An ant goes out for a walk and never returns home. You would be surprised to find out what happened next.

Behold the tiny antlion. It is small. It’s ugly. But, what it lacks in looks, it makes up in cunning.

So who are the antlions and why what earned them this name?

Antlions are a group of at least 2000 insect species. Wherever there is sand, there is an antlion calling it home. And as their name hints, they devour ants like hungry lions would polish off a gazelle.

Antlion larva ready to strike.
“X11_6527” by neonzu1 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In true Disney fashion, these menacing and (honestly scary looking)


It’s time to tame my hungry wild side. Time to forage responsibly.

Ebbaswiki — thanks for this amazing moment generously shared over wikimedia commons

Grocery stores are bursting with fats, sugar, and savory snacks, finding food is easy. Maybe even too easy.

But one thing hasn’t changed from our days of monkeying around. Be it a supermarket or the wild, food always comes with a price tag. And where there is a price, a budget is not far behind.

and lagging a little farther are the ecologists trying to decode it.

Optimal foraging theory (OFT) is one such attempt to decode the cost of find food. It is a behavior based model…


“We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbour.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton

interaction between tree communities

Neighbours don’t share homes, but they must share an environment. And with that comes partitioning of public goods and tolerating its public nuisances.

It is a delicate balance of maintaining camaraderie while maintaining distance. And as mere mortals know, loving thy neighbour can be hard.

But humans are not the only one suffering.

Undisclosed to us, trees in forests always had their own neighbourhoods. And like our neighbourhoods, plant neighbourhoods also buzz with interaction.

Sounds crazy right? But truth is sometimes…


Common mate, at least give it a read before you tear this down.

Yes, it’s scary when your earnings swing from one extreme to another. Nobody likes playing Russian roulette with their rent. So of course, I empathize with the frustration of content creators when medium changes their algorithm yet again. I’m not a monster.

But…

…As a reader I’m team medium…

…and that’s because a world increasingly dominated by algorithms breeds creators hell bent upon hacking them. It does not breed value.

Think about it, is it really surprising that we are inundated by click baits when clicks are…


by Aditi Mishra : Are you a fan of glitter, or how about cosmetics?

The glimmer or radiant shimmer? How about a minty fresh toothpaste with crystals promising a pearly smile, or the paint of your SUV?

Mica is the magic ingredient behind all of these.

It is an element indispensable for modern life. It is present in electronics, in insulation, paints and yes even in our toothpaste and cosmetic highlighters.

But what most of us are blissfully unaware of is that most of the world’s mica comes from India. …


Adolescent male zebrafinches dream about love songs. Love songs that they hear from their dads.


Elephants outside the room.

Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park.

Deep in Amboseli, Kenya there is a gentle giant on silent quest. She gazes back to check on her troop. The forty odd tuskers and gawky uncoordinated elephant toddlers look up to her for guidance across these grassy knolls overlooking Mount Kilimanjaro.

She has made this journey many time before but that doesn’t make it easy. There is hunger, heat and thirst standing on her way. But even on days that the tribe has had their fill, things don’t get easy. The are people and predators baying for their blood.

As the oldest female of the…


Looking for a fun quarantine challenge? Here is one!

I recently participated in SkypeAScientist with seventy kindergarteners from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.While signing up, I pictured an audience of college or at least high school students. But then this is what I find waiting in my inbox instead.

Email from SkypeAScientist

What can one tell kindergartners about the brain except that they have one? Do I bring in neurons? Do I talk about predictions, and what is meta cognition really?

But it was around the new year and I was feeling ready for a challenge — so I said yes. …


and talk to each other — because sometimes that can fundamentally change our brains.

Is aggression a given?

I write this on the twenty-sixth week of a year that continues to keep getting worse. Aggression is running amok. And social stability seems to be devolving like my cousin’s slam poetry.

So what do I do? I spent some time reading about aggression in humans and the wild. Basically, healthy procrastination when the world seems to breakdown. And this is what I gather -

1. Us versus them is a sliding scale.

“It is me, my brothers, and my cousins against the world. It’s me and my brothers against my cousins.” …


The very infectious nature of COVID19 is forcing even babies to battle this disease alone.

Why naught?

100% true science stories, written 100% playfully.

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