Night Waking, By Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss's debut, Cold Earth, was a stylish thriller set on a remote archaeological dig in Greenland. Here she takes the emotional isolation of early parenthood as her subject, intensifying the experience by transplanting a young family to a remote Scottish island.

Michael McCarthy: Real Spring starts this Sunday

I wrote recetly that four is not really a sufficient number for seasons, with mid-March, for example, being neither spring proper nor late winter, but something in between. And the spring's true heart also does not fit with the traditional versions. As far as I am concerned, spring in southern England, where I live, begins this Sunday, 15 April.

David Randall: Let's strim these mowing jobsworths

Our writer bemoans the obsessive razing of our wild flora

Damien Hirst work on sale in Tate Modern retrospective

Damien Hirst merchandise, from a deckchair to a plastic skull, is on sale for eye-watering price tags of up to £36,800 at the first UK retrospective of the controversial British artist.

Letters: Bees and pesticides

End the denial over bee poisoning

Fossils of giant fleas discovered

Giant Jurassic fleas measuring more than two centimetres (about an inch) may have fed on feathered dinosaurs, say scientists.

Harlequin ladybird: First seen in the UK in 2004, the harlequin is now the most populous species of ladybird. It feasts on aphids, other ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies. It is rapidly spreading across the country

Invading cannibal ladybirds take over Britain's homes

Asian interlopers devour native insect populations and exude chemical that could ruin your curtains

Female Golden Orb Weaver spider in web

Well, it worked for Peter Parker: genetic scientists unleash power of the spider web

Breakthrough may pave way for new biomaterials that could be used in medicine and engineering

Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria This yellow star is normally the first spring flower (snowdrops being winter flowers) and normally appears in early March, but parts of December were so mild that it was flowering in the west country

The year of strange weather

From a baking-hot spring to a chilly summer, 2011 played havoc with our plans, our wardrobes – and our native wildlife.

Heatwave attracts flight of colourful tourists from Continent

With wings as big as a bat's, the death's-head hawkmoth is the most extraordinary of the insect visitors

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: In search of another great moth snowstorm

One of the lousiest aspects of the lousy summer which ended yesterday, for me at least, was that for yet another year, there was no chance of witnessing the moth snowstorm. Not in England, anyway.

Government cuts a threat to butterflies

The continuing survival of Britain's most-threatened butterflies has been put at risk by swingeing government cuts, conservationists are warning.

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Nicole Kidman answers the great rhetorical question: 'Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?'

Who knew that Nicole Kidman is frightened of butterflies? Who knew, in fact, that anyone had a phobia so rare that it doesn't have a name? The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth does (arachibutyrophobia). So does the fear that somewhere a duck is secretly watching you (antidaephobia). And so, needless to add, does the fear of the bluff know-it-all with misguided dress sense (Clarksonophobia).

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The loveliest living creature

What's Britain's most beautiful creature? Many people would name a bird: the kingfisher springs to mind at once, and there'd be a raft of other candidates from the goldfinch to the roseate tern, all plausible. Some might name a mammal: I can see how the pine marten might have its supporters, all sleek deadly elegance in fur; and the common dolphin, with that great pale stripe along its side, is a heartstopping animal when you see it surging around your boat. But I'm going to name an insect.

The curse of the moth

They're back – and this time we haven't got the balls to stop them. Francesca Infante reports
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