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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'