This moth supplements its diet with bird tears

In the forests of Brazil lives a moth that drinks tears of birds. It perches quietly at the back of an antbird at night – when the bird’s not very active – and uses its long, flexible proboscis to lap up its tears. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

*I’m not crying; there’s something in my eye*

You can read the story behind the video over at Science magazine.

Multimedia credits: Leandro Moraes

Caterpillar vs. Beetle: Who wins?

I have a new video story up at Science magazine about an amazing moth caterpillar that fights off things that try to eat it, including beetles that are called ‘caterpillar hunters’. Check it out, folks!

The accompanying short story is available to read here.

Multimedia credit: Shinji Sugiura

Sandfish stays sand-free

The sandfish lizard spends most of its life buried in the sand—emerging only to eat, poop, and mate. This lifestyle helps the lizard evade the sweltering desert heat in the Middle East and North Africa, but it causes another problem: inhaling sand particles. Yet when scientists looked into the respiratory tract and lungs of five dead lizards, they couldn’t find a single grain of sand. They couldn’t find an obvious filter in the lizard’s respiratory system, either.

Puzzled? So were the scientists. To know how they solved the mystery, go to Science.

Photo credit: Anna T. Stadler

Songbirds tap dance to seduce their mate

The blue-capped cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) has a special talent. Not only can it sing, it can shake a leg or two. For its courtship display, it holds a piece of nesting material in its beak, points its head upward, moves up and down, and sings. Both males and females bob and sing like this, and choose their partner…

Read the full story here at Science.

How Ant-Man ants got this Cheerio home

Study explains how wandering ants guide a group of food gatherers back to the nest.

When out of their nest, workers of the longhorn crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) band together toward a common goal: to bring food back to the nest. But even when a few of these long-legged, silver-haired ants (of Ant-Man fame) team up to carry a large item—such as a wasp—they often lose their way home.

Read the rest over at Science.

Exceptionally preserved 300-Myr-old fossil

Researchers have unearthed a fossil fish so well preserved, it still has traces of eye tissues.

What’s more, these fossil tissues reveal that the 300-million-year-old fish called Acanthodes bridgei (pictured), like its living relatives, possessed two types of photoreceptors called rods and cones—cells that make vision possible. This is the first time that mineralized rods and cones have been found conserved in a vertebrate fossil, the team reports online today in Nature Communications, as soft tissues of the eye normally begin to disintegrate within days of death.

Read the full story at Science magazine.

Photo credit: Tanaka et al., Nature Communications