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News: Birds, bees and even plants might act... (The Washington Post) - Behind the headlines

In the news

Media coverage of health and science topics

The Washington Post March 26, 2024

Birds, bees and even plants might act weird during the solar eclipse

by Carolyn Y. Johnson

A total eclipse isn’t just a spectacle in the sky. Birds, insects and even plants will take notice, and might start acting strange.

Read more at The Washington Post

Behind the headlines

Research findings and data from the National Library of Medicine

PubMed articles

Animals (Basel) MARCH 31, 2020

Total Eclipse of the Zoo: Animal Behavior during a Total Solar Eclipse

A Hartstone-Rose et al

The infrequency of a total solar eclipse renders the event novel to those animals that experience its effects and, consequently, may induce anomalous behavioral responses …

Naturwissenschaften JAN. 8, 2019

Foraging and homing behavior of honey bees (Apis mellifera) during a total solar eclipse

P Waiker et al

Exceptional natural phenomena, such as those that occur during a total solar eclipse, provide unique opportunities to study animal behavior outside the naturally evolved …

Am J Primatol JAN. 1, 1986

Effect of solar eclipse on the behavior of a captive group of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

JE Branch et al

A captive group of chimpanzees, housed in an outdoor compound at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, was observed during the annular solar eclipse of May 30, 198 …

Biol Lett NOV. 14, 2018

Aeroecology of a solar eclipse

C Nilsson et al

Light cues elicit strong responses from nearly all forms of life, perhaps most notably as circadian rhythms entrained by periods of daylight and darkness. Atypical period …

Sci Rep JUNE 20, 2019

Hydraulic and photosynthetic responses of big sagebrush to the 2017 total solar eclipse

DP Beverly et al

The total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 created a path of totality ~115 km in width across the United States. While eclipse observations have shown distinct responses …

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The New York Times JULY 2, 2019

During a Solar Eclipse, What Are Plants Doing? (Published 2019)

Research conducted during the Great American Eclipse of 2017 suggested the sun’s midday disappearance shocked some plants.

The New York Times MARCH 30, 2021

That Night 46 Million Grasshoppers Went to Vegas (Published 2021)

In a new study, ecologists document the impact that the world’s brightest city has on the insect population.

Smithsonian Magazine OCT. 10, 2018

Busy Bees Take a Break During Total Solar Eclipses

The 2017 North American eclipse gave researchers an inside look at how bees respond to light—with the help of a few hundred elementary-schoolers

The Guardian MAY 12, 2019

100 years on: the pictures that changed our view of the universe

Arthur Eddington’s photographs of the 1919 solar eclipse proved Einstein right and ushered in a century where gravity was king

NPR News JAN. 13, 2022

Scientists think they've found a big, weird moon in a far-off star system

Scientists have found many planets orbiting distant stars, but so far no proof that any have moons. Now, researchers have detected signs of a large exomoon orbiting a Jupiter-like world.