Assassin bug carries victims on its back to fend off enemies

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Assassin bug

The assassin bug is less than a centimeter in length and that is something for which, quite possibly, we can be truly grateful! The bug is found in Malaysia and has a trick up its sleeve once it has finished its dinner. It attaches the empty carcases of its victims on its back – a ploy thought to be an attempt to avoid becoming a victim itself. (Photos)

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Monster supersoldier ants created by genetic scientists

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Scientists created the monster ants in the laboratory by activating ancient ancestral genes.

Monster ‘supersoldier’ ants with huge heads and jaws have been created by activating ancient genes. Scientists believe the monster ants may be a genetic throwback to an ancestor that lived millions of years ago. (Pics)

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Leaderless Ants Create Super Efficient Transport Networks

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Argentine ants connect three nests in an empty arena via the shortest possible network.

Ants are able to connect multiple sites in the shortest possible way, and in doing so, create efficient transport networks, according to a University of Sydney study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.  The research also revealed the process by which the ants solve network design problems without the help of a leader.

 

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Biologists Discover That Some Ants Eventually Retire

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Some ants do get to retire.

Many adjectives come to mind when thinking about ants, but ‘idle’ likely isn’t among them. But recently biologists discovered that after a lifetime of service in their namesake occupation, older leaf-cutter ants eventually decided to hang their hats, enjoying a retirement of sorts in their golden years. While the study may not appear to have overt real-word implications, researchers insist it may help us better understand our own notions of productivity, especially later in life. “This study demonstrates an advantage of social living that we are familiar with,” says the study’s lead author. “Humans that can no longer do certain tasks can still make very worthwhile contributions to society.”

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Over 200 New Species Discovered in Papua New Guinea

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This Pink-Eyed Katydid is one of many new species discovered.

This pink-eyed katydid lives in the forest canopy in Papua New Guinea. It is one of the over 200 new species discovered by the Conservation International expedition to the Muller Range mountains last year. See more of the new species of frogs, ants, spiders, mammals, and plants, and videos of the expedition at Conservation International.

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Artist Creates Portrait From 200,000 Dead Ants

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Mr Trueman’s artwork made from ants.

Chris Trueman bought the tiny creatures alive in batches of 40,000 for £330 each for his bizarre masterpiece.  The 32-year-old then had to kill them before painstakingly rearranging them into a picture using tweezers.  The final piece, which measures 48 inches by 42 inches, was priced at a staggering $35,000 dollars, around £23,000.

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The Ant Queen’s Chemical Crown Keeps Her Workers Infertile

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The ant queen is the only one that reproduces unless she dies or is removed.

The defining feature of social insects is that societies contain queens, which specialise in laying eggs, as well as workers, which are mostly infertile but take care of the offspring and the nest. However, when the queen dies or is re-moved, workers begin laying eggs of their own. Previous observations have suggested that queens possess a specific pheromone which keeps the workers infertile, but the pheromone has never been identified except in the well-studied honeybee.

 

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Crazy Rasberry Ants: New Species Of Ants Invading North America

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Crazy Rasberry Ant

Poor Texas. First it was killer bees, then fire ants. Now, it’s the Rasberry ants.

The invasion of this new species of ants has scientists intrigued, businesses concerned and fire ants running for the hills, said Jerry Cook, an entomologist at Sam Houston State University. (Video)

 

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