seeds and south african ecotourism

Poachers are taking species out, and tourists are bringing species in. A new study suggests that ecotourism threatens the very ecosystems that draw visitors in the first place. Unique fauna and habitats attract visitors from around the world, but those visitors don’t always come alone. A recent study recorded the numbers of seeds that were…

organic pesticides kill bees

Pesticides. It’s just one of those words that make you cringe. We’ve been wary of them for years, and recent pollinator declines aren’t making us feel any more approving. What many consumers and policy-makers fail to realize, though, is that organic alternatives might not be much better.  Until recently, organic-approved pesticides haven’t really been a cause for concern….

Signal Crayfish - Pacifastacus leniusulus

When talk about invasive species includes mention of their parasites, stories usually focus on an absence of the later. In fact, when species invade new habitats, one of their biggest advantages is liberation from their usual “bugs.” There are several ways that invasive species escape their parasites, and studies show that relatively few are replaced by parasites native to invaded ecosystems . This means…

American Coot threatened by invasive snail.

The introduced of non-native species are one of the biggest threats to aquatic ecosystems, and their impacts are only made worse when pathogens come along for the ride. One example of this is the Eurasian faucet snail, a species that has been implicated in massive die-offs of waterfowl across the northeast. The Faucet Snail First of all, the exotic mollusk isn’t exactly…

Koalas are in danger of extinction

Habitat loss and degradation remains one of the leading threats to wildlife around the world. And even when large tracts of land are left intact, habitats can be fragmented by the construction of roads, railways, and power-line right-of-ways. Animals that are unable to traverse these structures can become isolated and unable to find food or mates….

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I’m sure you’ve heard that our pollinators are in trouble. Whether it’s birds, bees, or butterflies, the development and destruction of natural habitat is causing big problems. Honeybees have hogged a lot of the attention, partly because of the mysterious cause(s) of colony collapse disorder, but also because of the importance of honeybees to industrialized…

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Scientists now believe that scorpions’ fluorescent exoskeletons may help them to find cover during the night. The scorpion’s cyan-green glow can be attributed to two chemicals, noharmane and hymnecromone, that are deposited in the exoskeleton during sclerotization, a biological process by which arthropods are able to harden their exoskeletons. Interestingly, neither young nor recently molted…

honeybee pollination

Pollinators are important for the production of ~75% of the world’s leading crops, but honeybees are not the only insects responsible for providing these services. The vanilla orchid, for example, can only be pollinated by a specific type of solitary bee, while Theobroma cacoa – the source of chocolate – is only pollinated by a tiny fly….