The scientific study of insects.

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Praying Mantis (female) put sticky white stuff on wall of aquarium

Anybody know what this sticky white stuff is? She had a foot stuck in it; I had to help her get it loose. Was she purposely gluing herself there (perhaps in preparation for molting), or is she sick? ...
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97 views

Why insects are so small compared to mammals?

I was wondering what biological limitations make the dimension of the insects small compared to the dimension of the mammals. I know in other eras insect were bigger!
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160 views

Do ants within a colony ever fight or come to conflict?

I'm investigating how hierarchical groups of a larger organization with a common goal tend to come to conflict with one another over time. As you decompose a large group (for example a corporation), ...
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64 views

Is it true that there is a spider that eats parasites from caterpillars

I think I once saw a video of a caterpillar that could get infected by a parasite, and could die of that, unless a specific kind of spider would eat the parasite, and so once the caterpillar is ...
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65 views

Attachment of muscles during molting in insects

Normally, insects' muscles are attached to their exoskeleton but what happens to this attachment when they are moulting? Sorry if this is an extremely silly question but I have wondered about it for ...
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Why do ladybugs have a different number of points on their backs

Everytime I see a ladybug I ask myself this question. Why does every ladybug have a different amount of points on its back? Is it because of its age? Or because of its genes? Is it inheritable?
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111 views

Are there echolocating insects?

Echolocation is the ability to obtain spatial information of the surroundings from echos generated by the animal. There are bats and other vertebrates that naturally use it. I was wondering if this ...
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135 views

Identification of this fly?

So I find these flies every year in my mulch, and I've never seen them anywhere else. The mulch becomes full of their larvae, which I feed to my toad and lizards. There are so many that you can hear ...
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98 views

What type of insect is this?

I'm naturally thinking this is a bee, but I cannot find it anywhere in any insect identifiers. I caught this picture on top of my doorway, it's about 1 1/2 inches in length, and its torso seems to be ...
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170 views

Is it true that bees and wasps don't sting if struck by hand while they are in flight?

Is it true that wasps don't sting if struck by hand while flying? I know of one person who claims to have done this at least 20 times and has never been stung. And out of curiosity (not that I'd want ...
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90 views

What happens during metamorphosis?

We were studying butterflies in class and I asked my 7th grade teacher, but she deemed the concept "too complicated." I'm really curious now, not only about butterflies but insects in general... ...
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111 views

Why do mosquitoes not collect blood after platelets activate?

This may be anecdotal... The Indian sub-continent is in the rainy part of summer. It follows the mosquito population goes up. So when I sliced my palm, I expected the mosquitoes to collect there in ...
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334 views

How do small animals make loud sounds?

Walking past the park today, I heard a cicada so loud I thought at first it must be some sort of large power tool. How is it that that very small animals like cicadas (crickets, etc.) can make such ...
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128 views

Bee (?) identification

I live in Michigan. I just saw a bee that I think I've seen before, but only this time was I so struck by its uniqueness and - for lack of a better word - scariness. I'll describe it. It was ...
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Honeybee decision process: new food, new home, new threat

I have heard that honeybees send out scouts, then based on the scout reports more bees go then come back and report and so they are supposed to be efficient decision makers. Can you give as complete ...
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66 views

Do insects respond to the detection of dead insects?

Are there insects that change their behavior upon detecting the nearby presence of other dead insects? If there are, can you provide an example?
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123 views

What kind of insect is this?

Found in Russia in the kitchen. It is about 3 mm long.
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Species Identification - small insect: is this a bed bug?

I found this bug in my apartment in Chicago. We had bed bugs in our house the previous year (but we thought we got rid of them). This bug was very small - maybe 2 millimeters in length. These ...
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1answer
102 views

What in the world is this critter?

We spotted this thing crawling around a (thankfully empty) bowl in our apartment in Barcelona, Spain. I have never seen anything like it. It appears to be some kind of caterpillar-like insect, but it ...
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39 views

How far do 2 ant colonies of same heritage have to be in space (and generation) in order to fight?

(Kinda follow-up to this.…) I've heard before that if you put 2 ant colonies side by side they're going to attack each other. But then from the previous question, there could be "sister" ant ...
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126 views

What is this insect I found in Russia?

I found this in Russia. It is approximately 2cm long.
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275 views

How many honeybees are there, and how has the number changed across time?

How would you begin to estimate the world population of the European Honeybee (Apis mellifera)? Would recent colony collapse disorder show up as a blip? How about the spread of A. mellifera from ...
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2answers
142 views

What insect is in this photo?

Found in Russia, in the kitchen. It is about 1–2 cm length.
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78 views

How mosquitoes get their food and survive?

How mosquitoes find and get their food? For how much time they can survive without food?
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78 views

Identification of this insect?

I noticed several of these guys outside, all in a vertical position clinging to a wall. I didn't come to them too closely, but my immediate reaction was that they are scorpions. I thought that ...
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166 views

Eusociality and Natural selection?

Eusociality, particularly focusing on the presence of certain altruistic sterile organisms within the social set-up creates questions as to why would the process of natural selection have favoured the ...
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Identification of an Insect (Hemiptera)

I found a a few of these guys on my composter, so they could have easily been eating bugs or decaying organics (or both): To me it looks like a stink bug with oversized legs, not like the ones I'm ...
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340 views

What is this beetle and what are the strange antennae for?

I found this wonderful creature in my yard (I live in the south of France) last night: It was about 2-3cm long, with a hard carapace and wings. It also made loud hissing noises when agitated. I ...
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69 views

Can ant colonies have two “branches”?

Could an ant colony have 2 or more "branches" located far from each other (i.e. physically separated but interconnected nests) ? If so, how far is the limit?
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103 views

Method to recognize the age of a firebug from the pattern on its back

Can I recognize the age of a firebug from the pattern on its back? If yes, what pattern shows what age/stage? Below is what I extrapolated from Wikipedia, but is there a more precise scale with more ...
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1answer
777 views

What insect is this? (Black body two orange lines in its back and six legs)

I found this today in the library while studying. I am very curious to know whether this particular insect has a name that I can look up and find more information about: Full length is almost one ...
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221 views

Do fake wasp nests actually fool wasps?

I have seen fake wasp nests sold as a deterrent against wasps and similar insects. Do they really work? Is there some scientific evidence for it? A related link: ...
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71 views

What nutritious insects exist to farm that require the least attention?

What nutritious insects exist to farm that require the least attention? I'm looking to automate simply, in a self regulating way. Edit: To add detail, I imagine the insects would live densely in a ...
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125 views

How do ants sense imminent rainfall?

I have always been told to watch to see if ant-hole mounds are built up as a sign of imminent rainfall. My questions are, if what I have always been told is true, then by what mechanism do ants ...
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217 views

What flying insect is this?

Found in Russia. Approx. 7 cm.
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217 views

What is this insect?

These photographs were taken today in Marseille, in the Mediterranean coast of France. My French friends inform me that these beasties are called cousins because they are "cousins" of mosquitoes ...
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To what extent is immature eggs in insects (beetles) a good approximation for maximum fecundity?

To what extent is the number of immature eggs from dissected, newly emerged individuals a reasonable approximation for maximum/potential fecundity in insects (more specifically beetles)? I know that ...
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383 views

What happens to an ant colony when the queen dies?

Does the colony collapse? Do workers keep following the last orders? Or can future queens replace the dead one? I'm guessing this might also depend on each specific sub-species.
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121 views

What beetle is this?

I've found it in my kitchen. It seems to be that he flew through the window from the street. The country is Russia.
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71 views

Do cockroaches eat their shells after moulting?

I recently witnessed a cockroach eat its shell after it moulted. Do cockroaches always do this?
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Why do ants dig surface paths?

A few days ago I observed a corridor built and used by ants that went over a path in fields: Why do they build it? It seems it doesn't bring any considerable protection from the surrounding ...
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148 views

What insect is this?

I found it in Russia. Where they usually live? What they eat? Full length is approximately 2 cm.
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234 views

Can spider silk be synthesized for 3D printing with spider silk?

With the recent rise in 3D printing, I keep hearing about more novel ways to use the technology: cell 3D printing, liquid aluminum or plastic 3D printing. For example, this Ted talk deals with ...
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57 views

Do ant pheromones indicate the direction to go?

I know that ants communicate with pheromones but I am wondering if these pheromones can indicate in which direction to go. For example the ants leave pheromones to indicate a food source and when they ...
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Why are mosquitoes repelled by smoke?

A well known way to have a rest of mosquitoes during camping is to stand in the fire's smoke. Moreover, I learned recently that shepherds in certain regions of Africa use the same tactic for cattle. ...
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114 views

Modern reference for Kropotkin's lazy bees

I have been reading through Peter Kropotkin's Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution and he mentions a curious fact about bees (bolding by me for emphasis): predatory instincts and laziness continue to ...
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683 views

Are there any solitary species of ant or termite?

The social insects consist of the ants, the bees, and the termites, which live in colonies rather than living solitary. But I've heard that there are some species of bee which are solitary and don't ...
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133 views

Which part of a female mantises's DNA causes her to be a few times larger than a male mantis?

Which part of a female mantises's DNA causes her to be a few times larger than a male mantis? Do other species have that part of DNA?
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84 views

Bugs' love for light

Do bugs love light bulbs because they resemble the stars or is it the sun? How do they sense the bulb? What is the purpose of this "brightophilia" that has evolved in insects?
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Is it possible for parasitic wasp to alter the behaviour of it's host after emerging from it?

I know that parasitic wasp larvae could live for a long time inside their alive host (eg. caterpillar), but I always thought that they kill the host when they eventually get out of it. But once I've ...