Sep 13, 2009 | 1
The common true katydid is one of the more stylish orthopterans, the group of insects that includes grasshoppers, crickets and locusts, appreciated in part for its chatty evening call from which its common name is taken.
You've probably heard it shushing, "katydid, katydid, katydid," without realizing it, anywhere east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, and in some parts just west of the Mississippi.
A small group of walkers on a naturalist-led tour heard them regularly at the Marshlands Conservancy in Westchester County, N.Y., last Saturday, September 5. No press releases were issued.
However, none of the green, winged bugs had been documented in New York City for the past 100 years, according to organizers of Cricket Crawl NYC, an amateur-science event held Saturday night to enlist area residents a la crowd-sourcing to collectively document the distribution of seven orthopteran species throughout the metropolitan area.
May 5, 2009 | 3
Ants are notoriously efficient in their undertaking, carrying off their dead nestmates before the corpses can infect the colony with their pathogens. But how do the worker ants responsible for shuttling their deceased comrades' bodies out of the nest tell live ants from dead?
Some researchers had hypothesized that ants were able to detect breakdown products in decomposing bodies, but a new study in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA contends that the mechanism is just the opposite: While alive, ants produce chemicals that signal their vitality, signals that quickly vanish on death. In other words, deceased ants are identified by the absence of signs of life—a sort of chemical pulse falling silent—rather than the presence of signs of death.
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