When our robot servants revolt, do we really want them to be a swarm of internet enabled roaches? [more inside]
Kept in the dark for 60 years, fruit flies begin to reveal their genetic adaptations. In 1954, seven years after their cousins returned from space, a colony of fruit flies was plunged into a darkness which would continue through 1500 generations right up till the present day. The results of this study shed considerable light on the role of genetic variation in physical adaptation. Spoiler: [more inside]
On 20 February 1947, the first animal made it into space aboard a captured Nazi V-2 rocket. That animal was a fruit fly, accompanied by several compatriots from the same species. Their rocket reached an altitude of 108 kilometers and then parachuted safely back to Earth after completing their 3 minute and 10 second mission. All hail Earth's pioneering space travellers!
"Zebras are obviously the chillest animals on Earth, but how did they get that way? As it turns out, their signature stripes may not have evolved as camouflage, but instead are largely a deterrent to blood-sucking flies." -- At first blush it may seem a hoax, considering the publication date, but it turns out very likely that zebras got their stripes not as camouflage, but as protection against biting insects.
Jumping spider watching you, jumping spider watching you (again), mantis eating a fly, mantis eating a fly (again), mantis watching you, mantis watching you (again), ladybird hatching, flies having sex, crane flies having sex, shepherd, WTF is that, WTF is that (again), and a really cute baby hamster. Photographs by David Jobi
Bats eavesdrop on the sound of copulating flies (includes grainy sextape). Another summary with additional comments.
One of the side effects of being a 5-day, live show was that the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows featured regular technical and acting flubs. Many, many, many flubs [more inside]
Sexual Deprivation Increases Alcohol Intake in Drosophila (the original paper, and a précis, are both behind paywalls; the précis notes "anthropomorphizing the results from flies is difficult to suppress, but the relevance to human behavior is obviously not yet established")
The One-Minute Fly [SLYT] An animated short (with a nod to Ice Age).
Screwworms, once the scourge of livestock (as well as pets and occasionally humans [link to VERY GRAPHIC slideshow]) throughout the Western Hemisphere, have been eradicated from the United States since 1966. In addition to constant vigilance by veterinary services and livestock handlers, who treated wounds immediately and set traps [link to 1920s informational film], the method which ultimately led to control of this horrifying pest is sterile insect technique. Maps showing the progress of the technique can be seen here. The USDA's National Agriculture Library maintains a special collection on the Screwworm Eradication Program. Here is a good overview of the problem and the USDA's solution, complete with (somewhat gruesome) pictures and videos. [more inside]
Flies! Yup, flies. New Jersey flies. Doesn't get any better than that! This is a super-cool photo gallery that also includes bees, butterflies and moths, ladybugs, spiders, and other little creatures. Other than the bugs, my faves are the psychedelic milk splashes and that pure Jersey water. All this and more, here.
Why do Australians hang corks around their hats? - Jim Heath tells you All About the Australian Bush Fly
These flies have been stalking me. Friday Flash flies, that is.
Fruit flies take death lying down. Some scientist somewhere noticed an interesting death habit, if you will, in fruit flies. One day they flop over upside down, and stay there, until they die - almost always ~14 days later. The live approximately 60 days. The point? They believe that something naturally triggers the onset of death and dying. Interesting.
This is absolutely one of my favorite web sites. I've had this URL bookmarked on my computer for well over a year (maybe two?). It's simply one of those weirdass web things that defies explanation. It simply cannot be appreciated without seeing it. The page is truly demented. What are you waiting for? Geez!