It’s tough making a living, whether you’re finding a nursery for the young’uns, molting, trying to get a mate, or avoiding ending up as someone’s dinner. Part of the fascination with the invertebrates is just how many “weird” and surprising ways there are to solve the basic problems of life. Plus, we also like them just because they’re so damn gorgeous! This batch of posts has some terrific photography.
Ants may be industrious, but by all accounts they may be easily outwitted. On Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong has the great tale of “Evolutionary arms race turns ants into babysitters for Alcon blue butterflies”, giving the story of how the larvae of the beautiful Alcon Blue butterfly are really just a bunch of slackers — these brood parasites make ants fawn over them at the expense of the ants’ own larvae. Meanwhile, GrrlScientist is Living the Scientific Life where she describes, “Berry Butts: Parasitized Black Ants Resemble Red Berries”. More weird parasitism: “an amazing example of a parasite that causes its host to resemble a luscious red berry — all so the parasite’s eggs are passed onto birds, the next step in the parasite’s life cycle.” The ants continue their march (one by one) across the Interwebs, and at his Myrmecos Blog, Alex describes how we can find “Ants from a Kilometer Up” by using Google Earth to find their mounds. (Gee, if you make it that easy, won’t the grad students waste their time doing silly things like catching up on sleep?)
So what do Superman, strippers and training wheels have to do with arthropods? Read the rest of this entry »