Bioluminescent worms, armed beetles and zombie ants

I’ve always been fascinated by ethology; but are especially attracted by the extreme behavior that living things develop in order to survive. According to studies by the researchers, the strange behavior of animals can be determined both by their genetic acquired on the basis that the habitat in which they live. However, behaviors that are instinctive or acquired, it is well known that some animals have very strange and unusual behavior. Here I report three examples of behaviors of insects that I was very impressed; one of which. I have been a participant in New Zealand.img_0104_3Glow-worms

The Glow-worms (Arachnocampa luminosa) are certainly the most interesting of the insect fauna of New Zealand. They are found all over the country especially in limestone caves. But even in unused mining tunnels along the banks of streams, in moist crevices and under tree fern fronds in the rainforests. The Waitomo glow-worm cave that houses has become famous in the world because of the tens of thousands of fireflies larvae that live on walls, ceilings and stalactites.


Inside you can see a myriad of small blue lights. It seems to walk under a beautiful starry sky;instead it is the turn of a cave. The fauna of the caves has had to adapt to darkness and some species have exploited these conditions to their advantage. From the ceiling hang hundreds thin wires glistening.
The cave seems decorated by the splendid strands of pearls. But it ‘s just a trap! The larvae of Arachnocampa luminosa ensure these impalpable fishing lines to catch their prey. Each wire is produced by glands in the mouth of the insect and is maintained in tension by droplets of mucus. Each larva of these caves fireflies produce dozens of wires. After placing his lines waiting for the larva lying on a hammock kind of mucus like a patient fisherman.

In addition to the fishing line takes’ bait!

The bluish light and ‘the result of a chemical reaction that takes place inside a special capsule placed in the tail of the insect. In this way the back of the firefly glows and shines. Here’s how you explain the starry sky. These bright dots irresistibly attract insects and as they approach the light trapped in the sticky threads. And once you take the bait no longer escape. The Firefly should just rewind the line and pull it up and then eat it slowly still alive.With this technique, the larvae of light Arachnocampa have solved the fundamental problem that arises with the creatures of the caves, finding a source of mantinance.

Bug Bomber

The Australian bombardier beetle (Brachininae) is less than two inches long, but it is famous for its special defense mechanism. If threatened, this insect sprays a jet of boiling water and foul-smelling liquid and vapor from the rear end of the body; in this way keeps away ants, spiders, birds and even frogs.

This beetle is equipped with a pair of glands that open end of the abdomen. Each gland is provided with a vesicle, in which focus an acid compound and hydrogen peroxide, and a reaction chamber, where the enzymes are present dissolved in water. To defend the insect passes the solution from vesicles in the reaction chambers, where it triggers a chemical reaction. The result? Harmful chemicals, water and steam at a temperature of about 100 ° C is sprayed on the enemy. The reaction chambers do not reach a millimeter in length, but the beetle is able to vary the speed, direction and density of the spray-toxic.


Researchers studied the bombardier beetle spray to develop more efficient and greener. They found that the beetle uses not only placing one-way valves to let the chemicals in reaction chambers, but also a pressure relief valve to expel. Engineers hope to use a technology inspired by the bombardier beetle’s defense mechanism in car engines, in fire extinguishers and also in equipment for the administration of medications, such as inhalers.

Andy McIntosh, University of Leeds, UK, says:

“We studied the beetle from a physical point of view and engineering as no one had yet done, but we did not have the faintest idea of what we learned.”

The operations “carried” by the beetle can not be accomplished by men, unless they are of the chemical. Which I doubt they can do this type of operation, but certainly not within their bodies, and only in their laboratories!

Carpenter ant

This incredible discovery dates back to 2012, and covers carpenter ants (Camponotus leonardi), a tropical species that are infested by a fungus (Ophiocordiceps unilateralis ). The central nervous system of insects is attacked, they lose their self-control and in practice are transformed into zombies going to die in mass (20-30 bodies in a square meter) in areas where the fungus can thrive in conditions.


Apart attack the central nervous system, the fungus also infects the muscles. Scholars analyzing the ants that live on the forest cover in Thailand have found that, in contrast to healthy ants rarely leave the row, those infested seem to go to the event and are no longer the way of the anthill. In addition, the muscle contractions are falling from the trees. On the ground the temperature is lower and the humidity higher: the optimal conditions for the fungus. Once fallen, when the ants are trying to bite the midrib of the leaves, the fungus causes the contraction of the jaw muscles so that the ants remain attached to the leaves. So slowly die from their head and check the body of the fungus from which spread the spores.

She was recently made a discovery published in the journal Plos One more incredible: the zombie fungus is itself haunted by another fungus, which basically saves the ants.

The new finding is that the O. unilateralis is in turn parasitized by another fungus, which prevents the propagation of spores and then ultimately decreases the possibility that the carpenter ants thereof are infected.Scholars have seen that only 6.5% of the spores of the fungus-parasitized zombies fungus on the other hand is vital, limiting the spread of the fungus-zombie.

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30 risposte a "Bioluminescent worms, armed beetles and zombie ants"

      1. Bonjour Bhutadarma. Je suis français mais je suis breton avant tout (mes vraies racines!). Pigraï est un personnage créé, chercheur de bonnes truffes culturelles et citoyennes. Mon prénom est Alan. J’espère que ta famille italienne n’a pas trop souffert de cette terrible pandémie dans ton pays. Bonne journée.

        Piace a 3 people

  1. It’s a crazy world out there… with much beauty & awe inspiring creatures!! This is a wonderful thing to share. It is my understanding that when ants show symptoms of having been infected with the fungus, it’s somehow decided who within the colony will remove it from the others to assist in protection. This is amazing & shows a sense of logic & reasoning, in my opinion!

    Piace a 4 people

    1. the way of thinking of animals is very logical. It’s all about the survival of the species. If you like strange animal behavior read my article on Borneo on this site 😉

      "Mi piace"


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