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Cicadas with the fungus Photo: Matt Kasson, via NPR
By now, if you live in the East or Midwest, you have seen the Brood X Cicadas everywhere — doing what they do, emerging from the ground, shedding their skin, mating, and then dying. But a few of them have a fungus called Massospora, which produces an amphetamine and that causes them to lose control and puts their mating behavior into hyperdrive. The details of what happens are even grosser — if you want to know, click here. Cicada expert Matt Kasson of West Virginia University, explained it this way to NPR’s All Things Considered, saying “Everybody’s having a good time while they’re infected. So I don’t imagine there’s much pain — maybe a desire to listen to the Grateful Dead or something like that, but no pain.” LOL — Cicadas, keep Truckin’.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Almost 1,000 of Florida’s manatees have died as of Oct.1 this year, setting a tragic record for the most deaths in a year, with two months left to go. Deaths were largely caused by starvation — the predator-less sea cows typically spend hours a day eating seagrass, but declining […]
Do you have a good eye? Are you surprisingly good at Where’s Waldo and like Walruses? If so, we have great opportunity for you! The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is seeking volunteers to help count Atlantic walruses…from space. Sea ice is retreating fast as global temperatures rise, forcing walruses to crowd on smaller floes […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
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