nature, insects, new species, genetic analysis, 'walking leaves'
Photo credit: Florante A. Cruz / Wiki (CC BY-SA 4.0)

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Seven New ‘Walking Leaf’ Insect Species Discovered (Maria)

The author writes, “Seven new leaf insect species, known as ‘walking leaves,’ have been discovered. The insects exhibit a sophisticated ‘twigs and leaf-like’ camouflage allowing them to blend into their surroundings without detection, posing a challenge to both predators and researchers. Historically, taxonomy — the sorting and classification of species — has been difficult with insects that cannot be identified based on external appearance alone. The new study, published in the journal ZooKeys, used genetic analysis to identify the species. … The findings are important not only for the systematic study of leaf insects but also for the protection of their diversity.” 

Conservative Groups Draw Up Plan to Dismantle the US Government and Replace It With Trump’s Vision (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “With more than a year to go before the 2024 election, a constellation of conservative organizations is preparing for a possible second White House term for Donald Trump, recruiting thousands of Americans to come to Washington on a mission to dismantle the federal government and replace it with a vision closer to his own. Led by the long-established Heritage Foundation think tank and fueled by former Trump administration officials, the far-reaching effort is essentially a government-in-waiting for the former president’s return — or any candidate who aligns with their ideals and can defeat President Joe Biden in 2024.”

Prigozhin Alluded to Threats in New Video Release (Mili)

From the BBC: “Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin alluded to threats to his safety in a video which appears to have been filmed days before he died in a plane crash. ‘For those who are discussing whether I am alive or not… everything’s OK,’ he says in the short clip on Telegram. The Russian mercenary leader was buried at a funeral in St Petersburg on Tuesday, according to his press team. Prigozhin and nine others were killed in the crash near Moscow on 23 August, which led to frenzied speculation.”

Rare Cases of Mosquito- and Tick-Borne Diseases, Including Powassan and Dengue, Crop Up Across the US (Sean)

From NBC News: “As the end of summer approaches, cases of rare insect-borne diseases are cropping up weekly across the country, including eastern equine encephalitis, dengue fever and West Nile virus — all spread by mosquitoes — and the tick-borne Powassan virus. This week, Alabama reported two cases of eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, including one death. The rare disease has a 30% fatality rate, and many survivors have lasting neurological issues. In Connecticut, meanwhile, four residents tested positive for Powassan virus, the first infections in the state this year.”

Scientists Discover the Optimal Temperatures for More Restful Sleep (Gerry)

The author writes, “Sleep has long been considered one of the most crucial elements in just about every aspect of our health, and for older adults, a new factor to improve sleep further has been discovered. A team of researchers has shown that sleep can be most efficient and restful within older adults when night-time ambient temperatures range between 15 to 25 Celsius (or 60 to 77 Fahrenheit). Moving above this temperature towards 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) showed an overall trend of a 5-10 percent drop in sleep efficiency.”

Babies Need People, Not Devices. Stop Giving Them Screen Time. (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “A growing body of research demonstrat[es] that, for children younger than 2, hours of screen time can harm their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.”

The Republic of Cows (Laura)

From Hakai Magazine: “When habitat loss is one of the biggest issues facing wild animals, why has Alaska given an uninhabited, remote island to feral cattle?


Comments are closed.