The Strange Symbiosis Between Sloths and Moths

Once a week, three-toed sloths slowly descend from the leafy forest canopy to poop on the ground. Why do these sluggish mammals go on such a long and potentially dangerous journey instead of just letting it fly from the treetops? Scientists now believe the answer has to do with the odd, symbiotic relationship between… » 1/23/14 8:00am 1/23/14 8:00am

Happy Monday. Have some moth "protuberances."

Above: A moth, shown here deploying its "relatively large protuberances." Just imagine those things wriggling their way up your nostrils and tickling the backs of your eyeballs. » 12/16/13 6:20am 12/16/13 6:20am

The entire alphabet, photographed on butterfly wings

Nature photographer Kjell Bloch Sandved has amassed a massive collection of butterfly and moth wings, capturing a host of unusual patterns. Using those patterns, he has assembled entire butterfly alphabets. » 11/16/13 11:30am 11/16/13 11:30am

We have absolutely no clue what built this crazy-complex structure

It's incredible, really. It features a central spire and an encircling picket-fence that's been reinforced by horizontal rails, and is strung together by a series of radially oriented guy wires. An impressive edifice at any scale, the structure measures less than 2 cm across. And here's the real kicker: nobody knows… » 9/03/13 8:00am 9/03/13 8:00am

Which animal can hear the highest-pitched sounds?

As anyone with a dog whistle knows, the range of human hearing is hardly anything to get excited about. But when it comes to picking up extremely high frequencies, there’s one particular creature that even dogs can’t compete with. » 5/09/13 1:20pm 5/09/13 1:20pm

This incredible photograph captures the swirling, twirling trails left…

Photographer Steve Irvine captured the ephemeral movements of moths drawn to a floodlight. He took a 20-second exposure as hundreds of insects beat their way to the lights dotting an Ontario lawn, photographing just a few trails out of the entire swarm. That photo found the unexpected beauty in their hurried flights… » 9/01/12 10:30am 9/01/12 10:30am

This optical illusion can trick the eyes of almost all living things

Here's an optical illusion that can confuse pretty much any creature with eyes. It's a simple trick caused by a quirk in the way many animals (including humans) see contrasts. And it may explain the old adage of moths being drawn to flames. » 5/23/12 8:00am 5/23/12 8:00am

David Attenborough looks tiny beside the world's biggest moth

And with good reason. Sure, this Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) may be looming in the foreground of the photograph, but at close to a foot across, its wingspan is bigger than Attenborough's entire face no matter where it's positioned. That's pretty impressive for an organism with an adult lifespan of less than two weeks (… » 3/07/12 9:40am 3/07/12 9:40am

High-speed video reveals the surprising beauty of moth flight

If asked to describe a moth's flight, I doubt many of us would use an adjective like "graceful." Neurotic? Yes. Flap-happy? Absolutely. But years of watching moths careen headlong into patio lights and bug lamps have left most of us with a decidedly unremarkable impression of these bugs' flying abilities. » 2/01/12 9:20am 2/01/12 9:20am