Maine Forest Service ACF via AP

Scientists discovered not only that plants can trigger cannibalistic behavior in pests by releasing a specific chemical, but that harvesting the chemical could potentially protect them, per Nature.

  • How it works: Tomato plants were exposed to an airborne chemical, methyl jasmonate (MeJA), that caused them to release toxins that decreased their nutritional value for caterpillars. The insects then began feeding on each other, something herbivorous insects do often when food is poor or limited.
  • The benefits: If the plant triggers those toxins early enough, less of the plant will be touched by the insects. Anurag Agrawal, a researcher of plant-animal relations at Cornell University, suggested cannibalism could be fostered as a pest-management strategy.
  • Caution: The cannibalistic caterpillars may be more fit than non-cannibals but it's important to avoid "encouraging super-pests" by allowing the weaker insects to be killed off by larger, stronger ones.

Go deeper

Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 10,945,600 — Total deaths: 523,035 — Total recoveries — 5,797,206Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 2,767,669 — Total deaths: 128,951 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  4. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, and its most-infected county issues curfew.
6 hours ago - Sports

Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.