Swallowed Bombardier Beetles Spew Hot Chemicals From Their Butts to Make Predators Barf

These crafty bombardier beetles are able to escape after being swallowed by toads, which they do by ejecting hot, noxious chemicals that forces the predator to barf. It ain’t pretty, but it works. Read More >>

For Fish Penises, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

When it comes to reproduction, most fish are external fertilisers, crop dusting eggs in a cloud of sperm. But swordtails (Xiphophorus) aren’t like most fish. These fish fertilise eggs internally and “give birth” to live young. To help this whole operation, males have evolved external genitalia for transferring sperm—a tool not typical among fish. Naturally, the next question would be—for swordtails at least—is bigger better? After all, they went through all the trouble of evolving penises in the first place. New research on the matter of female swordtail preferences towards their males’ members provides an answer: not necessarily. Yes, size is important, but so is how the males use it—and only when females are healthy enough to be in a discerning position. Read More >>

Dozens of Octopuses Crawl Ashore Along Welsh Coast: ‘It Was a Bit Like an End of Days Scenario’

For three consecutive nights, troves of octopuses have been seen walking out of the sea and stranding themselves along several beaches in Wales. Experts say the unusual behaviour may have something to do with recent storms that swept through the region. Read More >>

When Male Ducks Hang Out Together Their Penises Get Longer

Male ducks have some of the weirdest junk in nature—a ludicrously long, corkscrew-shaped member that evolved on account of an ongoing battle of the sexes. New research shows that the social environment in which the male duck finds himself in has a pronounced effect on the length of his penis, a finding that may finally put the “size matters” debate to rest. For ducks. Read More >>

How the Dragonfly’s Surprisingly Complex Brain Makes it a Deadly Hunter

Like a baseball player running to make a catch, dragonflies are also capable of predicting the trajectory of a moving object, typically its next meal. New research is revealing the mechanisms behind this complex cognitive task, which was once thought to be exclusive to mammals. It’s hoped that these insights will lead to innovations in robot vision. Read More >>

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Brutal Drone Footage Shows a Pod of Orcas Attacking a Minke Whale

As apex predators, orcas can prey on whichever marine animal they choose—large or small. During a recent expedition off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, scientists captured rare footage of orcas attacking a 40-foot-long minke whale. Read More >>

Rotting Wildebeest Carcasses Are a Force of Nature in the Serengeti

Each year, thousands of wildebeest drown while making their annual migration through the Serengeti. New research shows how the resulting two million pounds of rotting flesh performs a crucial role in maintaining the region’s vibrant ecosystem. Read More >>

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Watching a Banana Slug Munch a Bunch of Salad Greens Will Soothe Your Soul

Banana slugs are slow. Like, ridiculously slow. Watching them eat is tantamount to watching paint dry, which is why Canadian photographer R. Jeanette Martin wisely set her phone to record in timelapse mode when she encountered a particularly hungry mollusc in her garden. Read More >>

Pigeons Are Misunderstood Mermaids

Most city dwellers would agree that pigeons are sentient rubbish. They eat pizza off the ground and defecate with abandon, sometimes on pedestrians’ heads. Worst of all, they don’t seem terribly bothered by humans—they’ll flap their filthy wings in our faces and move on as if nothing happened. But yesterday just so happened to be Pigeon Appreciation Day (yes, really) so we’re giving them a little extra love. Like a diamond in the rough—or the chip at the bottom of the bin—it’s entirely possible these creatures have some kind of hidden goodness. Maybe. Read More >>

Pufferfish Have Some Very Intricate Sex Rituals

Many animals’ mating rituals can be pretty elaborate, and some are borderline disturbing. For pufferfish, the lead up is so stupidly intricate that it’s exhausting and just kind of sad. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be appreciated, so today, we’re celebrating the indefatigable pufferfish and its bizarre sexual habits. Read More >>

Baby Humpback Whales Whisper to Their Moms Because the Ocean Is Terrifying

The ocean is dark and full of terrors — including hungry orcas, and horny men looking to bang your mum, if you’re a baby humpback whale. And so, you keep your voice to a whisper to avoid these predatory eavesdroppers. Read More >>

Soldier Ants Come to the Rescue of Wounded Comrades

In a behaviour never seen before in an insect species, predatory ants were observed to retrieve wounded comrades on the battlefield and then bring them back to the nest for recovery. Sounds noble, but these ants — who spend their days attacking termites — are simply being pragmatic. Read More >>

These Sea Urchins Have a Terrifying Self-Defence Strategy

Prey animals are capable of defending themselves in an amazing of ways, but when it comes to mounting a sophisticated biological counter-attack, sea urchins have taken it to another level. When attacked by predatory fish, these humble echinoderms release a hostile cloud of tiny jaws that act independently of the urchin itself, attacking the fish and releasing the venom contained within them. Read More >>

This Poor Cretaceous Damselfly Has Been Waiting 100 Million Years to Get Laid

Scientists in China have discovered male damselflies caught in the act of trying to court females inside a piece of 100-million-year old amber. It’s an extremely rare find, providing a glimpse of insectoid peacocking behaviour during the age of dinosaurs. Read More >>