The scientific study of insects.

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How can flies sense mirrors?

I've noted that flies in my house have no problem landing on even perfectly clean mirrors. Why don't they fly straight into them? Can they sense that there is a surface there, even though they can't ...
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Selection for less efficient egg transfer in Human Botfly life cycle

I have heard that the Human Botfly transfers its eggs through other invertebrates [1], and it strikes my curiosity that if an insect could simply land on its host directly to deposit its eggs, then ...
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179 views

What is this bug?

I recorded a video of this bug: https://youtu.be/0eoWfHLEo7A I counted 8 legs, the front legs are a little curved. The drawing on the flat back is dark and looks like the image of Jesus with some ...
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503 views

Is this species a variant of a red flour beetle?

Found this little guy crawling around the back garden - South Coast of the UK. The closest things I could find online (with an admittedly weak knowledge of where to look up these things, aside a ...
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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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Insect identification: white spotted beetle

3 pairs of legs, a pair of antenna, wings absent, compound eye, 4-6 centimeter approx. in size. I found this beetle at my door, in Pune, India.
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What is this creature?

Since it has six legs, I believe it's some sort of insect, but I could be wrong. I spotted it in my Central Texas backyard (Austin area). It was very slow and not at all skittish. For size ...
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If I squash an insect and it produces red “juice”, does it always mean it is a blood-sucking type?

If I squash an insect and it produces red "juice", does it always mean it is a blood-sucking type of insect? Or do some insects have red "juice" themselves, so the color is red on its own and not ...
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594 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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75 views

What are these tiny dark red insects?

I found these creatures stuck to a leaf on my tomato plant in the greenhouse/glasshouse, in early June, in south Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. They are each about 1-2mm in size. They didn't move ...
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136 views

(How) can a pink grasshopper exist?

I saw this foto on Reddit recently: Is this possible? How can a grasshopper become like this? Is this just natural genetic mutation?
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Fire Ant Behavior

I've noticed for the past few weeks that near a small fire ant nest near my house there will be a new concentrated "large" pile of dead fire ants every few days. I went and checked out the pile and ...
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Do flies actually take off backwards?

I've been told that flies take off backwards, but I haven't really been able to prove it to myself. The closest I've gotten was noticing that they fly into window glass back-first, with their heads ...
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Small worm living in some kind of cocoon, what are these animals?

I am curious what animal is this. It is/lives inside some kind of cocoon, about 1 cm in length. They are attached to walls and to the ceiling, but sometimes they fall off. Inside the structure there ...
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724 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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Has Colony Collapse Disorder (or its equivalent) been noted in other species?

Colony Collapse Disorder is a well studied phenomenon relating to the decline of bee populations - has this disorder, or its equivalent, been observed in other colony-based species?
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Some sort of Lymantriidae caterpillar?

I found this larva in Sweden in July. It was about 15 mm long. It reminded me of Orgyia antiqua that I've seen before, but smaller and with a somewhat different colouration.
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Why don't flies avoid the motorway?

Flies have a short lifespan, therefore evolution should technically happen over a shorter period of time (years). Flies die all the time from getting hit by cars on the motorway. Those flies that ...
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Can an insect poison itself with food?

Is it possible that an insect poisons itself while eating "wrong" plants/fruits/... and have symptoms like pain (may hard to measure or detect) or orientation disorder? Background: I observed a ...
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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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130 views

Is there any reason the common housefly continues to return to an area?

This might come off as a really silly question. But I'm wondering (especially in the case of food) if there is any reason a fly would continue to try and sit on top of a piece of food even after ...
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159 views

Why do small organisms make faster movements than big organisms?

I hesitated to ask this question because it seems so obvious and intuitive. However, I am not able to explain this tendency. Background It seems to me that small organisms make faster movements than ...
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48 views

What worms devour the body?

I was reading http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/adult-10/slideshow-adult-acne which broached comedones, an esoteric word to me; so I thought to look up its etymology which I find ...
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140 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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192 views

Homologies to insect wings

All winged vertebrates have wings which are homologous to each other and to the forelimbs of the non-winged vertebrates. But what about insect wings? Are all insect wings homologous, and are there any ...
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561 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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216 views

What kind of insect is this and what is it doing?

I live in Denmark, Europe and found these 2 insects on a tree. I'm interested in the big fly and have the following questions: What kind of fly is it? What is it doing with the little fly?
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Can Biting Insects Detect Specific Places On A Host Body?

I'm gonna make a presumptive statement: It -seems- as though I get bitten by mosquitos and other biting insects in -exactly- the same places over and over. I mean within a few mm. Is that true? If ...
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51 views

Is there a good explanation for this swarming pattern?

A film clip would be helpful here. A few days ago I noticed a swarm of newly hatched flying bugs about 20 feet away from me with the sun behind them so the shape of swarming (such as it was) was easy ...
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Honeybee decision process: new food, new home, new threat [closed]

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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172 views

What kind of fly is this?

I found this dude hanging out in my sink, but he didn't fly away when I put a dish in the sink. Turned out it was dead. The front part looks exactly like a housefly. But, I've never seen the back end ...
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655 views

How do insects such as crickets circulate blood through their antennae?

Some insects, like the crickets pictured below, have such slender antennae it seems no blood could fit. How do they get blood through their antennae?
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How do bumblebees and hornets avoid the negative effects of inbreeding?

I just learned that all hornets and bumblebees except for the queen die at the end of the year and the queen starts a new nest in spring. But that means the next generation of queens have only ...
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725 views

Why is the mosquito a definitive host in malaria?

I thought that the definition of a definitive host was that the parasite had to sexually reproduce in that particular host. I've been told that mosquitoes are the definitive host for the plasmodium ...
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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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What is this butterfly?

The following guys (about an inch long) were seen in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in summer. When one would fly by a resting one, they'd get into a high-speed little "dogfight". What genus might ...
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Does anyone know what kind of caterpillar this is?

I was out hiking, and was walking along the side of a road, and saw this little guy on some gravel. Hes a light blue/grey color, hairy, spotted with red,and looks like he has horns and a tail. I've ...
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Identify bee in photo (found in Utah, USA)

A friend took this photo of a bee in his back yard in central Utah (© Jon Mott, CC-BY 3.0). I have no formal training in systematics or entomology, so to me everything looks like the bees' poster ...
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572 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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134 views

Help me identify this insect

Over the last week or so as warmer weather has arrived, I've noticed small insects crawling around in the bathroom. I'm located in western Europe. They are perhaps 1mm in length, quite difficult to ...
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214 views

Why does cucumber skin kill ants?

I recently read that cucumber skin is an effective repellent for some ants: Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants' point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to ...
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260 views

What is this beetle?

During a pit stop on the road from North Carolina to New York (somewhere in Delaware) I found the following (dead) insect in the car park: As you can see from the quarter next to it (25 mm ...
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301 views

What is the name if this glittery fly seen in Pittsburgh?

I have photographed the following fly which is iridescent green in Pittsburgh, PA. I guess it was about 0.5-1.5cm long. Can you help me to identify it?
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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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Identifying flying insect from northern Poland / Baltic Sea area

Found during this year vacations at Baltic Sea (northern parts of Poland): I don't have a picture containing other object, for size verification, but I'd say, that it was 3-4 cm long. There were ...
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187 views

What's the name of this caterpillar?

It was found in the state of Virginia, on the east coast of the United States.
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210 views

What is this flying insect?

This insect was captured in Australia near Canberra. It has a very hard exoskeleton and is over an inch long. It seems to have 6 wings - 2 large pairs and one very small pair. I did not see a stinger ...
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25 views

What's the maximum pressure inside a bombardier beetle?

This question got me wondering about the pressure inside a bombardier beetle. Lots of articles mention pressure, but don't specify the amount of it: One study records the velocity of the spray to ...
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207 views

What is the scientific name of this butterfly?

I have this butterfly but I don't know its scientific name. I think that it's a common butterfly which can be seen everywhere (btw, I'm in Taiwan.) Thanks for your help :D
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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 ...