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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: Country Ants Go to Town
1 April 2010 3:12 pm
In North American forests, odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile ) lead quiet lives. The insects—called "odorous" because they smell like a piña colada when crushed—make their homes in hollow acorns and form simple colonies of 50 to 100 workers beneath the sway of a single queen. But as soon as they move on up to cities and suburbs, these mild-mannered ants live large, exploding into complex supercolonies of more than 5 million workers and thousands of queens. The insects also begin to act like an invasive species, robbing other ant species of resources and raiding buildings for food, researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Biological Invasions. Future studies will focus on the odorous ant's genetics, in hopes of learning why urban life turns it into such a swarming bully—and how to stop it.