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Photo: Mite Attacking Ant Entombed in Amber, Oldest Fossil of Its Kind

An ancient ant with a mite attached to its head is the oldest such fossil ever found, a new study says.

Researchers Discover “Bizarre” Jurassic Insect With Giant Sucker

Scientists have discovered a “bizarre” parasite from the Jurassic era that really sucked. An international team of researchers recently described this 165-million-year-old fossilized fly larvae that they found in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in northeastern China once studded with volcanoes and freshwater lakes. They named the species Qiyia jurassica (“Qiyia” is derived from the Chinese word for “strange”),…

Crickets Lose Ability to Sing: “Evolution in Action”

Ten years ago, some male crickets in Hawaii began to fall mysteriously silent, and now scientists have discovered why.

Wasp Bores Into Fruit With Metallic “Drill Bit”

The female fig wasp has a built-in power tool: An appendage that’s thinner than a human hair and tipped with zinc, a new study reveals.

5 of Nature’s Weirdest Tongues

Miley’s tongue has nothing on the animal world when it comes to waggle and weirdness. Get a taste of nature’s coolest tongues.

Botfly Invasion: Why Parasites Pop Out of Animals’ Skin

Learn more about the botfly, an invasive parasite that infects squirrels and other animals every fall.

Nature’s Walking Dead: Real-Life “Zombies”

With Halloween coming up, we thought we’d take a look at real-life “zombies”—and how they get that way.

Enemies With Benefits: How Parasitic Ants Protect Their Hosts

What might be the best-titled research paper of the year comes to us courtesy of researchers at the University of Copenhagen, an investigation entitled “Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies.” Have you got your popcorn ready? It’s a tale of three species. We begin with a fungus-growing ant called Sericomyrmex amabilis found in the tropical…

Tapeworm Eggs Found in Ancient Shark Feces

A cluster of tapeworm eggs have been discovered in 270 million-year-old fossilized shark feces, suggesting that the intestinal parasites are much older than previously thought.

Plant’s “Call for Help” Brings Enemies, Too

When a caterpillar munches on a plant, its ‘call for help’ actually brings more guests to the table than expected, a new study says.

Hairy Skin May Keep the Bedbugs From Biting

Time to throw out your razor? A new study indicates that having hairier skin may help a person ward off bedbugs.

Guinea Worm in retreat in southern Sudan

This post is part of a special National Geographic news series on global water issues. Decades of civil war in southern Sudan have hindered the population’s access to clean water and allowed some parasites to persist. But international efforts have made headway on one particular scourge: the Guinea worm. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has…

Video: Beware the botfly

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media A New York Times story yesterday brought this video to our attention, which we found both fascinating and disturbing. Wildlife filmmaker Vanessa Serrao returned from Belize with a special souvenir after she was bit on the head by a mosquito carrying a botfly egg, according to reporting…

Sex Evolved as an Escape From Parasites, Study Suggests

Why is sex the dominant form of reproduction on the planet? Scientists think they know why–and it all has to do with evasion of parasites. NGS photo of elephants mating by Michael Nichols Sex may have evolved in part as a defense against parasites, an article published in the July issue of the academic journal…