Photograph via snooOG

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The hindwings and abdomen of the death's-head hawkmoth resemble a queen honeybee. They use this disguise to raid hives to steal honey. The disguise is not only visual, they also make some sounds and odors to deceive the bees.

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16:21 UTC


Science Summary (monthly overview)

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09:52 UTC


Monthly Science Summary

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17:39 UTC


Spotted lanternflies are an invasive species to North American, first discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. They are planthoppers and related to cicadas and aphids. Lanternflies suck the sap from plants and are an agricultural pest, harming orchards, vienyards, and even home gardens.

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Science Summary for last month

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Last month in science

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14:19 UTC


It's fledgling season! Here are a few tips in case you come across a baby bird on the ground.

Ecologist here! It's that time of year again when the ground is covered in baby birds, some should be there and some should not. So here are a few tips so you know when to intervene and when to leave them alone.

If you find a baby bird on the ground the first thing to do is check for injuries. Baby birds can look pretty weak, but if you don't see any blood or obvious damage then it's fine. If it is injured do not try to take it home and nurse it back to health, birds require specific diets and handling and even most of them don't make it when cared for by their parents let alone an unequipped human. Please call a wildlife rehabber.

The second thing to check for is age:

If it hasn't opened its eyes yet and is mostly pink and featherless it's a hatchling (0-3 days old). Hatchlings should not be out of the nest. If you see a hatchling and the nest it fell out of you can try to put it back in (that old wive's tale about birds not taking care of chicks touched by humans is false). If you can't see the nest you can make your own out of a small container lined with soft material then attach it to a tree or bush as high as you can. If it looks like the parents are not caring for it after an hour or so call a local wildlife rehabber to come get the hatchling. If the bird is invasive, a starling or house sparrow for example (invasive in the Americas and other parts of the world, they are native to Europe and important parts of ecosystems in their native range), a lot of rehabbers euthenize them.

If its eyes are open and it's got a few spikey (pin) feathers it's a nestling (3-13 days old) and also not ready to leave the nest. Please adhere to the advice above about hatchlings.

If its eyes are open and its fully feathered, hopping around, maybe a little fluffy, short tail, its a fledgling (13+ days old). Leave these cuties alone! They are working on flying and probably exhausted and in need of rest before they take off again. Their parents are around, even if you cannot locate them, and are feeding this little guy or gal. No need to call anyone or do anything unless it is injured. If it is in the street and might get hit by a car you can herd them to the side of the road or under a bush. The parents will find it.

I know everyone means well and it's hard to look at a baby bird and not want to do anything. But you only need to worry about the hatchlings and nestlings or an injured fledgling.

Quick Note - Some birds are ground nesters so they will be on the ground no matter what, but the chances of you finding a ground nesting bird is not very high. If you're in the U.S. Killdeer, ovenbirds, bobolinks, swans, ducks, geese, etc. all nest on the ground and their chicks will be there in all their forms. Shorebirds also nest on the ground, so if you're at the beach you'll see plover, sanderlings, and other wading birds. This post is really for folks finding non-ground nesting birds in urban and suburban areas.

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Happy Mother's Day! Earwig moms exhibit parental care, tendng to their eggs and young. These mommas are so intense that if you give them eggs that are not theirs they will also take good care of them as well. Once the eggs hatch, in about a week, she then tends to the nymphs.

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20:51 UTC


Female elephant mosquitoes (Toxorhynchites spp.) do not need a blood meal to lay eggs! As larvae they prey upon other larval mosquitoes and get enough protein to produce eggs as adults. Adults are pollinators and feed on nectar and other sugars.

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22:27 UTC


Chemicals on ants' feet tranquilise and subdue colonies of aphids, keeping them close-by as a ready source of food. The aphids produce a sugary substance called honeydew as a waste product, which ants love to eat!

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15:19 UTC


Ants enjoying this Queen Anne's Lace. The flowers are so shallow the nectar at their base is easy to reach, even for little ant mouths.

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13:49 UTC


Despite its name, the crabeater seal does not feed on crabs. Rather, it is a specialist predator on Antarctic krill. In fact, their finely lobed teeth are adapted to filtering their small crustacean prey.

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Science Summary for last month

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18:04 UTC


The caterpillar form of Citheronia phoronea, a species of royal moth, is harmless but uses long spiny protrusions to deter predators.

1 Comment
14:57 UTC

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