It's an ant! It's a spider. No—it's BATFLY! A blind, wingless species of fly that lives on and with New Zealand short-tailed bats in strange symbiotic relationship. Similar animals infesting bats in South America and elsewhere are blood-sucking parasites—the vampire's vampire—but the New Zealand version is a vegetarian coprophage specialising in the management of bat guano.
It’s hard to think of a group of plants that are better defended than cacti. Frequently and often elaborately adorned with vicious spines, these succulents make any animal think twice about trying to take a bite. And yet, for some cacti, spines don’t seem to cut it. A surprising amount of species appear to have taken their defense system to a whole new level by recruiting nature’s most tenacious bodyguards, ants.
People tend to think that plants don’t do much from day to day – certainly when I asked my first-year students at the start of the course, they were far more interested in animals than in plants.
This is one of those revelations that is really going to make sticking to a plant-based diet even more difficult.
Rather that trying to out-compete each other, flowers may work together to attract bees en masse. It's the sort of approach that is effective in the world of advertising too.
Fossilised dung (coprolites) from kākāpō in a cave in the South Island has revealed an unexpected and hitherto unknown relationship between three of the country’s most unusual threatened species
Botanists have banded together to bring native mistletoes back to Wellington city, using seeds rescued from a plant growing on a dying tree.
One of the world’s worst agricultural pests corrupts the alarm signals of plants, disarming those that otherwise might prepare for an assault.
Brood parasitism is a parenting strategy in which birds lay their eggs in other birds' nests so the host mom will brood the eggs and tend to the offspring.
You should never bring a knife to gunfight, or try to beat a bird with ant repellant. That’s how the expression would go if a wood tiger moth coined it, anyway.
Caterpillar presence mutes broccoli's production of chemicals that attract aphid parasitoids, allowing both pests to wreak havoc on the plant. To read this article log in with the i-centre log in details.