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150056.  Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:29 pm Reply with quote

Amongst the insects known as shield bugs is one called the parent bug - Elasmucha grisea. She’s an unusually attentive mother, by insect standards. She sits on her eggs like a bird until they hatch, to guard them from predators, and indeed turns each egg and licks it, daily. When the eggs have hatched, the hatchlings follow the mother around nose-to-tail, “like baby elephants,” for several days. If the young become separated from the mother during this period, they become noticeably agitated, running around in ever-widening circles, until they manage to get back together - at which point they form a great circle, and touch antennae, apparently for reassurance.

The Organic Way, Autumn 2006.

157132.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:43 am Reply with quote

For the first time, entomologists have discovered a caterpillar that emits a warning sound. To be precise, it clicks its jaws to tell you that it is about to vomit.

If threatened by a predator, the caterpillar of the silk moth Antheraea polyphemus makes a series of noises about as loud as the clicking of human fingers. Then it pukes.

According to the researchers, the chemical composition of the vomit is not yet known, but “the researchers conclude it must be distasteful, since ants and mice avoided food items that had been soaked in it.” Won’t eat food that’s been soaked in puke, eh? Tchah! You can tell they didn't grow up during the war.

Experts think the evolutionary advantage of using a warning noise rather than the more usual warning colours is that this allows the caterpillar to stay hidden from sight for longer.

Since discovering the puker, the team have found several more clicking caterpillars.

Source: NewScientist

165019.  Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:27 pm Reply with quote

King of Quok just sent me a lovely news story which I thought would go well with anything insect-related. Did you know that termites are, in fact, cockroaches? Not that I want to find either in my kitchen, but I like the story and it's hot off the press.


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