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October 21, 2014

Are you an overweight shark having trouble saying no to second, third, and fourth helpings? Do you stay up late at night slamming squid juice after squid juice? Are you consumed by the constant desire to find, hunt, and devour prey in a way that has haters calling you an “eating machine” behind your back?

Well, do I have the thing for you—it’s called ...

October 7, 2014

What thrives in urban areas, sports an armored shell, and can cut through tree bark like a samurai’s sword? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? No way, dude. Allow me to introduce to you the gloomy scale insect. This mutant-like sap sipper is native to the American southeast, but it could become more common and deadly as the climate warms. And city trees could suffer mightily for it....

September 12, 2014

Coral is weird stuff. Reefs can stretch for miles, but the actual animal (yes, coral’s an animal) is pretty tiny—a single polyp attaching itself to other polyps to form massive undersea ecosystems. Coral have tentacles, mouths, and exoskeletons. Some look like...

July 23, 2014

I’m here to tell you about a weapon that could change the world. It’s small, inexpensive, and easy to conceal. Discharging it in public wouldn’t harm any living creature; it wouldn’t even land you in jail. What it would do, believe it or not, is save millions of lives.

Butterfly lives.

Brothers and sisters, I speak of the milkweed seed bomb: a golf-ball-size grenade of dirt, clay and seeds that might just help salvage one of the most magnificent—and, in recent...

March 6, 2014

Deserts make up 17 percent of the world’s landmass and are home to all sorts of endangered species. And yet, when was the last time you saw a bumper sticker demanding that we “Save the Scimitar-Horned Oryx”? That’s what I thought.

Jungle cats and pandas in misty, green forests get lots of attention (as they should), but a recent study published in A Journal of Conservation Biogeography...

February 26, 2014

Starfish are losing arms, developing white lesions, and disintegrating into piles of goo. Last summer, divers and scientists began reporting the fatal “melting” events up and down North America’s coasts—from British Columbia to southern California in the Pacific, and from New Jersey to Maine in the Atlantic. Though nobody knows what’s causing these die-offs, the plague does have a name:...

February 13, 2014

An undercover agent walked into a jewelry store office in Midtown Manhattan two years ago and discovered a ton of illegal ivory—an actual ton. The ivory was all that was left of more than 100 elephants slaughtered for their tusks. Considering that only three state wildlife investigators cover all of New York City, the sting was a lucky...

February 12, 2014

It’s hard not to love the tufted puffin. Just a little bigger than a football and not altogether different in shape, this bird’s bright orange beak and mad scientist-like tufts make it a standout on cliffs above the Pacific. Unlike their tuxedo-wearing Atlantic cousins, tufted puffins wear all black, but these pelagic punks are having a rough time on our western coastline.

In just 30 years, tufted puffin populations in Washington, Oregon, and California have plummeted as much as 90...

November 22, 2013

Unless you’ve been hiding in a swamp for the last few years, you’ve probably heard that the Florida Everglades has a python problem. Up to 100,000 invasive Burmese pythons dwell in the ‘Glades, and the rapacious reptiles have been eating so much native fauna that last year the state of Florida held a python-hunting contest—albeit one that...

November 19, 2013

UPDATE: In the 24 hours since OnEarth published this story, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it has discovered yet another red wolf shot dead in North Carolina (making a total of nine killed this year). The reward for information leading to an arrest stands at $26,000.

Authorities in North Carolina say they discovered another dead red wolf this week,...