Vast Variety of Insects is Inspiration for Upcoming Episode of "Life"


Photo by Thomas Shahan

We love our insects! There is a huge variety of bugs across the planet, and they're masters of adaptation. That's the inspiration for an upcoming episode of Life on Discovery Channel this Sunday, April 11 at 9 PM. We're excited to watch the episode, which shows off everything from weird mating quirks to incredible migrations. And it got us thinking about some of the more amazing news stories and photos we've seen about bugs lately. Check out some incredible up-close photography and the double-take-inducing stories after the jump. Photos you don't want to miss:
Bugs in Pictures: Incredible Insect Macro Photography - The photos in this slideshow by Thomas Shahan made such a splash after we published it that the Today Show got ahold of him for an interview. It really is amazing how vibrant insects are, and Shahan captures it beautifully.

Sleeping Insects Covered in Dew Drops - Crazy Cool Macro Bug Photos from Miroslaw Swietek - Equally as amazing is a new photographer who has just caught our eye - Miroslaw Swietek, who captures bugs in the early morning when they're still snoozing and covered in dew - it is nothing short of mind-bogglingly cool.

Strange and Cool Recent News on Bugs
Sexier Sterile Insects for Improved Organic Pest Control
One method to replace pesticides relies on release of sterilized insects. Females that breed with the sterilized fellows fail to lay eggs, and the population trends downward.

Insect Sperm Battle Inside Colony Queens
When an insect queen ventures onto the mating scene, she certainly makes the most of it, coupling with as many as 90 males each half-hour. That's because during the mating process for "social insects" like ants, bees, and termites, the highly prized queens mate for just one day, collecting enough sperm in that short period of time to last a lifetime. But for males, the contest to get some 'alone time' with the queen can be fierce--and new research is revealing that the battle to reproduce continues long after the deed is done.

Migrating Insects Use Wind to Travel Efficiently at Speeds of up to 60 MPH
Science recently published a study titled "Flight Orientation Behaviors Promote Optimal Migration Trajectories in High-Flying Insects". It's about how migrating insects have evolved to take advantage very efficiently of high speed winds (while you're stuck in traffic, butterflies whiz by at up to 60 MPH, possibly more) to travel hundreds of miles in relatively short periods of time, all that while correcting for crosswinds taking them off-course, and expanding as little energy as possible. This made me wonder, in the spirit of biomimicry, what can we learn from that?

Life Episode Shows Off Amazing World of Bugs
The upcoming episode of Life shows how Darwin's Beetle battles, how Monarch butterflies migrate, how Dawson's burrowing bee makes it as a ground dweller, and more.

Check out details, take quizes, watch behind the scenes footage and get the scoop on earth's insects over at the episode guide.
More on Life on Discovery Channel
Life as You've Never Seen it on Planet Green
Creatures of the Deep a Focus for Upcoming Life Episode
Green Eyes On: LIFE, As Seen Through the Eyes of Discovery

Tags: Animals | Insects | Television

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