In this webcast The Brain Scoop takes an interesting look at the homes of eusocial animals and other insects. The video includes many interesting details including that adult weaver ants can’t produce the silk used to weave leaves together so they pick up their larva and use them like a glue stick.
Mosquitos are responsible for huge amount of suffering and death. In 2015 200,000,000 people were infected with malaria and 500,000 died.
It is amazing what knowledge science has provided about the causes of human disease. It is great to have videos like this available that let us learn a bit about it from a short and understandable video.
Using our scientific knowledge to design and implement solutions offers great possibilities. But we also have to worry about the risks of such attempts. Making decisions about what risks to take requires well informed people that are able to understand the opportunities and risks and make intelligent decisions.
Basically the method they evolved copes well with losing the queen. Out of various ways of dealing with having a dominant Queen some may lead to replacement if she dies.
There are lots of examples of method is very effective at creating lots of successful offspring but happens to be less than ideal in some situations. Natural selection is pretty amazing and awesome at creating effective genes but we certainly can look at the results sometimes and see improvements that would be useful.
Likely if losing the queen was very common a good way of dealing with that would be found (or that species would be disadvantaged and at risk). If the queen happens to evolve to being very reliable coping with her death becomes less important. If they produce lots of useful offspring but have a less than ideal method of coping with their home colony losing her it is entirely sensible to imagine that species could flourish.
I would imagine species with queens that had shorter lifespans, that invested more in the home colony, that were less effective at setting up new colonies… would be more likely to have better queen replacement strategies/results.
An old folk remedy involving hairy bean leaves strewn around the bedroom may have a new life as a modern bed bug trap, according to new research from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Kentucky.
Although its mechanisms weren’t known at the time, the tactic dates back to at least 1678, when the English philosopher John Locke wrote of placing kidney bean leaves under the pillow or around the bed to keep bed bugs from biting as he traveled through Europe.
In the early twentieth century, the approach was also common throughout the Balkans, according to a 1927 report from the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Army. That report suggested the leaves stunned the bloodsucking bugs as they traveled from hiding places to their sleeping hosts during the night; in the morning, the bug-covered leaves were removed and burned.
“The inconvenience of bean leaves is that not everyone wants them scattered around their bed room.” Synthetics mimicking the surface of the bean leaf, however, could be placed “as a ring around the bed legs, a floor mat at the door, a strip on the bed board, it could be something one put’s in one’s suitcase,”
Very cool. The chemical assault on bed buds is failing all over the world. A new vector to assist in the fight against bed bugs will be most welcome. It is interesting to learn the scientific reasons that explain why some folk remedies work.
One way to learn more about prehistoric life is amber — fossilized tree resin. Before it hardened, this ooze often dripped over bugs and other wildlife perched on its tree’s bark, entombing them for millions of years.
“Amber is an extremely valuable tool for paleontologists because it preserves specimens with microscopic fidelity, allowing uniquely accurate estimates of the amount of evolutionary change over millions of years,” Grimaldi said.
Scientists have now revealed arthropods trapped in 230-million-year-old amber from northeastern Italy, which appears to hold the most abundant outcrops of Triassic amber in the world. These are the oldest amber-trapped arthropods by about 100 million years, and are the first arthropods to be found in amber from the Triassic.
These mites are unexpectedly similar to their closest relatives, modern gall mites, creatures that feed on plants and cause abnormal growths known as galls to form around them.
“You would think that by going back to the Triassic you’d find a transitional form of gall mite, but no,” Grimaldi said. “Even 230 million years ago, all of the distinguishing features of this family were there — a long, segmented body; only two pairs of legs instead of the usual four found in mites; unique feather claws.”
These discoveries are very cool. The process of the discovery is often fairly tedious.
“The challenge for us, personally, is the tedious work required to screen through so many tiny droplets of amber — 70,000 droplets for three specimens, in this case!”