The Curious Webspinner Insect Knits a Cozy Home | Deep Look

The Curious Webspinner Insect Knits a Cozy Home | Deep Look


Ok, under a log, you uncover a wispy white web. You’re thinking: spider. Not so fast. This maze of woven silk has nothing to do
with arachnids. It’s actually created by a kind of insect
called a webspinner. They’re related to stick insects and praying
mantises. Never heard of ’em? Not surprised. They give spiders a run for their money. Their handiwork is a tent … umbrella … and
invisibility cloak all-in-one. But while spiders produce silk from their
backends, a webspinner’s silk comes from her feet. Yep, her front feet. She intertwines the strands, waving back and
forth, back and forth. She has tiny hair-like ejectors on the bottom
of each foot, which shoot out the silk. It’s the thinnest silk of any animal. The work is painstaking. But the result is pretty cozy – kinda like
a quilted roof. Their home – also known as a gallery – is their
only defense, hiding their soft bodies from predators. There’s also plenty of moss and lichen to
eat inside. So why leave? And if they need to do some housekeeping,
it’s easy to take out the trash. They just stick it to the roof … and forget
about it. The silk also keeps out something they really
like to avoid: rain. Webspinners can easily drown if a downpour
floods their gallery. Luckily, they’ve got exceptional weather-proofing. Water just beads up on the silk’s surface,
like on a rose petal. And that water actually changes the silk,
making the surface more slippery by transforming the proteins. So it becomes extra waterproof. But having silk-slinging front feet has a
downside. Say an unwanted visitor comes along. If they want to get away, webspinners have
to tiptoe to avoid triggering their silk ejectors. Not exactly the fastest runner. So to get away, webspinners dart … backwards,
to avoid getting tangled up. They’re much faster in reverse. Small price to pay for the ability to weave
an entire hidden world. One that will keep the webspinners – and
their young – safe … for generations to come. Hi, it’s Lauren. Music fans – here’s a special playlist for
ya of Deep Look creatures that make music of their own. Also, check out Sound Field, a new show from
PBS Digital Studios that breaks down our favorite songs and artists from all genres … from
Bach to Beyonce. It’s hosted by two amazing musicians, Nahre
Soul and LA Buckner, who even come up with an original song in every episode. Link is in the description. Thanks.

How to film insects on the cheap

How to film insects on the cheap


today I’m going to show you how to film
insects and other small things on the cheap. the first thing you will need is a toy
microscope so I have one here and what you want to do is basically smash it up
with a hammer and you want the lens. hopefully the lens will be plastic if
it’s a toy microscope because if its glass, you’ll have smashed it up. so you take the
plastic lens from here. here’s one I made earlier. you can see it’s actually quite
powerful. and then the next thing you need– blu-tack. you make a ring of it
around the edge like that, and actually as long as you don’t
obstruct the optical axis, it doesn’t matter too much if you get a bit of it
in the…on the actual lens itself rather than just round the edge. now next
take your phone, stick it on like so and then go onto your camera like so. I can now magnify anything and
you basically just move your phone back and forth as if it’s a magnifying glass
because that’s exactly what it is: a magnifying glass. and as you can see, I can now do that. that the next thing you want to do is either turn on your flash or your
torch like that. get something to magnify for example, this Metacanthina
trilobite, and look at that. you just… so that’s all there is to it. all you do:
take a toy microscope, smash it up, take out the lens, stick it on your phone with
some blue tack, and away you go!

True bugs: Hypselonotus – Biodiversity Shorts #2

True bugs: Hypselonotus – Biodiversity Shorts #2


Hello my name is Marc and tonight
we’re looking at the true bug Hypselonotus. I’ve got my macro gear
just behind me here and he’s on the branches of this
little plant Let’s take a closer look. I found a whole heap of these guys on the one plant in the garden which made
them really easy to film. and this is a shot, I’m just going to pop my
finger into frame here so it can give you an idea of his size. I did most of the shooting at night which might the job even easier because
they are very slow-moving and very docile. Now most people think of a bug and they think of anything that is small and creepy. When a scientist thinks of a bug they think of the Hemiptera order of insects which are knows as true bugs. One way to recognise true bugs is to look for their long straw like probosis, which is used
usually to suck sap that is in most species, but in some species they will use it to suck the insides out of other insects as in the assassin bug or in the case of
the bed bug to suck blood. I could not figure out what
these guys were doing most of them were just sitting about. This one was playing with a caterpillar, and another one who was really busy being dinner for this spider. Just a guess, but I think this spider is somehow realted to the red back spider of Australia When I came back about a week later to film the start and end of this video I found that these little guys were
actually feeding on incredibly tiny little flowers
that are at the base of each of the leaves of this plant. That explained to me why these guys congregated around this
particular plant It’s because of those tiny flowers. Which probably only this insect can get its mouth parts into. The last thing I observed is that these
guys will actively the defend the best flowers and
chase away competitors In this shot I actually got him chasing away another bug, and I’m sure if it came to
it, if they were equally matched there would be a small fight. I hope you’ve enjoyed my video and thanks to Andreas and the other people on the various forums who helped me to identify this bug I wouldn’t have had a hope on my own of trying to identify this little guy and if you like these type of videos then please subscribe and please click like and comment below and tell your friends
every little bit of feedback helps whether it’s good or bad or whatever you
feel like doing I’ll put a link to my previous video just
after this and a my name is Marc and this is
Biodiversity Shorts Cheers.

This Killer Fungus Turns Flies into Zombies | Deep Look


We like to think we’re in control … that
our minds are our own. But that’s not true for this fruit fly. Its brain has been hijacked by another organism
and it’s not going to end well. It all starts when the fly is innocently walking
around, sipping on overripe fruit. It picks up an invisible fungus spore, which
bores under its skin. For a few days, everything seems normal. But inside, the fungus is growing, feeding
on the fly’s fat … and infiltrating its mind. At dusk on the fourth or fifth day, the fly
gets a little erratic, wandering around. It climbs to a high place. Scientists call this behavior “summiting.” Then it starts twitching. The fungus is in control. The fly sticks out its mouthpart and spits
out a tiny drop of sticky liquid. That glues the fly down, sealing its fate. A few minutes later, its wings shoot up. And it dies. Now that the fungus has forced the fly into
this death pose … wings out of the way … nothing can stop it. It emerges. Tiny spore launchers burst out of the fly’s
skin. Hundreds of spores shoot out at high speed,
catching a breeze if the fly climbed high enough. They’re the next generation of killer fungus. It continues for hours, spores flying out. These flies are in the wrong place at the
wrong time. And if spores land on a wing, which they can’t
bore into, they shoot out a secondary spore to increase their chances of spreading. So how does a fungus take control of a brain? At Harvard, Carolyn Elya is trying to understand
that. She thinks the fungus secretes chemicals to
manipulate the fly’s neurons, maybe stimulating the ones that make flies climb. But don’t worry: The fungus can’t hurt
humans. Scientists have tried to harness its power
for our benefit, to kill flies in our kitchens and farms. They haven’t had any luck though. The deadly spores are actually pretty fragile
and short-lived. It turns out, this lethal puppet master does
only what it needs to for its *own* survival. Hi, it’s Lauren again. If you love Deep Look, why not help us grow
on Patreon? We’re raising funds to go on a filming expedition
to Oaxaca, Mexico. And for a limited time, we’re sweetening the
deal with a special gift. Link is in the description. And if you’re craving more spooky videos,
here’s a playlist of our scariest episodes. Don’t watch ‘em after midnight. See you soon.

Face to Face with Ants – Ultra Close-up (feat. Messor colony)

Face to Face with Ants – Ultra Close-up (feat. Messor colony)


Today we will travel into the ants’ microcosm. We’ll discover hidden details, not visible
to the human eye. We will meet these ants face to face. Well, that was kind of dramatic, Hey guys! Welcome to the Amazing Ants channel. You all know the Messor colony, but do we
really know them? We see them as ants, from above, but with
some help we can get as close as an ant to them. Get ready to see these giant Major workers
of the Messor colony from a completely new perspective! First of all, I’m going to show you my setup. We need a small base like a small book, a
squared paper for size comparison and the most important thing, the rubber band. All in all it’s pretty easy, we just put the
paper on the book and the rubber band around. And then we just need to take a Major worker
and we put her simply under the rubber. So, next step is to catch a Major worker,
hm, we need a very big one. Over there! That’s a huge worker! This ant will be our model! We just need to get her with the tweezers
and, oh she is biting the tweezers, it’s more like she got us! Wow, I’m always impressed when I see how strong
these small creatures are. Just thing about that. There is a single ant moving steel tweezers. That’s incredible! Nevertheless, we have a job to do and we have to put this ant under the ruber band Remember when I said . It’s not that easy. Finally we did it! The ant fixed and now we can get extreme close. This ant is too strong! Oh no! She is on her way to get out! Ok, I put the ant little bit more to the side. The rubber band at the side can create more
down force than in the middle. This ant fixed! And there is some ant poop. Now we can dive into the ants microcosm and
have a really close up look! The first thing we see, is more ant poop. That’s not all, we can still get closer. Look at this harry head! Have you ever thought they have even hair
on their head? There is so much more to discover. Let’s take a look at the mandibles, that structure
and also these sharp teeth, they look like a mini nutcracker with hairs on it. And also check out their antenna, it looks
like the antenna is attached to something like a small ball inside the head. Ever seen an ant eye? Like most insects, ants also have compound
eyes. I think this looks not really like an ant. I dont know what it could be, but it look’s
evil, like a daemon or a evil mask or something like that. The structure of their exoskeleton is fascinating Look closely to the antenna where it’s attached
to the head, there you can see the small ball I’ve mentioned earlier. And also look at all their hair, especially
above the mandibles, it’s like a small ant mustache. The microcosm time is now over and as you
can see, the ant also wants to get back into her nest. I hope I could give with this video an interesting
and slightly different view of ants. I personally think they are small Monster
Alien creatures but tell me what do you think now about ants, what was the most astonishing
detail you have seen? Tell me in the comments below. If you have enjoyed the video, leave a like
or subscribe. Thank you so much guys, see you soon!

We’ve Got Ants In Our Plants!

We’ve Got Ants In Our Plants!


[MUSIC] If this is your first time in the rainforest,
I get it. All the trees pretty much look alike. Maybe you’re at the end of a long hike,
you wanna take a little break, have a drink of water. So you pick a tree to rest up against and
relax. Well, this would be a very bad tree to pick. It’s full of ants. We’ve got ants in our plants! [MUSIC] Flowering plants first sprouted onto the scene
about 160 million years ago, and they’ve been locked in a dance with insects ever since…
sometimes they give food, sometimes they are food, their evolution’s always been intertwined. But the most complex insect/plant relationships
don’t involve butterflies, beetles, or bees. They belong to the ants. Locals call this the “novice tree” because
there’s a painful lesson waiting for anyone who leans up against it. It’s full of ants. A whole colony lives inside, spread from the
roots up through the highest branches. But inside of a tree is kind of a weird place
to find ants. If only there was somebody around who could
teach me more about this crazy ant/tree relationship! Oh! Oh, look at that! It’s Aaron Pomerantz! Here in the rainforest. How’s it going, Joe? It’s going pretty well, but I’m kind of
curious why ants would want to live inside a tree? Where we’re from ants live in little mounds,
and that’s just how it goes Yeah, this tree can host thousands of ants,
and this is not a short term relationship. The ants can live inside as a colony for years,
for decades even, and their tree grows as the colony grows. You can see that they’re sort of coming out
of these little pits, right? Yeah, there’s holes all up and down this
tree where the ants coming in and out. Yeah and if you were to cut this open or one
of the stems, they would actually be hollow, the ants live inside. That’s right. To these ants, this tree is home. And the ants didn’t tunnel it out themselves. It grew that way. A tree built for a queen and a few hundred
thousand of her children. Inside, the ants not only get a safe place
to raise their young, the tree is also their food source. Tiny scale insects live alongside the ants. In return for free room and board, those bugs
digest tree sap and secrete a nutrient-rich liquid, full of the good stuff ants need. They’re kind of farming them like little
mini insect cows. That’s an adorable… they milk them? Little udders! Yeah! But you have to wonder: what’s in it for
the tree? Why spend all that energy building tunnels
and doors so a bunch of insects can move in and suck out your precious bodily fluids? Because ants are very protective of their
home. It’s really interesting to note we’re
in this barren spot right now. You notice there’s no other plants around
us. And this is caused by the ants, they actually
clear out parts of the rainforest because they want their tree to get more sunlight
so that it can grow. Think about that. If a branch or vine from another plant touches
their tree, they’ll sting it, bite it, and cut it out of the way, like tiny gardeners. Both species put in work, both species get
something in return. Good old mutualism! Plants that house ants are called myrmecophytes. But not all plant/ant relationships are so
evenly balanced. Acacia trees house ant bodyguards that are
so aggressive they can repel an elephant, and in return, they get nectar. But the tree laces that meal with an ingredient
that keeps the ants from digesting nectar from any other plant. They’re chemical slaves to their host. Now one tree of ants is cool, but we found
another species that takes treehouses to the next level. Aaron this is weird over here, we’ve been
walking through dense rainforest all day long, but we’re in a clearing, we’re not dodging
branches, there’s sun above us, what’s happening here? Yeah, this is a really strange part of the
forest that we’re in right now, and this is called the Devil’s Garden. The Devil’s Garden, like did people come
through and clear this out? Is this clear-cutting in the forest? It’s actually entirely caused by ants that
live with this plant. What they’re doing is they’re clearing out
all the space around it and only letting their home plant survive These plants grow little bulbs called domatia,
little ant houses! To keep the ants happy, the plant pumps out
pre-packaged meals called food bodies. And in return, the ants offer protection. Just like tiny Ant-ony Sopranos. Think about how weird that is. This plant grew these hollow bulbs seemingly
for those ants without even knowing that ants exist. And in return that plant gets protection from
things like caterpillars that might want to eat its leaves and those ants get protection
by being up off the rainforest floor, where there’s things like spiders and flies that
want to lay eggs so maggots can eat their brains. It’s a real “you scratch my back, I live inside
your hollow bulbs” relationship/ And they’re clearly very successful at it,
because the ants will climb out of their little homes, onto the ground and just destroy any
other competing plants in the area. They’re really active, they’re out all
over this right now, I think they think we’re plants that are trying to come in here and
grow. So they come down onto the forest floor, do
they like eat, do they chop them down like leafcutters? How do they control that growth? So it’s really cool, they’ll actually
inject, with their stinger, formic acid into the plant, which sort of melts it away kind
of like this herbicide. Yeah, all along this root I see those little
black ants from the tree. They’ve wiped out this little seedling here. It’s dry and crackly and dead, they’re doing
forest control right before my eyes. The line between cooperating and being a parasite
is like this thin. If these yellow Allomerus ants move in, they
castrate the fruits, so instead of devoting energy to reproduction, the plant produces
more food and shelter for the ants. Fun fact: this plant is also known as “huevo
de gato”, which I’ll let you translate yourself. Adios huevos. That’s so awesome that some of the rainforest’s
smallest residents can shape it in such incredible ways. Yeah, the ants are the dominant life force
out here in the rainforest, it’s incredible. Yeah, I found that out the hard way, but man
thanks for showing us that, that is so cool. Alright, stay curious! Um, I thought of a joke. What did the Pink Panther say when he stepped
on an ant mound? What’s that, Joe? Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead ant dead
ant! There are so many cool insect plant relationships
in the rainforest. Our friends from Deep Look joined us in Peru
and they made a video about ant/plant betrayal. Head over to their channel to check it out. Alright, we have a tradition on this show. Whenever we make an ant video, I’ve gotta
get stung, so let’s see what happens. Oh that sucks. No that does not feel good. Oh, that’s… it’s different than a fire ant,
it’s not as hot, but it’s definitely a little more needle-like. And piercing. I don’t like it very much. Aw she’s really going to town. Look at that. Ooh, it’s very sharp, ahh, we’re done with
this idea, I think we’re finished. Oh it hurts so much worse afterwards. That’s the last time I mess with this tree. Stay curious! I’m getting away from this thing.

The Double-Crossing Ants to Whom Friendship Means Nothing | Deep Look

The Double-Crossing Ants to Whom Friendship Means Nothing | Deep Look


The Peruvian Amazon rainforest is bursting
with life, but it’s a hard place to make a living,
especially when you’re small. Competition… is fierce. Violence and betrayal are everywhere. Up here, in the canopy? These trees have made it. Lots of leaves. Plenty of sunlight. But down here, on the forest floor, it’s
another story. This sapling desperately needs to grow, to
get more sun. And in the meantime, it’s vulnerable. It doesn’t have many leaves yet. Each one is valuable. Losing just a few could be its demise. So this young tree, it’s called an Inga,
enlists bodyguards.. hundreds of them. These big-headed ants swarm over the sapling,
fighting off any leaf-eating intruders, like this caterpillar. The price of protection: a meal: sugary nectar. The tree serves it up in ant-sized dishes
called nectaries. Both the ant and the tree have something to
gain from the deal. This is called “mutualism.” But that only works when both sides play by
the rules. Here’s another intruder. See how the ants rush to meet it? But they aren’t biting or stinging it. They don’t attack it like they’re supposed
to. Instead the ants just… watch… as the caterpillar gorges on the fresh leaves. They’re just letting it happen. Why? Because they found a better deal. See how the ants tap on the caterpillar’s
rear with their antennae? Those two little pits on the caterpillar’s
back are called tentacle nectaries. When the ants tap, the nectaries secrete drops
of nectar. It’s made of sugar that the caterpillar
drained out of the leaf. In exchange for the payoff, the ants give
the caterpillars free access to their so-called partner, the Inga tree. They’ve been bribed. As for the tree? It’s left weaker, a little less likely to
make it up to the canopy. And that’s the sad story of the young Inga. Sold out for a drop of sugar water by a fairweather
friend. You like ants? We got ants. Lots of ants. Winter ants battle Argentine ants with weapons caught on film for the very first time! Leafcutter ants that have been farming since
before we humans walked the earth. All that and more on Deep Look. So subscribe… And thanks for watching.

How Fire Ants Took Over America πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

How Fire Ants Took Over America πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯


[MUSIC] There’s nothing like walking through cool
grass on a warm summer’s day. But every Southerner knows that a barefoot
stroll in the yard comes with risks… “Ow, ow! OW!” This fire ant mound should be a familiar sight
to anybody who lives in the southern U.S. But you won’t see them marching around in little
lines on the ground. We’re surrounded by an underground network of foraging tunnels, but
this is home base. And the best way to get to know what’s inside is to give it a poke. A fire ant’s main senses are touch and smell.
The slightest disturbance and workers release alarm pheromones, a chemical signal that can
raise the entire mound to defense within seconds. Anything sitting still is now a target, so
let’s get out of here. A fire ant’s bite isn’t what hurts. Their
mouths only serve as anchors so they can curl around a sharp stinger and inject a dose of
venom, a painful reminder they’re in the same order of insects as bees and wasps: the
Hymenoptera. Insect researcher Justin O. Schmidt developed
a pain index for Hymenoptera venom, mostly by allowing himself to be stung over and over.
The tiny sweat bee, for instance, is a 1… “a tiny spark singeing a single hair”.
The bullet ant scores a 4, the most painful grade, like “fire-walking over flaming charcoal
with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.” Fire ants score a mere 1.2 on the Schmidt
Pain Index, but they tend to sting multiple times, like this one did. It’s already starting
a local immune response around that venom: it’s red, it’s itchy, it’s burning. It does
not feel good. Within a few days the cells will actually die and leave me with a nice
little white bump that I will not be able to resist popping. The things I do for this
show. These stings have made fire ants a target
of pure, unadulterated hate in the southern U.S., but it’s important to remember that
just like us, these ants are an imported species. The red imported fire ant, arrived in the
U.S. between 1933 and 1942, accidentally scooped from their home in South America, placed onboard
a ship, and dropped in Mobile, Alabama. They left behind a hard life full of daily
ant warfare, but in Alabama they found opportunity, few enemies, and a boy named Edward Wilson.
E.O. Wilson would later become the world’s leading expert in ant biology, but as a teenage
scientist in Mobile, he recorded the first known sighting of imported fire ants.
Over the next two decades, as Wilson and other scientists watched these ants spread out from
Alabama, southern farmers went into full freak out. [DRAMATIC MUSIC] Now, maybe it was because the nation still
had war on the mind, or the ants had “red” in their name, but the US stopped at nothing
to eradicate them. Retired World War II bombers took to the air loaded with pesticide, indiscriminately
showering the South with millions of tons of poison. We’d later learn that the pesticides used
were many times more toxic than DDT. E.O. Wilson called the bombing campaign the
“Vietnam of entomology” and it was one of the inspirations for Rachel Carson’s
“Silent Spring.” In the end, aerial pesticides did do a lot of killing, but instead of fire
ants, it was mostly to livestock, birds, fish, and native ant species. Nature hates a vacuum. By wiping out the native
ants, we made it easier for imported fire ants to advance. They’ve since spread from
Florida to Texas… on to California, even to Mexico, China, and Australia. Solenopsis
invicta seems perfectly evolved for invasion. Part of the answer lies in their how they
reproduce. Hordes of winged males and future queens take to the air in massive mating flights.
Pregnant queens then air-drop into new open territory free of competition, break off their
wings, and bury themselves to give birth to new colonies. In many places, like here Texas, a genetic
variation has made some fire ants lose their territorial nature. Many colonies here are
home to many queens, they’re more densely packed than their territorial relatives, allowing
them to spread like a creeping fungus instead of airborne seeds. Thanks to their tropical origins, during floods,
entire fire ant colonies can clump together and float until they find a new home. They
invade by land, air, and water. It’s no coincidence fire ants and humans
are constantly running into each other. Fire ants crave disturbance, and humans provide
that everywhere we go. Think of it this way: If you clear an area, take away the natural
vegetation, the first thing to move back in are weeds, and so it is with fire ants: Tiny
animal weeds. Like weeds, they’re more annoying than dangerous,
but imported fire ants cost $6 billion every year, damaging everything from golf courses
to electrical equipment, where they sometimes nest. Eradication is impossible, but the answer
to controlling them might come from their South American home. Tiny buzzing insects, barely visible to the
naked eye. Ant-decapitating flies.
Phorid flies – that’s their technical name – are one of invicta’s natural enemies back
home. They hover over unsuspecting workers, zip
down, lay an egg inside the ant, and fly away. That egg hatches, a maggot crawls into the
ant’s head, eats everything inside, and eventually the ant’s head falls off.
Scientists have imported these flies into the U.S. so they can be used as a biological
control method. One fly can terrorize hundreds of ants, putting a whole colony on the defensive.
These flies are super-specific to the species they attack, so scientists don’t think they’ll
become a threat to native ants. But even if phorid fly control works perfectly,
imported fire ants will remain permanent residents. The name “invicta” means “unconquered”
after all. Just like the people who accidentally brought
them here, these ants found themselves in a strange land of opportunity, just trying
to make the best of it. The bright side is that after decades of studying how to kill
‘em, the fire ant now rivals the honeybee as the best understood of all social insects.
And for all their stinging, they’ve taught us a ton about evolution, social behavior,
and of course parasites that make your head fall off. Karl von Frisch said something about those
honeybees that I think applies equally well to fire ants:
They’re “…like a magic well, the more you draw from it, the more there is to draw.” Who knows, each time we walk barefoot through
their little world, maybe they’ve just been begging to be noticed.
Stay curious.