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Environment

  • Deadly sea snail’s poison cocktail

    Deadly sea snail’s poison cocktail

    A deadly tropical sea snail uses a super-potent form of insulin to subdue its fish prey, scientists have discovered. The geographic cone snail (conus geographus) uses the chemical to cause a plunge in blood sugar, leaving the fish sluggish and...

  • ‘Compass’ guides sea turtles

    ‘Compass’ guides sea turtles

    An extraordinary internal compass allows sea turtles to seek out the beaches where they hatched across thousands of miles of ocean, a study suggests. The turtles achieve their feat of navigation by sensing unique magnetic signatures that act as...

  • Sanctioning ODZ illegalities

    Sanctioning ODZ illegalities

    As grandiose schemes to officially extend development boundaries hover over the Maltese countryside, the eternal acne of illegal rooms continues to infect our land. Like limpets, from Marsascala to Mellieħa, these constructions cling to existence...

  • Ramblers seek wider horizons, new trails and stunning views

    Ramblers seek wider horizons, new trails and stunning views

    The Maltese countryside, so bare and forbidding in the long hot summer months, changes completely and takes on a stunning new look at this time of the year. Especially in winter it presents a floral paradise, with fields and valleys running riot...

  • Top jellyfish photos

    Top jellyfish photos

    The winners of a jellyfish photo competition run by the Med-Jellyrisk project will be receiving an underwater camera or a smartphone, while some of the best photos will feature in a calendar. The judges considered the photos’ quality and the...

  • The fagonia

    The fagonia

    The fagonia is a flowering plant species found in most Mediterranean countries, from Spain to Lebanon, along both the northern and southern shores of the sea. It grows in dry, stony and rocky habitats and garigue, often on calcareous soils. In...

  • Polar bears migrating north of Canada seeking longer-lasting ice

    Polar bears migrating north of Canada seeking longer-lasting ice

    Some polar bear clusters have slowly moved to islands north of Canada, which are retaining the Arctic ice for longer, according to a new scientific study that predicts the migration, linked to climate change, would continue. The study published...

  • Blues on the green

    Blues on the green

    The game of golf, once considered as marking the rite of passage to the middle class, is, for various reasons, in the doldrums, at least in the US and most of Europe. For instance, in the US, which dominates the golf market by a long shot, 160...

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    The University’s Seismic Monitoring and Research Unit registered two minor earthquakes close to the Maltese islands on December 19 and 20. However, no felt reports were submitted to http://seismic.research.um.edu.mt . Moreover, no major...

  • Wolfbane

    Wolfbane

    The wolfbane is an indigenous shrub found mostly in North Africa but which can also be found in other parts of the Mediterranean, particularly in Sicily, Crete, Syria and on some Spanish islands. In Malta it is usually found in maquis and garigue...

  • How to age gracefully? Ask a bowhead whale

    How to age gracefully? Ask a bowhead whale

    To learn the secret behind ageing gracefully, you may want to check out the bowhead whale, the majestic denizen of the Arctic waters that boasts a lifespan topping 200 years. Scientists unveiled the genetic blueprint for the bowhead whale, a...

  • Seal pup reunited with her mother

    Seal pup reunited with her mother

    A seal pup which was hand-reared by zookeepers has been reunited with her mother. South American fur seal Gemini was born on June 3 last year at Living Coasts in Torquay, Devon. Her mother, Grace, was unable to produce milk so keepers at the...

  • Australia battles to contain worst wildfires in 30 years

    Australia battles to contain worst wildfires in 30 years

    Thousands flee their homes as destructive fires rage across nation’s south, with firefighters struggling against blazes fanned by strong winds Hundreds of firefighters were battling yesterday to contain Australia’s worst wildfires in 30 years...

  • Food waste, perchlorate, open spaces

    Food waste, perchlorate, open spaces

    The last days of December have been the time for turkey leftovers and a few fireworks let off during the first few moments of 2015. Every season tells a story. Food waste and how to reduce it was the theme of a conference held in Malta last...

  • Winter stars’ movement

    Winter stars’ movement

    Orion, they mythological hunter, is a constellation which dominate the winter night sky. Instantly recognisable, the three stars of its belt form a straight line which is visible towards the south on every clear night. They are surrounded by four...

  • ‘Swanfall’ marks first cold snap

    ‘Swanfall’ marks first cold snap

    Dozens of Bewick’s swans have flocked to Britain in a ‘swanfall’ to mark the first cold snap of winter. Eighty-one swans reached WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire after completing their 2,500-mile journey from the Arctic tundra. The birds migrated...

  • New type of sea anemone found

    New type of sea anemone found

    A new type of sea anemone has been discovered off the coast of north Devon. Retired teacher Robert Durrant had no idea the 6mm creature was unknown to science when he spotted it in Hele Bay, near Ilfracombe. He posted a photograph on Facebook and...

  • Mystery illness in US zoo

    Mystery illness in US zoo

    An ageing northern white rhinoceros, one of just five left in the world, appeared to be responding to treatment of an unidentified bacterial infection that has veterinarians worried for a sub-species limping towards extinction, a California zoo...

  • Protected grey wolf in Utah mistaken for coyote, shot

    A grey wolf killed by a Utah hunter may have been Echo, a female who attracted national attention after wandering through several states to become the first of the protected animals seen at Arizona’s Grand Canyon in 70 years, officials said. The...

  • The ichneumon wasp

    The ichneumon wasp

    The ichneumon wasps are solitary insects. They are parasites and parasitoids of other insects, especially of butterflies and moths. The difference between the two types is that parasites live in or on other species, feeding on them without killing...

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