The scientific study of insects.

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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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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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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 ...
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What are these two fruit flies doing?

When taking some pictures I accidentally captured two fruit flies doing this: The photos are unfortunately blurry, but from what I can tell, one fly approaches the other from behind, and something ...
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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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Do butterflies pass over migration patterns to their offspring?

So, earlier, I read online (http://io9.com/butterflies-remember-a-mountain-that-hasnt-existed-for-509321799) that Monarch butterflies veer east during their southward migration to avoid a mountain ...
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268 views

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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611 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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Why insects are so energy-efficient while flying?

Why are insects so energy-efficient while flying? Is it because of their light weight and aerodynamics or due to very efficient biochemical transformations (food->energy)?
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Why don't all ants have wings?

Since the new queens-to-be have wings, it means that ants either evolved from insects that can fly, or insects that can fly evolved from ants, or that we have a case of parallel evolution (which is ...
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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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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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Do butterflies see behind?

Butterflies, like many other insects, understand that I am getting near from behind. How do they feel this - through vision, hearing, or some other sense?
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Are these lovebugs?

I used to see these insects frequently in Chennai and Bangalore (South India). I just would like to know if this is a kind of lovebug. The lovebug as mentioned in the Wikipedia page is, however, ...
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142 views

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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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 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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How tolerant are ants to cold?

There was a trail of what are commonly known as sugar ants (small, brown, hyperactive) in my kitchen. Three of them walked onto an ice tray placed in their path. They only walked a short distance on ...
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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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Do mosquitoes need to pump blood out of the host?

Many species of mosquitoes have bloodsucking females. When they bite a host, do they need to pump? Or does the sheer blood pressure combined with capillary action suffice to make the blood rush into ...
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Is Batesian mimicry more important for females?

Myrmarachne plataleoides is a jumping spider that mimics the Kerengga or weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) in both morphology and behaviour. However, the two sexes appear different: Myrmarachne ...
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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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Can anyone identify this caterpillar?

Can anyone identify this caterpillar we found on a cauliflower? This was the only photo we could get of it. Location : Ceres, Fife, Scotland
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Is this a crayfish hole? or wasp nest?

I'm suspicious that it might be crayfish, which I'd think was insane (I still kind of do), if I hadn't found a dead one around my house earlier this summer. Is that definitely what it is, or do I ...
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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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Why do cockroaches burst from soapy water?

(careful, disturbing!) I was experimenting with some stray cockroaches that ended up falling in my bath tub overnight (there is currently an infestation undergoing in my apartment building) and I ...
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What's the name of this bug from Toronto, Canada?

It's about 3 millimetres in length. Found on September 10, 2015.
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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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(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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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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166 views

What kind of bug/insect is this? photo attached

This morning (a few hours after sunrise) I saw this insect running over the blanket. I'm thinking what it is, if it's a bed bug that missed feeding time and is out of schedule (as i thought that they ...
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578 views

Questions about insects eating flour and living in the cracks of a wooden cutting boards

I have a large wooden cutting board which is used in my kitchen mainly for preparing egg pasta. The wood type is Populus (poplar or aspen or cottonwood). The main ingredients used with the cutting ...
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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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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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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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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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854 views

Why do adult insects have 6 legs?

Apparently, there is an advantage to having 6 legs in the insect world. What is that advantage, if anything? Why would such an advantage exist for insects, but not for other, larger land animals? ...
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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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Identification of an insect from midwest US

I have been seeing them more and more frequently indoors. I am currently in the Midwest United States, weather has been unusually warm for December, and there are many trees nearby. Can someone ...
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What is this tiny thing on the branch

I noticed a tiny spot with weird shape on the shoot of a plant (Variegata), and there are many others on other branches. I wonder what is it, this is a cropped picture of it, Thank you!
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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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110 views

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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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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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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153 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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184 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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256 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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268 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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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?