science
Backpacking Researchers Accidentally Discover Grasshopper-Eating Wolf

Some of the most serendipitous discoveries about nature can be prompted by just about anything, like finding the first known venomous frog by accidentally grabbing the business end of one, or revealing a new owl species by eavesdropping on its unplaceable hooting. Or, perhaps, you might stumble upon a really weird turd. Read More >>

birds
Not Even a Fire-Loving Bird Can Handle Climate Change’s Heat

Fire is central in the world of black-backed woodpeckers, to the point that the birds pick cavities in recently burned trees to make their nests. But new research suggests that even these fire enthusiasts aren’t able to handle the inferno climate change is already dishing out. Read More >>

environment
‘Ghost’ Fishing Gear Is a Bigger Threat to Sharks Than We Realised

Not even the oceans’ top predators can escape the ruinous embrace of humanity’s plastic waste, suggests new research. The study indicates that over recent decades, many hundreds of sharks have been reported falling victim to entanglement in fishing gear and other marine plastic debris. Read More >>

science
A Strange New Blend of Rock and Plastic Is Forming on a Portuguese Island

If you go to the beach, you’re likely to see some form of plastic pollution scattered in the waves or sprinkled among the sand grains. A bottle cap fragment here, a transparent piece of packaging there. But researchers have identified a new, and perhaps more permanent type of plastic pollution, one that incorporates itself right into the rocky shoreline: 'plasticrust', a veneer of plastic encrusted right onto wave-licked rocks. Read More >>

science
Penis-Shaped, Wood-Munching Clams Are More Diverse Than We Thought, Study Finds

Wood-boring clams don’t look like the ones you or I might find steamed with pasta. They’re smaller than a pea, and live exclusively in the deep ocean, tunnelling into sunken, waterlogged trees that were swept out to sea long ago to eat the wood. Now, scientists have determined that there are quite a few more groups of these bizarre molluscs than we thought. Read More >>

animals
World’s Biggest Bee, Once Thought Extinct, Has Been Found Alive

A black, thumb-sized missile sails through the jungle air, a thunderous buzzing announcing its arrival. The massive insect lands heavily on a tree-bound termite nest, taking a moment to fold its brassy wings and stretch its humongous, curved jaws. This is Wallace’s giant bee, the beefiest and bumbliest bee on Earth. After going missing for nearly four decades, the species has just been rediscovered in its native Indonesia. Read More >>

science
New Tarantula Species Has Big, Weird, Floppy Horn

Tarantulas generally stick to a pretty predictable body plan – eight legs, long fangs, usually fuzzy. But a newly-described species of tarantula in the southern African country of Angola has thrown scientists a big curve ball. The tarantula is about as weird as it gets for spiders, sporting a long, pliable, droopy “horn” on its back, and no one’s sure what it’s even for. Read More >>

science
Newly Discovered Gecko Species Is Extremely Good at Being a Leaf

As night falls on the lowland rainforests in Madagascar, dead, decaying leaves find new life, slowly unfurling in the vanishing light. But as four scaly feet and wide, unblinking eyes emerge from behind the crinkly veil, the leaves reveal their true identities: these are leaf-tailed geckos, unparalleled masters of disguise. Now, researchers have described a species of these secretive lizards totally new to science, discovered in a protected corner of the island. Read More >>

animals
Mysterious Shark Species Discovered in Museum Collection May Already Be Extinct

It’s a new year, and the world has its first new species of shark in 2019. Meet Carcharhinus obsolerus! Though, it’d be wise to temper your expectations if you hope to see the newly-described species in the wild. The unique shark—described based on a few specimens caught many decades ago—may actually be extinct, gone before it was ever named. Read More >>

science
The Scientists Who Brave Angry Hawk Parents, Wasps and 80-Foot-Falls to Save Endangered Chicks

Life is hard for Ridgway’s hawks, a species found only in a small sliver of habitat on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Once found all over the island, the hawks have steadily declined due to local humans killing them and clearing their forest habitat. If that weren’t enough, their chicks are threatened by botflies, whose larvae burrow into the young birds’ skin, consuming them from within. Read More >>

science
Nearly Mythical 3-Foot-Long Swamp Salamander Is Officially a Real Species

What has two short, chunky arms, a mane of feathery gills, and a sleek, green-marbled, eel-like body as long as your leg? No guesses? Meet the reticulated siren, a massive, two and a half foot-long salamander, described for the first time in a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, hailing from the remote, secluded wilds of *checks notes* southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Read More >>

science
There Are More Tiger Types Than We Thought, New Genetic Analysis Reveals 

Tigers seem pretty straightforward: stripes, sharp claws, awe-inspiring grace wielded by hundreds of pounds of rippling muscle, etc. But new research on the big cats’ DNA is the latest indication that underneath that striking orange and black pelage, not all tigers are the same. Scientists are now reporting that tigers are broken up into six distinct subspecies spread out across Asia. Read More >>

science
Mysterious New Plant Discovered in Museum Collection Is Probably Already Extinct

It took a little while, but a tiny, delicate plant found in Japan 26 years ago has been formally classified as a new species. But after residing in a museum collection since the early 1990s, the single specimen of Thismia kobensis remains the only one ever found. Tragically, this means the so-called “fairy lantern” may already be extinct. Read More >>

conservation
Beautiful New Andean Hummingbird Is Already Critically Endangered

High in the Ecuadorian Andes, a stunningly beautiful species of hummingbird—decorated with a flashy, sapphire throat—has revealed itself to science for the first time. But scientists fear it’s already perilously close to extinction. Read More >>

social media
Social Media Might Not Ruin Nature, After All

Once pristine natural places become Instagram famous, everything changes. Lonely trails clog with hikers; empty forest pools fill with swimmers. Some have argued that the meshing of social media with the outdoors could cause locations to be loved to death, or even fundamentally taint outdoor recreation itself. Read More >>