Ecology and Life
The puppy room easing life's pain in a stroke
Gentle wobblings of a 'foul gull' fulmar
Frigatebird returns to nest on Ascension for first time since Darwin
New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Uggie: 'He likes to fly first class'
It's a dog's life in China: sold for £1m or stolen and sold as meat
Malibu residents hire crew to remove rotting whale carcass from beach
Yellowstone's popular alpha female wolf shot dead by hunters outside park
What I miss most in the dead time of winter is the insects
BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China
The vibrant river was a welcome relief after the bleak, snow-covered fields
TV Review: Miniature Britain; Weight Loss Ward; Rome
Marine conservation group says UK lacks ambition to preserve seas
UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones
Live animal exports going via previously unknown routes
When a dozing otter steals the show
Newly discovered slow loris species already threatened
What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
Could this really be the fearsome, legendary Girt Dog reincarnate?
Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
Life comes cheap for winter wrens
Ash trees consumed by something of the night
Foie gras taken off menu in House of Lords
  What the Japanese red bug teaches us about parenting
The female Japanese red bug is a single mother. She spends her days clambering across rough terrain that is littered with leaves and twigs, searching out food for her many children, called "nymphs". Not just any morsel will do, because her offspring have very sensitive palates and only desire the perfectly ripened fruit of a very rare plant. And so she trudges endlessly tirelessly through the harsh landscape to satiate her brood's growing hunger.

Speaking of finicky eaters, you might have heard that human children can be just as demanding. Doubtless everyone loves their own kids, but the challenges associated with raising a juvenile, much less a litter of them, can seem endless. At least the Japanese red bug instinctively knows what her youngsters want for dinner, because not all species are quite as lucky.

Nurturing the young can be a dizzy whirlwind of hasty cooking, temperature taking and exasperated drives to karate practice often followed by new grey hairs, backache, or that sudden desire to run out of your home howling at the sky. At a certain point you might ask yourself: "Who is taking care of me while I'm taking care of everyone else?" Alas, parenting creates such joys. But you are not alone in the way you feel.

For mother bug, the exhausting devotion to her little rabble eventually wears her down. Each journey outside the earthy den she built becomes increasingly draining to her body. Her young ones have grown big and strong and no longer require her attention. Nature permits her to give birth only once and, now full grown, they will leave her only to linger, if she dies, to catch one last meal.

Some people say that the relationship between mother and child is unbreakable; others argue that it is bone breaking. A number of animals have it easy: drop the goopy eggs in this dingy pool, or plant the larvae in that unsuspecting host. But it is not the same for most humans. What we need to remember is that for every miserable human parent, there are many more thousands of insect parents to commiserate with us. For creatures like the Japanese red bug, motherhood is a life-threatening ordeal, yet they do it anyway, probably because caring for their children is just as important to them as it is to you.
New to Nature No 96: Oncopodura fadriquei
Animal rights activists plan direct action against beagle imports
How the stink of a waterbuck could prevent sleeping sickness in Kenya
Tatler's dog, Alan, dies in bizarre revolving door accident
Insecticide 'unacceptable' danger to bees, report finds
Freedom Foods 'failing to crack down' on poor salmon farming standards
One in 10 Welsh livestock farmers illegally kill badgers, study suggests
Crab study puts pain on the menu
A large shape a bittern flies across the pond
Wolf killings are based on the most cynical of premises
New to nature No 97: Ferrisia uzinuri
Sad to see the tide turn against the otter
An owl swoops down on wings that seem as broad as they are long
Animals: are they good for supper or good companions?
Is human branding an animal-rights stunt too far?
Cat lovers pounce on campaign to save New Zealand's birds
Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'
There is something irresistibly cheerful about a flock of twite
Solomon Islands villagers kill 900 dolphins in conservation dispute
Mistle thrush numbers in decline
Guyana pledges to protect jaguars
Dung beetles navigate by the stars
How do you catch an escaped crocodile?
New to Nature No 98: Xerophytacolus claviverpus
Animal astronauts: the unsung heroes of space exploration
Pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo after 'poisoning'
A badger's biscuit-sized footprints in the snow follow the field edge
British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals
The lake is muted under the winter sun, like a faint watercolour painting
Should the RSPCA have pursued the man who ate a live goldfish?
Days of heavy rain have left the ancient woodland sodden
Alice Roberts: Rudolph and our early ancestors a love story
Saving the rhino with surveillance drones
Hunting with dogs ban unlikely to get free vote admit top Tories
The tracks in the snow revealed the secrets of these night visitors
A perfect winter's day for a walk
Meet the woman battling Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic ocean
China captivated by tiny tuneful insects that sing for their supper
HBO sued by animal rights worker over abuse of horses on Luck
Some surprising facts about hedgehogs
Cats killed in cattery fire
Experience: my horse sank in quicksand
Alys Fowler: fat balls and mealworms
Hawks in danger of extinction in illegal hunting campaign
What the Japanese red bug teaches us about parenting
Fishermen back sanctions against Iceland over mackerel catch
What I learned the day a dying whale spared my life
Overfishing causes Pacific bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%
Glistening with water droplets, the black-throated diver looked almost eerie
Kitten swallows 15cm-long TV aerial
As the rain blows over, a double rainbow arcs across the sky
A moorhen sent stone-skimmer splashes as it pattered across the river
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