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TL;DR: This paper describes the finding that there is a specific type of bacterium (Symbiodolus clandestinus) that lives inside of the tissues of several different insects. This bacterium appears to cause no disease, and it is hypothesized that it provides some useful metabolites that the insects are unable to produce themselves. The bacteria can be passed from the mother directly to her offspring. So, this appears to be a widespread symbiotic relation between a bacterium and insects.

The article goes into a lot more depth and describes some other examples of bacteria <-> insect interactions.


Courtesy of @otterX

ID help (sh.itjust.works)
submitted 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Saw these while looking at apartments but have no idea what they are. they were found mostly on carpet, but some were in other parts of the unit.

edit: after looking up the suggestion of carpet beetle I am fairly convinced that it is indeed what they are. I also saw a few adult beetles that look like one of the species found in photos online. thanks everyone.


I have some little black ants in my motorhome. I’m pretty sure I picked them up at my last stop in upstate New York but I’ve since driven far away from there. Wikipedia says little black ants nest in the soil so presumably I didn’t take their queen with me.

What’s going to happen to this group that hitched a ride? Are they likely to elect a new queen and go looking for a good nesting spot, or curl up and die, or what?


cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ml/post/13641832

Title photo by LS Perks

Native to Australia (where else?) it can also be found as an invasive species in New Zealand. It feeds on Eucalyptus species and can become problematic, striping the leaves and damaging the trees hence it's actual name The Gum Leaf Skeletoniser

As the caterpillar grows it sheds it's exoskeleton, during each molt the head portion of the previous exoskeleton stays attached to it's body resulting in a mini tower of empty heads

“The molted head capsules start stacking early but they are not always visible, as the smaller ones get dislodged over time,” Hochuli said. “It’s not uncommon to see caterpillars with at least five old heads stacked on top of the one they are currently using.” Source

The heads can reach up to 12mm tall, and look rather dandy!

Photo by Alan Henderson/Minibeast Wildlife

The several reasons for this, one is to look bigger and more intimidating to predators, another is to create a false target for a predator, and another is that the caterpillar uses the head piece as a weapon or shield to fend off insects with needle like mouth parts such as Assassin Bugs

....researchers removed the head stacks from some caterpillars, left them on others, and kept tabs on their survival once they were back in the field. Caterpillars who kept their extra heads were much more likely to survive in the field....Source

Photo by John Tann

Unfortunately for The Mad Hatterpillar it's list of predators is long and relentless.... it has also evolved stinging hairs to complement it's head gear, and will writhe around to evade being grabbed, and if that isn't enough it will vomit out it's guts....

“They’ll just spew out a whole bit of yucky green liquid that probably smells and tastes awful,” Henderson said. “And if they shove that in the face of the predator, it can turn them off.” Source

Photo by Betty AN

Once the Mad Hatterpillar is finished eating all the Eucalyptus it can, it pupates into a small brown, unremarkable moth with markings that help it camouflage on the trunks of it's food source

Photo by Victor Fazio

submitted 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
  • Sagas are part of the family Tettigoniidae, commonly called katydids or bush crickets.

  • Saga Ephippigera is the largest cricket in the world, and can grow to near 20cm in length

  • There are 17 species of Saga across Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia, and one species that made it to America.

  • Unlike many other crickets that lay eggs in plant matter, Sagas lay their eggs ~20cm deep in damp soil, they can lay 20 eggs or more at a time. The S. Pedo eggs can survive buried for 4 years before hatching.

  • Saga's travel on the ground, though can jump short distances if needed.

  • They are mostly active at night and spend the day camouflaged in the growth by their yellow-brown or green colours.

  • Their front and middle limbs are barbed to help hold on to prey while they eat it with their powerful jaws

Source by Amir Weinstein

  • While crickets generally survive mostly, or completely on plants, Saga's are predators that generally survive on grasshoppers and other insects but have been known to hunt much larger animals, from lizards to snakes, to birds. Here are some photos of one eating a sparrow: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

(source photos credit: Tzlil Landsman)

(if it isn't already obvious, I am a layperson who just came across a couple of these monsters on holiday, sharing information translated by a friend, apologies for any inaccuracies lol)


cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ml/post/12729136

Title photo by Mike Locke

There are over 70 species of wētā in New Zealand

There are eleven species of giant wētā, most of which are larger than other wētā, despite the latter also being large by insect standards

The name wētā comes from the Maori word wētāpunga, or “God of Ugly Things” .The genus name, Deinacrida, means “Terrible Grasshopper.”

The giant wētā’s close relatives include the Carnivorous Tusked Wētā, the Tree Wētā, and the Cave Wētā

Giant wētā are endemic to New Zealand and all but one species are protected by law because they are considered at risk of extinction

New Zealand Giant Weta by Ricky Wilson

The largest species of Giant Wētā is the Little Barrier Island giant wētā, also known as the wētāpunga. One example reported in 2011 weighed 71 g (2.50 oz)

[Deinacrida mahoenui] is endemic to the area of Mahoenui, New Zealand, and the world population for some time was restricted to a single patch of introduced gorse on farmland.

Deinacrida mahoenui [MAHOENUI GIANT WETA] by Zoomology

Large species can be up to 10 cm (4 in), not inclusive of legs and antennae, with body mass usually no more than 35 g (1.2 oz). One gravid captive female reached a mass of about 70 g (2.47 oz), making it one of the heaviest insects in the world and heavier than a sparrow. This is, however, abnormal, as this individual was unmated and retained an abnormal number of eggs

Many giant wētā species are alpine specialists. Five species are only found at high elevation in South Island. The scree wētā D. connectens lives about 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above sea level [8] and freezes solid when temperatures drop below −5 °C (23 °F)

Deinacrida connectens

Fossils found from the Triassic period 190 million years ago show striking similarities to the wētā that inhabit New Zealand today

Handsome Devil!

Giant Weta - Maori "God Of Ugly Things" by Owen Calder

Sources Giant Wētā, Deinacrida mahoenui, Deinacrida connectens, and Mental Floss

Grasshopper (sh.itjust.works)
submitted 4 months ago* (last edited 4 months ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Sorry, no Lemming for scale (Wikipedia tells me a Lemming is '13–18 cm (5–7 in)'. So about the same size. I would imagine there are many about, but I only notice them when they are on doorframes or something.

They happily crawl onto my hand, my coworkers tell me they are delicious grilled, so I don't mention it and go for a walk in the forest.

Southwest Cambodia

A bug (sh.itjust.works)
submitted 4 months ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

A very interesting bug. Aside from the colouration it has fuzz on part of its antennae, and horns/ spikes on its back. Another photo from the side in comments.


cross-posted from: https://sopuli.xyz/post/9346337

[…] What is surprising is how poorly we still understand global ant societies: there is a science-fiction epic going on under our feet, an alien geopolitics being negotiated by the 20 quadrillion ants living on Earth today. It might seem like a familiar story, but the more time I spend with it, the less familiar it seems, and the more I want to resist relying on human analogies. Its characters are strange; its scales hard to conceive. Can we tell the story of global ant societies without simply retelling our own story?

[…] Recognition looks very different for humans and insects. Human society relies on networks of reciprocity and reputation, underpinned by language and culture. Social insects – ants, wasps, bees and termites – rely on chemical badges of identity. In ants, this badge is a blend of waxy compounds that coat the body, keeping the exoskeleton watertight and clean. The chemicals in this waxy blend, and their relative strengths, are genetically determined and variable. This means that a newborn ant can quickly learn to distinguish between nest mates and outsiders as it becomes sensitive to its colony’s unique scent. Insects carrying the right scent are fed, groomed and defended; those with the wrong one are rejected or fought.

[…] It is remarkable how irresistible the language of human warfare and empire can be when trying to describe the global history of ant expansion. Most observers – scientists, journalists, others – seem not to have tried. Human efforts to control ants are regularly described as a war, as is competition between invaders and native ants, and it is easy to see why comparisons are made between the spread of unicolonial ant societies and human colonialism. People have been drawing links between insect and human societies for millennia. But what people see says more about them than about insects.

Insects All Around Us (www.texasobserver.org)
submitted 5 months ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
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