#Scibraai Menu: Mopane worms: are there still enough to go around?

In life, you get two types of people. Those who eat mopane worms, and those who definitely don’t. In Limpopo, the eating of mopane worms and trading in them are a way of life for many people living in the province. This tradition has been passed on from generation to generation. Environmental changes such as the…

Carrion plant’s (only) little helper

Not all flies attracted to foul-smelling carrion plants help with its pollination In the life cycle of smelly yellow carrion plants (Orbea lutea subsp. lutea), all flies are not created equal. Their flowers, which quite literally reek, lure insects from far and wide that are attracted by the smell of decaying matter and faeces. However,…

In tough times young mice take things slow

When the going gets tough, the young slow down and the old keep going. That’s what happens to African striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio) in times of drought, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. Their findings are published in the journal Ethology. These highlight the influence of different seasons and the use of…

Monday Menu: Bottled water and human rights

Have you ever thought about the fact that bottled water might be having an impact on one of man’s most basic human rights – access to water? It’s all about commodification and boils down to money, says Maria Macarena Pereda of the University of Pretoria, in a mini-thesis she completed as part of her LLM…

Monday Menu: What happens when athletes have to quit?

So what happens to former elite athletes once they become too old to chase their Olympic dreams, or have to retire because of forced injuries? Many of those who develop injuries such as osteoarthritis don’t take it well. This can lead them to feel distress and suffer from sleep disorders and alcohol problems. This is…

MeerKAT science: First Light

MeerKAT science: First Light THE MEERKAT radio telescope opened its eyes for the very first time last month and with the science being done, produced amazing images. MeerKAT lead scientist, Dr Fernando Camilo, took journalists and government officials on a journey that started with KAT-7 to the 16-dish MeerKAT array that ends with a stunning…

Coconuts can give nesting terns the edge

When it comes to the breeding success of common white terns, “artificial” seems to be better than “natural”. This is the results from a study conducted by researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and colleagues in the Seychelles. Their findings about how well hollowed out coconut husks work as nests are published in African Journal…