RESEARCH: Ant numbers – how many Ants are there in the world?

The number of humans in the world is about 8 billion. But how many ants are there? 

Entomologists (insect scientists) from the University of Wurzburg in Germany and the University of Hong Kong published their findings of global ant populations in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in September 2022.

The entomologists studied 489 research papers about ant populations. 

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You Are What You Eat: Why the Flamingo is Pink

People often say “You are what you eat.” What does this phrase mean? It means that the food you eat makes a difference to your health. The phrase began in 1826 when French lawyer Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote it, but it became more popular in America from 1923 when it appeared in the Bridgeport Telegraph newspaper.

The phrase is generally not used for animals. However, for the Flamingo it is true, and that is why the Flamingo is pink.

The Flamingo has orange-pink feathers. The orange-pink colour comes from the food it eats. 

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Red-Veined Darter

The Red-Veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is an insect in the Libelludlidae family of dragonflies. It is also known as the Nomad Darter.

The male Red-Veined Darter has a deep-red abdomen with a red-brown thorax. Its eyes are brown above and blue-green below. Its wings have red veins and the base of its hind-wings (back wings) is yellow. The female is similar, but her abdomen is yellow-brown with two black lines along each side. Her wings have yellow veins. Both the male and female have black legs with some yellow markings.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Small Common Blue Butterfly

The Small Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.

The Small Common Blue male has iridescent blue wings above with a thin, black-brown border and white fringe. The female is brown above with blue flecks, like dust, and orange spots. Both the male and the female have a row of red or orange spots along the edge of the hindwing (back wing). 

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Wild tiger population in Nepal is increasing

The wild tiger population in Nepal is increasing due to a program to prevent its extinction. There are now three times more wild tigers in Nepal than there were in 2009, according to the Nepalese government.

In 2009, the Nepal National Tiger and Prey Survey found that there were only 187 wild tigers in Nepal. This year’s 2022 survey found that there are now 355 wild tigers in the country, which is an increase of 190% since 2009.

The low numbers of wild tigers in Nepal in 2009 were due to poaching for the illegal animal trade and loss of habitat. At the St. Petersburg International summit on tiger conservation in 2010, governments of 10 countries with wild tigers set a goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president for wildlife conservation of the United States World Wildlife Fund (WWF). 

In collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Nepalese government initiated a conservation program in 2010 to save the wild tigers.

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How do Woodpeckers identify each other?

How do Woodpeckers identify each other?

In addition to sight, bird species identify each other through their songs and calls. Birds of the same species can recognize who is calling and what the call means.

The Woodpecker is an arboreal (tree-living) bird in the Picidae family of piculets, wrynecks, woodpeckers, and sapsuckers.

The Woodpecker does not have as wide a range of songs as songbirds, called passerines. However, it does have a range of calls and noises to communicate with other Woodpeckers. It makes simpler noises, such as brief trills, twitters, and whistles. Therefore, it uses another method to identify each other.

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RESEARCH: Three factors why big-eyed frogs have big eyes

In September 2020, the New Scientist magazine reported on research to determine why frogs have evolved big eyes. 

Some frogs have the biggest eyes of all vertebrates (animals with backbones), in relation to their body size, and zoologists did not know why. Now researchers have found that the size of the eyes of these vertebrates seems to depend upon their environment.

Eyesight requires a lot of energy to function – focusing, adjusting peripheral vision, calculating distance, determing what the object is, and so on. There is a lot of things the eye must do quickly to ‘see’ what is in front and around it. Scientists think this is why animals living in dark environments, such as caves, often evolve to have smaller eyes.

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Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Domesticated animals are those that have been tamed and bred by humans. Humans began keeping animals as companion pets (such as cats and dogs), work animals (such as horses, donkeys, and camels to carry things), and livestock (such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats for food and skin, fur, or wool). 

It is not easy to tell exactly when different species of animals were domesticated. Domestication occurred gradually, so there is no exact moment in history.

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Anna’s Hummingbird

The Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) is a medium-sized bird in the Trochilidae family of hummingbirds.

The Anna’s Hummingbird has iridescent bronze-green feathers on its back, with a pale-grey chest and belly, and green sides. The adult male has an iridescent crimson-red to reddish-pink crown. Its tail is dark and slightly forked. It has a long, thin, straight beak. The female is also iridescent, but not as brilliant as the male. She has a dull-green crown. 

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What is an autotroph and a heterotroph?

What is an autotroph and a heterotroph?

An autotroph is an organism that produces its own food. It is also called a producer. 

An autotroph produces (makes) its own carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. To make its own food, it uses light, water, carbon dioxide, or other chemicals. Therefore, an autotroph can use carbon dioxide (CO2) and water to form oxygen and complex organic compounds, mainly through the process of photosynthesis.  

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What is stomach acid?

What is stomach acid?

Doctors at Healthline say that human stomach acid is a watery, colourless fluid (liquid) produced by the lining of the stomach. It is also called gastric acid. 

Stomach acid helps to break down food so that it can be digested. Food that is easier to digest makes it easier for the body to absorb nutrients from the food. 

Human stomach acid has to be strong so that it can break down meat and plant-based food, such as vegetables. Scientists classify humans as omnivores because humans mainly eat both meat and vegetables.

Animals also have stomach acid to help them digest food. Animals that eat only meat have higher levels of stomach acid than animals that eat only plants and vegetation. 

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