Stealth Bat

Photo by Dr. Elizabeth Clare, Queen Mary University of London

Bugs don’t want to get eaten, so some of them finally wised up and learned to listen for bat echolocation. But the Pallas long-tongued bat found a way around that.

Bats use echolocation to track down their prey. Most bat echolocation consists of a series of rapid high pitched ultrasonic pulses, which some insects have learned to recognize and avoid. But scientists have discovered that the nectar-slurping Pallas long-tongued bat likes to munch on a certain type of moth that has learned to listen for bats. So how does the Pallas long-tongued bat snag his mothy snack? Continue reading Stealth Bat


Europe’s Rarest Orchid Rediscovered on Volcanic Island Ridge

The Hochstetter’s Butterfly-orchid.
Photo by Richard Bateman

Researchers went to the Azorean islands to find out if they contained one species of orchid, or two. Instead, they found three, and the third is arguably Europe’s rarest orchid species. Hochstetter’s Butterfly-orchid was rediscovered on the highest ridge of a volcano in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and now researchers are urgently requesting protection for this threatened species.

The research team had originally wanted to focus on studying butterfly orchids on the Azorean archipelago as a simple method for studying the origin of species. They had been systematically investigating each of the nine islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean, taking note of how the island orchids had evolved into miniature versions of their Mediterranean ancestors. Continue reading Europe’s Rarest Orchid Rediscovered on Volcanic Island Ridge

Ants – Be the Rainbow

Photo by Mohamed Babu/Solent News

Dr. Mohamad Babu of Myansor India has captured these images of ants as they fill their translucent abdomens with vibrantly colored drops of sugar water. He got the idea after his wife showed him how the ants’ abdomens turned white after drinking spilled milk. “As the ant’s abdomen is semi-transparent, the ants gain the colours as they sip the liquid,” says Dr. Babu. He also says the ants preferred yellow and green over blue and red. You can read more at The Daily Mail. Continue reading Ants – Be the Rainbow

What Does The Koala Say?

A Koala in Australia

Most members of the animal kingdom get sweet bonus stuff. Cats get retractable claws, monkeys get prehensile tails – and apparently koalas get extra vocal cords. Researchers have discovered that male koalas have an extra pair of vocal cords that gives their mating calls a pitch 20 times lower than it should be for a marsupial that size. To put that in perspective, it would be like a Chihuahua that can yap in the pitch of an elephant. Continue reading What Does The Koala Say?