Hedgerows are haven for birds, hares and badgers

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Welland Valley, Leicestershire Wildlife sightings, even on a short walk across the fields, demonstrate the effect of these ‘green corridors’

The reed buntings sway on their vertical perches like trapeze artists waiting for the next trick. Bare hawthorn whips make a good vantage point from which to survey the landscape before they flit into a field of winter stubble to feed.

The males have a black head and smart white collar, adding to the appearance of professional performers. The females look at bit dowdy at first but, on closer inspection, their streaky brown plumage and fine white moustaches, running from the base of the beak across their cheeks, are just as handsome.

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Pea-sized frog found in Borneo

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One of the world’s tiniest species of frogs is discovered living in and around Borneo’s carnivorous plants

One of the world’s tiniest frogs – barely larger than a pea – has been found living in and around carnivorous plants in Borneo, one of the scientists who made the accidental discovery said today.

Indraneil Das, a scientist at University Malaysia Sarawak, and another scientist from Germany were researching frogs in Malaysia’s Sarawak state on Borneo island when they chanced upon the tiny species on a mountain road in the Kubah National Park in 2006.

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Great Barrier Reef could face another big coral bleaching event this year

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New report to UN world heritage committee criticises Australia’s lack of planning in dealing with effects of climate change

The Great Barrier Reef faces an “elevated and imminent risk” of more widespread coral bleaching this year, the reef authority has warned the Queensland government.

An alert from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says more of the reef is showing built-up heat stress than this time last year, just before its worst-ever bleaching event killed off a quarter of all coral.

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Australia’s ‘biggest ever’ antivenom dose saves boy bitten by funnel web spider

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NSW central coast schoolboy, aged 10, was given 12 vials of antivenom after he was bitten by a male spider hiding in a shoe

A 10-year-old NSW central coast boy is lucky to be alive after a deadly funnel web spider bite necessitated what is believed to be the largest dose of antivenom administered in Australian history.

Matthew Mitchell was rushed to Gosford hospital after he was bitten on the finger by the male funnel web, which was hiding inside a shoe, on Monday.

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Melting sea ice may be speeding nature’s clock in the Arctic

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Spring is coming sooner to some plant species in the low Arctic of Greenland, while other species are delaying their emergence amid warming winters. The changes are associated with diminishing sea ice cover, according to a study published in the journal Biology Letters and led by the University of California, Davis.

The timing of seasonal events, such as first spring growth, flower bud formation and blooming make up a plant’s phenology — the window of time it has to grow, produce offspring, and express its life history. Think of it as “nature’s clock.”

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Researchers aim to disrupt egg production in dengue- and Zika-spreading mosquito

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The mosquito Aedes aegypti, which can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, and yellow fever virus, requires a blood meal to develop eggs. One way to control the spread of these diseases is to tamper with the reproductive events that follow this mosquito’s blood meal. A team of scientists has explored this at the molecular level. They focused on microRNAs, which play a critical role in mosquito egg maturation.

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