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Archive for July, 2009

An interesting theory for the evolution of flowering plants, but fails to include any mention of pollinating insects (Hopefully the original research article does). Mammals get a mention though!

The great explosion in flowering plants during the Cretaceous Period is one of the great enigmas of evolution.

Charles Darwin had no explanation, calling it an “abominable mystery”.

But now scientists think they have solved the riddle of how flowers came to dominate the conifers and ferns that preceded them.

The flowers’ secret, they say, was to exploit a change in soil fertility, and create a feedback loop that allowed new flowers to feed off dead ones.

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BBC

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A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.

Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.

The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

What’s more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together.

Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) were once native to South America. But people have unintentionally introduced the ants to all continents except Antarctica.

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BBC – Earth News

Myrmecos Blog has further info about the ant and tips on how to identify it.

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Honeybee hordes use two weapons – heat and carbon dioxide – to kill their natural enemies, giant hornets.

Japanese honeybees form “bee balls” – mobbing and smothering the predators.

This has previously been referred to as “heat-balling”, but a study has now shown that carbon dioxide also plays a role in its lethal effectiveness.

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BBC

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