The world’s largest living organism, located in utah’s fishlake national forest, might not look like anything much but a large stretch of aspen trees. but if you were to look beneath the surface, you would find a vast and complex root system responsible for this behemoth organism. learn more at earth.com
club-like appendages enable the mantis shrimp to batter its prey with the most powerful punch in the animal kingdom. a study by researchers in singapore has now revealed what is behind the incredible strength of this punch. learn more at earth.com
Each year through part of the american southwest, furry tarantulas come out and are seen wandering en masse across the landscape. the largest number of spiders can be seen in nevada but there are tarantulas to be found in the grasslands and canyon country of southeastern colorado and throughout much of the southwestern us. the northern and southern boundaries to the east for tarantulas are the missouri and mississippi rivers, although non-native tarantulas have also been introduced to florida. an article in the gazette from 2013 reported that the tarantula’s range is extending further north as the planet warms. learn more at earth.com
Researchers at the georgia institute of technology have discovered that animals swish their tails in order to produce a breeze to keep pesky, and often hazardous, flying insects away.
study co-author marguerite matherne explained, “most people assume that horses and other mammals swing their tails as some kind of deterrent for bugs; we wanted to provide scientific evidence for this claim.” learn more at earth.com
Old blue eyes may not have been thinking of botflies when he crooned, “and each time i do just the thought of you/makes me stop before i begin/’cause i’ve got you under my skin,” but the sentiment could just as easily apply to western travelers returning from countries such as belize and bolivia with uninvited guests squirming happily under their epidermis. many may wish they had eschewed the fantastical sights of the rainforests of south america and boarded a plane to a less exotic destination when what seemed like a simple mosquito bite begins showing signs of life. learn more at earth.com
Researchers from the university of california, santa barbara made an unexpected discovery while studying grey reef sharks in a protected shark sanctuary around the republic of the marshall islands (rmi). almost a quarter of all shark populations are in danger of becoming extinct, and overfishing has played a significant role in many shark population declines. one particularly gruesome practice is called shark finning, where people cut off the fin of a shark and discard the rest of its body.
There’s a new weapon in the battle against outdoor-biting malaria mosquitoes: decoys that look and smell like cattle.
efforts to spread mosquito netting, indoor spraying and other techniques have gone a long way toward controlling populations of the biting insects in areas where malaria is endemic. but it’s not enough, officials say. outdoor-biting mosquitoes are just as capable of spreading the devastating illness.
the enormous stone heads on easter island have puzzled scientists – and the general public – for years. many conspiracy theories have been postulated for what purpose these heads may have served. now, a new study may have just found the answer.
learn more at earth.com
Mount etna is the most active stratovolcano in the world and it continues to grow due to its volcanic activity. located on the east coast of the densely populated island of sicily, the volcano is closely monitored. learn more at earth.com
Tigers have long been a symbol of strength in asia as potent as the symbol of dragons. ornate water buffalo horns are carved with both animals and sold to tourists in thailand. animal planet tells us that the bengal tiger is the national symbol of india and bangladesh. the malayan tiger is the national animal of malaysia and south korea has made the siberian tiger their national emblem. it is said that the stripes on a tiger’s forehead spell out the chinese character, ‘wang’ which means ‘king’. the tiger is truly the king of the jungle too, being the biggest and possibly most dangerous of the world’s big cats. learn more at earth.com
Have you ever wondered what cannabis looks like up close, on a microscopic level? a new book by an expert in photographic sciences shows a side of marijuana rarely seen outside of a lab setting.
in some of the pictures, you can even see the cannabis sacs that store the chemical thc on the ends of individual hairs of the plant. learn more at earth.com