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biology Archives - The Triz Journal

Biology – Polysphincta Wasp

11/11/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Wasps. Subject of four previous ezine features. Wasps break records. Evil records. We’ve had two different parasitic wasps (Issue 148 and Issue 184) and this month we hear about a zombie-making species.

Setting off a startling chain of … Read More

Biology – Spittlebug

27/10/2019 |

Darrell Mann

The froghoppers, or the superfamily Cercopoidea, are a group of hemipteran insects in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha. Adults are capable of jumping many times their height and length, giving the group their common name. They are perhaps best known, … Read More

Biology – Long-Tailed Tit

18/09/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Long tailed tits, recognisable by their undulating flight, a tail much longer than its small, pinkish body and generally flying in a small flock, are also known as ‘flying teaspoons’. You generally hear them before you see them … Read More

Biology – Goldfinch

31/08/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Goldfinches are some of the most colourful birds to be found in Europe. They eat seeds and houses. Or, more specifically, the mortar that holds houses together. Why do they do this?

Seeds, while nutritious on the inside, … Read More

Biology – Nuthatch

31/07/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Like many people who watch birds, I have my favourites. The nuthatches that feed outside my office window for instance.

Quirky little birds. Shaped like stubby cigars, with their short tails, thick necks and their characteristic racing-stripe logo. … Read More

Biology – Sailfish

30/06/2019 |

Darrell Mann

The Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) is a world-record holding speed merchant twice over. Early measurements of the sailfish’s ability to move through the sea faster than any other marine vertebrate are currently the source of some challenge. What … Read More

Biology – Cat Tongue

26/05/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Cats love to groom themselves almost as much as they love to sleep, spending up to one-quarter of their waking hours cleaning their fur.

The secret to their self-cleaning success? The spines on their tongues are curved and … Read More

Biology – Polka-dot Tree Frog

28/04/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Under normal light, the South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) sports a muted palette of greens, yellows and reds. But dim the lights and switch on ultraviolet illumination, and this little amphibian gives off a bright … Read More

Biology – Australasian Grebe

24/03/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Like most grebes, the Australasian grebe is a poor flier and even worse on land due to its short wings and its legs being placed far back on its body. Grebes have large feet with flat rounded “lobate” … Read More

Biology – Mole

24/02/2019 |

Darrell Mann

Despite the havoc they’ve managed to wreak in my vegetable garden this summer, I still maintain a sneaking admiration of moles. Weighing about 100g and having a length of about 12cm, they somehow manage to burrow their way … Read More

Biology – Hedgehog

27/01/2019 |

Darrell Mann

We love hedgehogs here at SI HQ. Despite the fact that helping to feed them can get expensive when a family of twenty-plus taking refuge in our garden decide they like only the best cat food, and only … Read More

Biology – Cordyceps

23/12/2018 |

Darrell Mann

So, picture this. You’re a lowly fungus, Cordyceps, and you’re looking to make lovely Cordyceps descendants, as is Nature’s way. The only problem is that you’re tiny and you live in low places, so your ability to spread … Read More

Biology – Arctic Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus parryii or Urocitellus parryii)

14/11/2018 |

Darrell Mann

Every September arctic ground squirrels in Alaska, Canada and Siberia retreat into burrows more than a meter beneath the tundra, curl up in nests built from grass, lichen and caribou hair, and begin to hibernate. As their lungs … Read More

Biology – Sea Slug (Elysia chlorotica)

31/10/2018 |

Darrell Mann

In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a Northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study recently published by scientists at … Read More

Biology – Sleeping Chironomid (Polypedilum vanderplanki)

23/09/2018 |

Darrell Mann

Polypedilum vanderplanki or the sleeping chironomid, is a dipteran in the family Chironomidae (non-biting midges). It occurs in the semi-arid regions of the African continent (e.g. northern Nigeria and Uganda). Its larvae are found in small tubular nests … Read More

Biology – Parrot Fish

26/08/2018 |

Darrell Mann

Viewers of Blue Planet 2 were treated to the spectacle of parrotfish eating stony coral, only for it to emerge the other end as sand. Through this process, a single parrotfish can produce around 400 kilograms of sand … Read More

Biology – Hummingbird

29/07/2018 |

Darrell Mann

The sight of a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of a flower and then darting to another with lightning speed amazes and delights. But it also leaves watchers with a persistent question: How do they do it?

Now, … Read More

Biology – Jewel Wasp

24/06/2018 |

Darrell Mann

Female parastic wasp injects venom in fly pupa host

Amid the incredible diversity of living things on our planet, there is a common theme. Organisms need to acquire new genes, or change the functions of existing … Read More

Biology – Cuckoo Eggs

31/05/2018 |

Darrell Mann

The main attribute of the cuckoo is that it lays its eggs in other birds’ nests in order that other birds raise their offspring for them. We’ve mentioned this story in Issue 147 of the ezine. What we … Read More

Biology – Fox Squirrel

24/04/2018 |

Darrell Mann

Fox squirrels are a lot more organized than we thought—storing their stashes of nuts by variety, quality, and possibly even by preference.

A new study is the first to show evidence that squirrels arrange their bounty—at least 3,000 … Read More