may be inching closer to bringing the beast back to earth — or at least a genetically altered hybrid version.Speaking...
Ant odd couple work together to build and keep a healthy nest
Strange nest-matesPatrick Landmann/GettyBy Karl GruberOne is a massive black ant, the other is a tiny, only distantly related, brown ant. But together they form a perfect team to build and guard a shared...
New Mosquito Trap Smart Enough to Keep Just the Bad Bugs
A smart trap for mosquitoes? A new high-tech version is promising to catch the bloodsuckers while letting friendlier insects escape — and even record the exact weather conditions when different species...
These tiny beetles have evolved to ride ants like horses
reader comments 5 Share this story When army ants stream into the jungles of Costa Rica, they leave death and destruction in their wake. These nomadic group predators eat everything from millipedes to...
Climate threat to wildlife may have been underreported
More than 700 of the world’s threatened and endangered animal species may be directly affected by climate change, according to a new study — vastly more than the number of animal species scientists initially...
Climate change is already battering hundreds of animal species
Under pressureBy Anita MakriClimate change is already harming around 700 species of mammals and birds. That means that warming is not just a theoretical future threat, and conservation work must focus...
Trump admin delays protection for "endangered" bees
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The Trump administration on Thursday delayed what would be the first endangered designation for a bee species in the continental U.S., one day before it was to take effect.The U.S....
New beetle species bites army ant’s butt and hitches a ride
Secret hitcherD. KronauerBy Sean MowbraySpecies: Nymphister kronaueri beetle Habitat: Army ant abdomens and nests in rainforests of Costa Rica Moving around the rainforest floor can be tough if you’re...
A new species of gecko with massive scales and tear-away skin
Many lizards can drop their tails when grabbed, but one group of geckos has gone to particularly extreme lengths to escape predation. Fish-scale geckos in the genus Geckolepis have large scales that tear...
How carnivorous plants developed their taste for prey
A new study sheds a bit more light on the unusual, and a bit bizarre, species of carnivorous plants that trap and kill food, instead of drawing their nutrition from sunlight and soil. A large team of...
Crab species gets magical name inspired by "Harry Potter"
A new crab species has been named after two “Harry Potter” characters, and its discovery is an interesting tale in the search for fantastic beasts.Harryplax severus, as the crab has been dubbed, was actually...
Small honor: Tiny moth named for Trump
A miniscule moth with a wingspan of just 0.4 inches is the first species to be named for the soon-to-be president of the United States, Donald Trump.Yellow and white scales topping the moth’s head resemble Trump’s...
Majority of primate species may vanish in next 25 to 50 years
All apes are under threatConservation International/photo by Russell A. MittermeierBy Andy CoghlanThe majority of the world’s primates are in deep trouble. There are as few as 20 or 30 Hainan gibbons...
Does it fart? There’s now a database—and a hashtag—for that
Enlarge / GREAT BRITAIN - JUNE 16: Cows feeding in a cattle pen, Dorset, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)Getty | Tim Graham reader comments 0 Share this story There are loads of interesting...
New global evidence of the role of humans, urbanization in rapid evolution
A new study that examines 1,600 global instances of phenotypic change -- alterations to species' observable traits such as size, development or behavior -- shows more clearly than ever that urbanization...
New species of fish in Hawaii's waters named after Obama
HONOLULU -- When scientists discovered a new species of fish in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, they noticed a distinctive, colorful spot near the tail that bore a striking resemblance...
Klingon newt and Ziggy Stardust snake species discovered
A newt that resembles a Klingon from “Star Trek” and a snake with iridescent rainbow scales that calls to mind David Bowie’s colorful extraterrestrial alter ego Ziggy Stardust are two of 163 new species...
New prehistoric bird species discovered
A new species of bird has been discovered in the Canadian Arctic. At approximately 90 million years old, the bird fossils are among the oldest avian records found in the northernmost latitude, and offer...
Bloody great: Evolution: Climate is a board game “red in tooth and claw”
EnlargeNorth Star Games reader comments 1 Share this story Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games. Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com. Evolution:...
New spider species' name inspired by "Harry Potter"
A new spider species has just been discovered, but it already has a doppelganger — the sorting hat from the “Harry Potter” series.Three scientists in India discovered the new spider species and named it...
Giraffes at risk of "silent extinction," biologists warn
WASHINGTON — The giraffe, the tallest land animal, is now at risk of extinction, biologists say.Because the giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in just 30 years, scientists put it on the official...
Intensification of land use leads to the same species everywhere
In places where humans use grasslands more intensively, it is not only the species diversity that decreases -- the landscape also becomes more monotonous, and ultimately only the same species remain everywhere....
Polar species spotted in the deep seas of the Mediterranean
Might have hitched a ride through the Suez canalOceanaBy Laura HamptonInvasive species and those normally found in the Atlantic and polar regions have been spotted in the deep seas of the eastern Mediterranean....
Biologists watch speciation in a laboratory flask
The evolution of a new species can occur rapidly enough for them to observe the process in a simple laboratory flask, biologists have discovered. In a month-long experiment using a virus harmless to humans,...
On Fiji, ants have learned to grow plants to house their massive colonies
reader comments 0 Share this story Enlarge / A tree full of Squamellaria plants in Fiji. Each one has been carefully grown by ants, who live inside the plants' fleshy interior. It's like James and the...
Poisonous amphibian defenses are linked to higher extinction risk
Amphibians which have a toxic defense against predators - such as the iconic poison dart frogs - have a much higher risk of extinction than species which use other types of defense mechanisms, research...
New dominant ant species discovered in Ethiopia shows potential for global invasion
A team of scientists conducting a recent biodiversity survey in the ancient church forests of Ethiopia made an unexpected discovery -- a rather infamous ant species (Lepisiota canescens) displaying signs...
Narwhal echolocation beams may be the most directional of any species
Analysis of some of the first recordings of wintering narwhals showed that they may have the most directional sonar of any species. Understanding how these whales use sound could help predict impacts of...
Test Tube Wildlife Could Save Nearly Extinct Species
The tiger, the rhinoceros, the gorilla; the list of animals that have been pushed to the brink of extinction is long and getting longer. But scientists in Limpopo, South Africa, have used in-vitro fertilization...
The mass extinction event going unnoticed
Elephants trooping to a water hole at the Amboseli national reserve. Nearly three-fifths of all animals with a backbone have been wiped out since 1970 by human appetites and activity, according to a grim...
Wildlife populations down by half since the 1970s
LONDON -- Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 58 percent from 1970 levels, with human activity reducing the numbers of elephants in Tanzania, maned wolves in Brazil, salamanders in the...
Plant discovered that neither photosynthesizes nor blooms
A new species of plant has been discovered on the subtropical Japanese island of Kuroshima (located off the southern coast of Kyushu in Kagoshima prefecture) and named it Gastrodia kuroshimensis. The new...
Heat-Generated Thermal Imaging Tracks Endangered Bats
Bats make up almost one quarter of all mammals species on earth. While many of the more than 1,300 species are thriving, others are endangered and facing extinction. In Britain, for example, several of...
Thousands of animals flock to annual party hosted by starlings
Come and join the party: palm cockatoos throw some shapesDaniel Natusch, University of SydneyBy Alice KleinLet the revels begin. Every summer, crowds of animals crowd around trees at the northernmost...
These insects are worth $100 billion
Electron microscope image of a termite. Pic: The Australian Museum INVASIVE insects cause at least $US77 billion ($A100 billion) in damage every year, according to a study released that says this figure...
Pre-historic mega shark discovered
Researchers said they were surprised to discover the new species of shark. A NEWLY discovered prehistoric shark species which grew to about the size of a car is believed to have patrolled the ocean around...
Wildlife Convention Aims to Save Great, Small, Weird and Ugly
The pangolin is an unlikely candidate for the spotlight. For starters, the scaly, anteater-like creature is shy, smelly and mostly nocturnal. Yet the humble pangolin has had a star turn this week, with...
Pangolins and parrots protected – lions and elephants lose out
Ready for release: a rescued pangolin is returned to the wild in SumatraNurPhoto/GettyBy Andy CoghlanIt’s been a red-letter week for many of the world’s most iconic and threatened species, tinged only...
Fossil from oldest ancestor of modern sea turtles
The earliest ancestors of modern sea turtles may have come from the Deep South in the United States, new evidence suggests. Working with two relatively complete turtle skeletons, the fossils help solve...
Scientists: Endangered frog rebounding in Yosemite Park
FRESNO, Calif. -- A native California frog once on the brink of extinction is making an encouraging comeback in Yosemite National Park, raising hopes for amphibians like it worldwide that are dying off...
To bee or not to bee is the question
Who knew that bees were in such short numbers in the US. Picture: AFP THE US is on a mission to save one of nature’s busiest workers — bees! Seven species have now been placed on the endangered list. CNN...
Hawaii's native bees put on Endangered Species list
HONOLULU Federal authorities added seven yellow-faced bee species, Hawaii’s only native bees, for protection under the Endangered Species Act Friday, a first for any bees in the United States. The U.S....
Endangered giraffes threatened by Uganda’s oil drilling bid
Under threat from drillingIvoha/Alamy By Maina Waruru in Nairobi, KenyaIn the lush greens of Karen-Hardy just next to Nairobi national park, a young male Rothschild’s giraffe called Jock is feeding on...
Climate change could destroy wild relatives of cereals by 2070
GettyBy New Scientist staff and Press AssociationGlobal warming could rapidly threaten grasses, including wild relatives of staple foods such as wheat and rice that provide half of all the calories consumed...
Climate change could wipe out many food cereals by 2070
GettyBy New Scientist staff and Press AssociationGlobal warming could rapidly threaten grasses including staple foods such as wheat and rice that provide half of all the calories consumed by humans. A...
Arctic ice melt is killing birds and will leave caribou stranded
An uncertain futureWayne Lynch/All Canada Photos/AlamyBy Julianna Photopoulos The ongoing loss of sea-ice cover is wreaking havoc on ecosystems across the Arctic, and may spell the end of more species...
Sea otter survey encouraging, but comes up short of the 'perfect story'
The southern sea otter,Enhydra lutris nereis, continues its climb toward recovery, according to the annual count. For the first time, southern sea otters' numbers have exceeded the threshold required by...
Google reportedly removing SMS texting from Hangouts on May 22
Welcome to your new Hangout. reader comments 40 Share this story Google continues to shake up its messaging tools with the upcoming removal of a popular feature from Hangouts. According to an email sent...
Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt: We 'can't guarantee' ads won't appear next to offensive content
Google may not be able to guarantee advertisements won't appear next to offensive content, but it is working on a solution that "can get pretty close," according to Alphabet's executive chairman Eric...
This is Amazon Alexa on a phone, and it isn’t threatening Siri anytime soon
Alexa works well on a smartphone. It was able to quickly answer a question about the weather and read me my daily news briefing. I even turned off my living room lights from work. Still, it's not as good...
Google Maps gets real-time location sharing
reader comments 28 Share this story With their permission, contacts will just start showing up on Google Maps. Ways to start location sharing: (left) from the app navigation drawer, and (right) from the...
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its component fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark