How insects decide to grow up

Like humans, insects go through puberty. The process is known as metamorphosis. Examples include caterpillars turning into butterflies and maggots turning into flies according to Science daily.

But, it has been a long-standing mystery as to what internal mechanisms control how insects go through metamorphosis and why it is irreversible.

Now, a team of scientists, has solved the mystery. They also believe the findings, could be applied to mammals, including humans.

Seeds offer clue to domesticated plants' larger size

The seeds of domesticated plants could offer clues as to why cultivated crops are larger than their wild cousins, researchers have suggested according to BBC.

Increased size is common among domesticated plants but the reason for increased growth is little understood.

The increase in the biomass is of interest to plant breeders as it could affect productivity, such as reducing grain yields, they added.

A team of researchers investigated the traits that were responsible for the difference in size.

Comparing and contrasting various factors, such as biomass, leaf size and photosynthesis rates, the scientists were able to identify a number of characteristics that differed between domesticated plants and wild varieties.

They reported that domestication generally increased the above-ground biomass. The added that the domesticated specimens invested less in leaves and more in stems than their wild counterparts.

Ants use Sun and memories to navigate

Ants are even more impressive at navigating than we thought.

Scientists say they can follow a compass route, regardless of the direction in which they are facing according to BBC.

It is the equivalent of trying to find your way home while walking backwards or even spinning round and round.

Experiments suggest ants keep to the right path by plotting the Sun's position in the sky which they combine with visual information about their surroundings.

Tiny fruit flies use cold hard logic to select mates

Fruit flies -- the tiny insects that swarm our kitchens over the summer months -- exhibit rational decision making when selecting mates, according to  Science daily.

Researchers observed different combinations of fruit flies mate about 2,700 times, and were surprised to discover that male flies almost always pick the female mate that would produce the most offspring.

"The cognitive process of making rational choices is something we often think of as uniquely human," said zoologist Devin Arbuthnott.

How to be winner in the game of evolution

A new study helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life according to Science daily.

For millennia, humans have marveled at the seemingly boundless variety and diversity of animals inhabiting the Earth. So far, biologists have described and catalogued about 1.5 million animal species, a number that many think might be eclipsed by the number of species still awaiting discovery.