Insects

In one piece of fossilized amber, a female spider was astonishingly preserved, clutching an egg sac filled with spiderling embryos nearly ready to hatch.

 

Female Spiders' Maternal Instincts Captured in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber

Four amber pieces are the earliest evidence of maternal care in spiders

Heavy metal-fortified mandibles help leafcutter ants save energy and muscle mass.

Heavy Metals Give Ants a Powerful Bite

A combination of metal atoms and natural proteins is the secret behind the super-strong jaws, claws and stingers of some tiny animals

Once fall armyworms attack, lawns can go from green to brown in less than 48 hours.

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Fall Armyworms Are Attacking Lawns and Crops on 'Unprecedented' Scale

These bug battalions turn grass yards from green to brown in less than 48 hours

Tardigrades use their claws like grappling hooks and pull their bodies forward to move.

Scientists Discover Tiny Tardigrades Trot Around Like Insects

The microscopic organism's gait may have evolved to adapt to unpredictable terrains

If you see this bug, officials want you to kill it. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can cause millions of dollars in damage to crops and forests.

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See a Spotted Lanternfly? Squash It, Officials Say

The invasive insect poses a huge threat to agriculture and trees in the Northeast United States

Officials located the nest after netting and tagging three hornets between August 11- 17. One of the hornets slipped out of the tracking device, another one was never found, but the third one led entomologists to the nest.

Entomologists Eradicated the First Asian Giant 'Murder' Hornet Nest of 2021

The hive was located just two miles from where officials found another nest in 2020

Asian paper wasp nests take on a new verdant glow under ultraviolet light.

Wasp Nest Glows Green Under UV Light

Silk fibers give the nest its radiant a neon hue

Mosquitoes are more than blood-sucking menaces. They also pollinate flowers, have intricate sex lives and eat other disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Smithsonian Voices

The Unexpected Beauty, Benefits and Diversity of the Mosquito, the World's Most Hated Insect

While some are a nuisance, others working as nighttime pollinators may be critically important to a functioning ecosystem

Earlier this summer, to keep the invasive insect contained, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced that they would set up 1,200 giant hornet traps across the state.

The First Living Asian Giant 'Murder' Hornet of 2021 Has Been Found in Washington State

The sighting was reported two miles from where officials found a nest in October 2020

A juvenile scarlet snake stuck in the web of a brown widow spider in Georgia.

New Research

In a Spider vs. Snake Battle, These 40 Arachnids Would Defeat and Devour Their Serpentine Foes

At least 40 arachnid species kill and eat certain slithering predators, which can be up to 30 times the eight-legged critters' size

The butterflies have experienced major losses in populations on both the East and West coasts.

Climate Change Is Decimating Monarch Populations, Research Shows

Western monarchs have lost 99.9 percent of their numbers since the 1980s

This is the 93-year-old Xerces blue butterfly specimen that researchers collected tissue samples from for this study.

New Research

This Butterfly Is the First U.S. Insect to Be Wiped Out by Humans

Genetic tests using museum specimens suggest that the Xerces blue was a distinct species and that it disappeared in 1941

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Smithsonian Voices

Scientists Award the Pygmy Sorrel Moth a Big Title

This minute species now holds the coveted title of world's smallest moth

There are about 160,000 species of moths and butterflies worldwide, each with unique characteristics.

Smithsonian Voices

Marvel at the World's Most Magnificent Moths

With thousands of species of moths worldwide, each with unique characteristics, check out these unusual specimens in the Smithsonian collections

The fuzz of the fingernail-sized rosy maple moth may remind you of a teddy bear.

These Moths Are So Gorgeous They 'Put Butterflies to Shame'

To celebrate National Moth Week, bask in the beautiful variety of these oft-overlooked insects

Next, the Entomological Society’s Better Common Names project will put together working groups that include experts who study the species and people from the insect’s native regions to decide on a new name.

These Moths Will Be Renamed to Stop Use of an Ethnic Slur

The Entomological Society of America is taking suggestions to rename the insect previously called the 'gypsy moth'

Globally, there are about 3,000 species of dragonflies inhabiting freshwater habitats. Each species has a unique color along their bodies or wings that helps them camouflage into their surroundings, attract mates, intimidate rivals and ward off predators. (A male twelve spotted skimmer 
Libellula pulchellapictured)

Warmer Climate May Cause Male Dragonflies to Lose Their Patchy Wings

Dark spots on the insect's wings can cause them to overheat. But as they lose them to adapt to climate change, potential mates may not recognize them

In total, there are 3,200 species of water scavenger beetles belonging to the family Hydrophilidae. These beetles have previously been known to use tiny hairs lining their abdomens and legs to trap air bubbles.

New Research

Some Bugs Walk on Water, but This Talented Beetle Scurries Underneath Its Surface

The aquatic critter may use bubbles to stay inverted

Scientists reconstructed a new beetle species in 3-D thanks to X-ray scans of fossilized poop.

New Species of Beetle Found in 230-Million-Year-Old Feces

The insect is older than any amber-encased specimen, and may inspire scientists to look for more insects in fossilized dung

Fire ant swarms form tentacles when they float on water.

Floating Fire Ant Rafts Form Mesmerizing Amoeba-Like Shapes

Researchers say the morphing colonies help ants feel for solid land in a flooded environment—and might inspire swarming robots one day

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