Black widows: does their reputation precede fact?

By Shreyas Kuchibhotla There are few things that man abhors more than the spider. For millennia, our perception of these creatures has been one driven by disgust, hate and unbridled horror. They possess all too many unblinking eyes, eight hairy legs that scale walls with ease, and a tendency to appear out of nowhere. About 3-15%Continue reading “Black widows: does their reputation precede fact?”

Robber flies: the mini assassins with binoculars and two navigation systems

By Clarie Lo Holcocephala fusca, also known as robber fly, is one of the smallest aerial predators in nature. With a total body length of no longer than 7 mm,1 comparable to a grain of rice, its sensory capability and brain capacity are expected to be inferior to other species of the Insecta class. Much toContinue reading Robber flies: the mini assassins with binoculars and two navigation systems

The phylogenetic importance of Xenacoelomorpha

By Simran Patel This is the story of animals who can regenerate body parts1 and house photosynthetic symbionts2. It’s the story of animals you’d mistake for unpaired socks3 living in unexplored places1. If that is not fascinating enough, they could be the closest extant animals to the last bilaterian common ancestor, Ürbilateria. This is the story ofContinue reading The phylogenetic importance of Xenacoelomorpha

Scorpion venom – A tale of efficient evolution and empty wallets 

By Shreyas Kuchibhotla For most living beings, risk is inevitable. Far antedating our arrival on the planet, efforts to alleviate this risk engendered in various animals a lethal cocktail of chemicals known as venom. In our perennial bid to widen the chasm between ourselves and risk, we have harnessed the power of this potent brewContinue reading Scorpion venom – A tale of efficient evolution and empty wallets 

Conservation efforts of Australia’s Grey Nurse Shark

By Elisa Botting With the looming anthropogenic driven sixth mass extinction, the extinction of many organisms is becoming increasingly probable. Organisms that require specialised habitats and are strongly affected by the slightest environmental changes are arguably the first victims of the extinction period. Due to its specialised habitat of subtropical to cool temperate waters andContinue reading Conservation efforts of Australia’s Grey Nurse Shark

Why comb jellies complicate animal evolution

By Heiloi Yip Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, are a group of jellyfish-like marine organisms found all over the world’s oceans. The complexity of a ctenophore bodyplan is somewhere between that of simple poriferans (sea sponges) and highly complex bilaterians (animals with bilateral symmetry). By intuition, one might draw a phylogenetic tree with theContinue reading Why comb jellies complicate animal evolution

Why do honeybee queens live longer than their workers?

By Heiloi Yip Honeybees are well-known for their social hierarchy being consisted of two main castes: the queens and the female workers (the male drones will be ignored in this article). Each colony will typically consist of a single egg-laying queen, along with tens of thousands of workers that perform various tasks to maintain theContinue reading “Why do honeybee queens live longer than their workers?”

Ocean Currents and their Relationship with Marine Life

By Ayoush Srivastava As climate change continues to accelerate, there is increased international attention towards its effects and the development of potential measures to slow its pace. The exponential growth of greenhouse gas emissions over the past 30 years, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), has increased the average global temperature by 0.2°C annually;Continue reading “Ocean Currents and their Relationship with Marine Life”

An underwater symphony: the importance of sound in our oceans

By Evangeline Wilby   When humans explore below the surface of the ocean, sound fuses into one background noise, but to marine life, this is a diverse array of sound that is essential to their existence. Specifically, the coral reef; a noisy habitat with a language scientists are yet to fully uncover (Honeyborne et al., 2017). Most people areContinue reading “An underwater symphony: the importance of sound in our oceans”

How vultures thrive on the carrion that poisons humans

By Isabelle Hall  Rotten meat forms a significant part of the diet of numerous scavengers, including vultures and hyenas. Vultures are obligate scavengers, surviving almost solely on carrion. Instances of human consumption of rotten meat have been recorded – some reportedly practise this as a method of achieving a euphoric high, possibly through contraction ofContinue reading “How vultures thrive on the carrion that poisons humans”