Bumblebees have tiny brains but extraordinarily sophisticated behavior. If you follow a bee as it forages for pollen and nectar, you’re likely to find that it specializes on only one type of flower. In this latest Nature Moments video, ecologist Patty Jones explains that bees’ choices are influenced by plant chemicals and the behavior of other bees.
Those holes, rips, folds and tubes that you find in leaves? They’re mainly the work of larval beetles, moths, flies, sawflies and other insects. In moderation, herbivory is a sign of a healthy environment because it indicates that our native insects have not been decimated by pesticides or climate change.
In animals, stripes serve to provide camouflage or warn predators. At the scale of landscapes, stripes reveal differences among plants in animals in their ability to deal with difficult environments, predation, or competition for space, as marine biologist Amy Johnson explains. Look for stripes the next time you climb a mountain or visit the beach.
If you close your eyes on a breezy day, you can identify trees just by the rustle of their leaves. Are they singing to each other? For David G. Haskell, ecologist and author of The Songs of Trees, listening closely to the distinctive voices in a forest “can ignite our curiosity and get our minds into the lives of trees.”
You never know what you’re going to find inside a gob of spit in a meadow. If you’re lucky, it might be a young spittlebug. The “spit,” which is left over from feeding on plant sap, protects these harmless insects from predators and parasitic wasps.