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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor