Chilean rose tarantula

A cure for my spider phobia? That doesn't have legs

London Zoo must immediately stop sending me emails inviting me to get up close and personal with eight-legged freaks. Otherwise known as spiders.

Paul & Joe spring/summer 13

Animal magic

This season the fashion world is a-buzz with inspiration from birds, bees and creatures altogether more beastly, says Stephanie Hirschmiller

Alexander McQueen spring/summer ’13

iStyle: Animal magnetism

This season the fashion world is abuzz with  inspiration from birds, bees and creatures altogether more beastly, says Stephanie Hirschmiller

Monarch butterflies are also believed to use landmarks and scent to find their way while migrating

Mapless monarch butterflies migrate using 'internal compass'

The North American monarch butterfly’s amazing migration, travelling thousands of miles each year from its wintering grounds in Mexico to as far north as the Great Lakes of Canada and back, is done without any internal maps, a study has found.

All 300 of his star performers were suddenly and unexpectedly wiped out by the Arctic weather which has been plaguing the northern half of the continent for weeks

Roll up! Roll up! All the fun of the fair as fresh fleas are wired up to perform

Ringmaster Robert Birk tells Tony Paterson how 60 new recruits kept his show on the road

MPs have called for a ban on 'nerve agent' pesticides to be banned amid fears they may be affecting the rate at which insects are vanishing

MPs call for ban on 'nerve agent' neonicotinoid pesticides to protect dwindling bee population

“Nerve agent” pesticides should be banned until science has established whether they are to blame for the rate at which bumblebees and other insects are vanishing from the countryside, a committee of MPs has urged.

The Google doodle marks the 366th birthday of Maria Sibylla Merians

Google doodle celebrates life of artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian

The 366th anniversary of the birth of German artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian is celebrated in Google’s latest doodle.

Entire troupe of 300 circus fleas killed by freezing weather in Germany

Flea circus director Robert Birk said it was the first time he had lost all his fleas in one go because of cold weather

New techniques to tackle the head lice epidemic include vacuuming and blasting hair with hot air

Return of the nit: We've got the lousy weather to thank, and many of the treatments don't work

Call the nit nurse! A miserable summer followed by a long winter have created an explosion of head lice infestations across Britain – and the country's nits are more resilient than ever to treatment.

This exotic spider was found in a household fridge in Glenrothes, Scotland

Exotic spider which may have travelled from India found in a fridge in Scotland

It has since been identified as from the wolf spider family

The Monarch butterfly

On a wing and without a prayer – the decline of the monarch butterfly

Out of America: More GM crops mean more herbicides – which destroy the food the insects need for their epic migration

Last night's viewing - Planet Ant: Life Inside the Colony, BBC4; Heading Out, BBC2

Remember ant farms? Two sheets of glass filled with earth and topped off with a cartoon rendering of a Midwestern cattle ranch? In my experience, they seemed to offer a matchless way for a budding entomologist to study the process by which live ants turn into dead ones – or, just occasionally, how excitable human matriarchs can become when the ant colony breaks free and heads across the kitchen for the sugar bag. Having watched Planet Ant: Life Inside the Colony, though, I can see that these rudimentary affairs barely deserved the name of ant farm.

The theme of the Natural History Museum's Night Safari changes for each event, meaning you can delve deeper into your favourite aspect of natural history

Love among the dino bones: a safari on Valentine's night

Museums at night have a certain romance and none more so than London's Natural History Museum, though romance may not be the most appropriate word when you are standing next to the gigantic dinosaur in the main hall. A drink next to the dinosaur is just the prologue to an imaginative bi-monthly evening that the museum has started. Called Night Safari, it involves small groups going to several rooms where they meet scientists who introduce them to the institution's most cherished animals, from Guy the Gorilla to a killer shark.

UK Border Agency undated handout photo of some the seizure of 94 kilos of dried caterpillars at Gatwick airport. The discovery was made after a 22-year-old man travelling from Burkina Faso via Istanbul was stopped at the south terminal of the airport

Monkeys in my pants? No, just 94kg of caterpillars in my luggage

Traveller attempts to bring massive haul of dried insects into the country from Africa

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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial