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Stories by Katherine Harmon

Are Zombie Bees Infiltrating Your Neighborhood?

Update Sept. 11, 2015: ZomBee Watch, a citizen science project, reported on September 1, 2015 that one of its participants, Joseph Naughton, discovered and captured a honey bee parasitized by the zombie fly Apocephalus borealis on his porch in New York.

September 11, 2015 — Katherine Harmon
Major Flooding Inundates Drought-Stricken Colorado Cities

Major Flooding Inundates Drought-Stricken Colorado Cities

LONGMONT, Colo.—Three days of soaking rain in Colorado have unleashed damaging floods in and around Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs and isolated some towns in the foothills of the Rockies.

September 12, 2013 — Katherine Harmon
How Octopus Arms Regenerate With Ease

How Octopus Arms Regenerate With Ease

Like a starfish, an octopus can regrow lost arms. Unlike a starfish, a severed octopus arm does not regrow another octopus. But the biological secrets inside their arm regeneration feat do hold the promise of learning more about how we might better regenerate our own diseased or lost tissue.

August 28, 2013 — Katherine Harmon
Even Severed Octopus Arms Have Smart Moves

Even Severed Octopus Arms Have Smart Moves

The eight wily arms of an octopus can help the animal catch dinner, open a jar and even complete a convincing disguise. But these arms are not entirely under the control of the octopus’s brain.

August 27, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Will the Robot Uprising Be Squishy?

Octopuses offer an extreme engineering challenge: They are almost infinitely flexible, entirely soft-bodied and incredibly intelligent. Are we vertebrate humans ever going to be able to build anything as deformable and complex as a real octopus?

July 26, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

3-D Printed Jets Mimic Octopus Propulsion

Octopus-inspired propulsion system; image courtesy of Fraunhofer IPA An octopus spends most of its time crawling around on the seafloor looking for dinner—and trying to avoid becoming it.

July 23, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Octopuses Survive Sub-Zero Temps Thanks to Specialized Blue Blood

Antarctic octopod Pareledone charcoti; image courtesy of Armin Rose Octopuses' oddities run deep—right down to their blue-hued blood. And new research shows how genetic alterations in this odd-colored blood have helped the octopus colonize the world's wide oceans—from the deep, freezing Antarctic to the warm equatorial tropics.The iron-based protein (hemoglobin) that carries oxygen in the blood for us red-blooded vertebrates becomes ineffective when faced with low-oxygen levels.

July 13, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

8 Awesome Octopus Facts for World Oceans Day

Image courtesy of Paul Asman/Jill Lenoble/Wikimedia Commons Octopuses are amazing. In honor of World Oceans Day, here are eight facts about these incredible creatures.8.

June 8, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Unusual Offshore Octopods: The `Dumbo' Octopus Swims with Fins [Video]

"Dumbo octopus&qquot; Grimpoteuthis bathynectes swims in the Northeast Pacific Ocean; image courtesy of University of Washington/YouTube Down in the dark depths of the deep ocean live more than a dozen species of "Dumbo" octopuses.These octopods from the genus Grimpoteuthis are so named for their prominent, unusual earlike fins that they use to help them swim (reminiscent of the Disney elephant character who used his ears to fly).

April 26, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Female Octopus Arms Reach Farther, Robot Research Group Finds [Video]

Common octopus beginning the arm-stretch experiment; image courtesy of Laura Margheri et al. Almost as fast as you can say "go-go-gadget arm," an octopus can stretch its arm more than twice its normal length—without the help of any cyborg attachments.

April 10, 2013 — Katherine Harmon