Why Aren’t There Giant Insects?


You ever had one of those terrible, terrible dreams and wake up wondering why there aren’t puppy-sized spiders? These days the largest insect on record is the Giant Weta of New Zealand which can grow up to 10 cm long and weigh around 70 grams, about the size of a small bird. But there was a time… when bugs… were very different. 300 million years ago, insects like the Meganeura Dragonfly with a wingspan of 65 cm across used to fill the skies along with other insects like… 8 times bigger than the ones that we have today. So why then, and not now? Well, Jon Harrison, physiologist at Arizona State University knows probably more about this than anybody else. So we asked him. And our first question was about the most common theory regarding insect size. For a long time experts believed that the weight of an insect’s exoskeleton was what prevented it from growing too much larger. However, Dr. Harrison said that there aren’t a lot of facts to back that up [Dr. Harrison] And, so, people have argued that really, that having an exoskeleton is not compatible with, with, um, being large The interesting thing is really, there’s very little data on that Umm, and the data that there is doesn’t really support it Uh, probably the one thing that supports that idea is the fact that, in the sea, we get much larger arthropods than we do get on land and, of course, in the sea they don’t have to support their bodies [Hank] Harrison also pointed out that the proportion of exoskeleton-to-body-size is the same in large insects as it is in small insects So, the exoskeleton idea sounds kinda like a non-starter So, what else you got, Doctor? [Harrison] Another idea that’s been put forward And that’s really been something that we’ve worked on a lot Uhh, is this idea that relates to oxygen delivery So, insects breathe in an entirely different way from, from humans They have a series of holes along the side of their body And then the oxygen comes in, Through these holes and goes, as a gas, In air-filled tubes And these tubes branch, kinda like a branching tree And get very small, down to the range of a micron in size So, really tiny Uh, and can get down close to every cell [Hank] These tiny tubes are called tracheoles and they deadend in the body cavity where Oxygen diffuses into the insect’s cells Dr. Harrison says that this could be a limiting factor for bugs’ growth In large insects, tracheoles would probably have to be really, really long which would make the diffusion of Oxygen difficult But, that might only be a problem given the Oxygen levels we have in the atmosphere today Another theory is that giant insects were possible in the past because there was a lot more Oxygen in the air [Harrison] And that idea has gotten some recent support From geologists who showed that In the late Paleozoic, atmospheric Oxygen rose to well above what it is today, Right now, it’s 21% Oxygen, In the late Paleozoic, we think it was about 32% Oxygen And that happens to coincide with when we had much larger insects than we have today And so that, kind of, has boosted this idea that Oxygen delivery is what keeps insects small And that higher Oxygen in the atmosphere could enable them to get bigger [Hank] In the end, Dr. Harrison says we don’t have definitive answers, only theories But, what ever the reason is, I, for one, am happy with bugs staying the size they are In fact, if we could get them a little smaller, I wouldn’t mind If you have any questions for experts, we are happy to try to find experts to answer them for you So, let us know those questions, or any other ideas or comments you have in the comments below Or on Facebook or Twitter And we’ll see you next time

Community Ecology: Feel the Love – Crash Course Ecology #4

Community Ecology: Feel the Love – Crash Course Ecology #4


I wouldn’t be much of a teacher if I didn’t tell you that life is tough and that everyone’s looking out for themselves in this world. That’s just the way it is, people. You know how I always say that biology is
ultimately about sex and not dying? Well both of those things are more difficult
than we’d like them to be, because of competition. There’s a finite amount of resources on this
planet, so evolution drives us to compete for them so that we can survive long enough to spread
our genes all over the place And naturally, competition is a really important part of how different species interact when their habitats overlap. These interactions between species are what
define ecological communities. So it makes sense that community ecology studies
these interactions anywhere they take place, from a tide pool to the whole ocean,
from a rotting log to an entire forest. But just because inter-species interaction
is mostly competitive doesn’t necessarily mean that community ecology is all about big, bloody, tooth-and-claw scenes like from cable-TV nature shows. Actually, a lot of it is, but we’re not going
to get there until next week. For now, let’s just note that competition,
while prevalent and important, is also pretty dangerous, kind of a hassle,
and can, like, really hurt. So a lot of inter-species interaction is actually
about sidestepping direct competition and instead finding ways to divvy up resources,
or otherwise let species just get along. Can you feel the love? [Theme Music] Careful guys! Because right now we’re surrounded potentially lethal interspecific competition going on all over the place. Since we’re animals, we usually think of competition
as going on between animals, but really it happens between almost all members
of the four kingdoms of life. Whenever species compete, they’re going after
the same resources that they need for their survival and continued population growth. In this garden, the weeds are competing with the sunflower, the corn and the dill for nutrients and water in the soil. So these resources, because they’re finite in this area, are the limiting factors that we’ve talked about. The population can only get as big as these
factors will allow. Now, a particularly nasty weed could, over
time, eliminate the veggies entirely. Such elimination is known as competitive exclusion, and it’s one of the most fundamental properties
in community ecology, and also, like, life. Because the fact is, when two species are
competing for the same resources, one of them is eventually going to be more
successful and eliminate the other. This bitter truth is known as the Competitive
Exclusion Principle, and it was first identified in 1934 by Russian
ecologist G. F. Gause in a study of two closely-related species
of microscopic protists. When he was only 22 years old, Gause made
a name for himself by conducting experiments that pitted one species of protist, Paramecium
aurelia, against another, Paramecium caudatum. First, Gause grew each species separately
with the exact same resources, and found that each developed rapidly and
established stable populations. But, when he grew them in the same container, P. caudatum was soon driven to extinction by P. aurelia. Paramecium aurelia gained a competitive advantage because its population grew slightly faster than P. caudatum’s. So Gause’s experiment showed that, in the
absence of another disturbance, two species that require the same resources
cannot live indefinitely in the same habitat. The inferior competitor will be eliminated. Makes sense, but if competitive exclusion
is the natural law of the land, then why isn’t all of earth just a crazy crap-circus
of constant competition, predation, and ultimately, extinction of all those losers? Well, for a couple of reasons:
first, not all resources are limiting. Two species of sharks may compete for water
in the ocean, but the ocean is, you know, gigantic. So that’s not what limits their population
growth. Rather, the amount of food, like a specific
fish that they both eat, could be limiting, while other resources are plentiful. Second, as the overwhelming diversity of life in almost any community shows us, most species — even ones that are almost identical to each
other — are adaptable enough to find a way to survive in the face of competition. They do this by finding an ecological niche,
the sum of all resources, both biotic and abiotic, that a species uses in its environment. You can think of an organism’s niche as its job in the community that provides it with a certain lifestyle. We tend to keep jobs that we can do better
than anyone else in our community, and if we’re desperate, we do a job that nobody
else wants to do. But no matter what job we have, what it pays
in terms of resources dictates our lifestyle. So finding a nice, comfy niche that you have
pretty much to yourself not only provides a steady income of food and other stuff, it also allows a species to avoid competitive
exclusion, and this, in turn, helps create a more stable ecological community. It’s and elegant and peaceful solution, I wish that we humans could figure out something as good, but as with anything in life, this relative
security and stability comes at a price. The bummer is that it prevents some species
from living the lifestyle that they could have if nobody else competed with them at
all. This ideal situation is called a fundamental
niche, and it’s just that, an ideal. Few, if any species ever get to live that
way. Instead, because of the need to avoid competitive
exclusion in order to survive, many species end up with a different job,
and hence lifestyle. It’s not necessarily the job that they studied
for in college, but it makes a decent living, and that’s called a realized niche. This, my friends, is how nature does conflict
management. But it sounds kind of unnatural, doesn’t it? I mean, Gause taught us that competition, and winning the competition, was the natural order of things. So how could it be that part of the natural order actually involves letting everyone compete and win just a little bit? And how did we ever come to discover that
things actually worked this way? Well, it took a special kind of person, and to to tell you about him, I’m going to need a special kind of chair. Canadian born ecologist Robert MacArthur was
in his late 20s when he made a discovery that made him one of the most influential
ecologists of the 20th century. While researching his doctoral thesis at Yale
University in 1958, he was studying five species of warblers that live in coniferous forests in the northeastern United States. At the time, because there were so many different species of warblers that lived, fed, and mated in such close quarters, many ornithologists thought that the birds
occupied the exact same niche and thus were an exception to Gause’s competitive
exclusion principle. But MacArthur was not convinced. A mathematician by training, he set out to
measure exactly how and where each kind of warbler did its foraging, nesting, and mating. In order to do this, he studied each tree the birds lived in, dividing them into zones, 16 zones to be exact, from bare lichen at the base of the trunk, to new needles and buds at the tips of the branches. After many seasons of observing many birds
in many trees, he found that each species of warbler divided its time differently among the various parts of the tree. One warbler, called the Cape May, for example, spent most of its time toward the outside of the tree at the top. Meanwhile, the Bay Breasted fed mostly around
the middle interior. MacArthur also found that each of the warblers
had different hunting and foraging habits and even bred at slightly different times of the year, so that their highest food requirements didn’t overlap. These differences illustrated how the warblers
partitioned their limiting resources, each finding its realized niche that allowed
it to escape the fate of competitive exclusion. The phenomenon he observed is now known as
resource partitioning, when similar species settle into separate
niches that let them coexist. Thanks in part to this discovery, MacArthur
became known as a pioneer of modern ecology, encouraging curiosity and hypothesis driven research, championing the use of genetics in ecological study, and collaborating with biologists like E.
O. Wilson and Jared Diamond. Sadly, he died of renal caner at the age of
42, but his study of northern warblers remains a classic example of community ecology that is still taught today. So, if organisms can do this, if they can
behave in ways that help minimize competition while increasing their odds for survival, it follows that traits associated with this
behavior would start being selected favorably. After all, that’s what natural selection is for. When this happens, it’s known as character displacement. To demonstrate, let’s go back to some other
famous ecologists, our favorite couple of evolutionary biologists
and love birds, Peter and Rosemary Grant. I told you before about how they observed the process of speciation among Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches. Well on the same island, Daphne Major, in 2006, they witnessed character displacement in action. For a long time, a small population of finches
had the island to themselves, where they ate a variety of seeds, including
seeds of the feverplant, which were bigger and more nutritious than
the smaller seeds that were available but were harder for the little finches to open. Then in 1982, a group of much bigger finches
showed up on the island, and they began to commandeer the island’s
abundant supply of feverplant seeds. Within just 20 years, the Grants found that
the small finches’ beaks shrunk to allow them to specialize in eating only the smaller,
less nutritious seeds. But now the little finches had those seeds
all to themselves. The traits of the two populations had actually diverged to help facilitate the partitioning of resources. See? Competition can be hard on us, but it
also can make us better people, or you know, finches or warblers or kangaroo
mice. But there are also kinds of interspecies interaction in which species actually join forces in the fights for survival. This is the ultimate in conflict-avoidance. In these cases species in a community actually
manage to avoid competition altogether by forming downright tight relationships that
benefit one, if not both, of the parties involved. You may have heard of both of these cases:
First, mutualism, where both species benefit, and commensalism, where one species benefits
and the other is kind of like, “Whatever.” Mutualism abounds in nature, and for those
who’ve been paying attention to Crash Course, you’ve heard me talk about it many, many times
before. A prime example [of mutualism] are mychorrhizae, the fungal root that we talked about a few weeks ago, where fungi and plant roots get tangled and essentially rub each other’s backs for nutritious favors. Others you may have heard about include flowering
plants that produce nectars to attract pollinators, and that bear fruit to attract animals to
help spread the seeds inside. Oftentimes these relationships become rather
needy, like in the case of termites — they can’t break down the cellulose in the
wood they eat without the enzymes produced by the microorganisms that live inside their
digestive systems. Without the little critters, the bigger critters
would die. Such a needy relationship is called obligate
mutualism. By contrast, commensalism is where one species definitely benefits and the other isn’t really hurt or helped. Such neutrality, of course, is difficult to prove because even a seemingly benign interaction probably has some effect. Barnacles, for example, hitchhike on gray
whales, getting a free ride through swaths of plankton-rich water for feeding. While clearly a benefit to the barnacles,
the relationship is often considered commensal because the whales probably don’t really care
whether the barnacles are there or not. Or do they? The barnacles might slow down
the whale as it swims through the water, but on the other hand, they might also serve as a type of camouflage from predators like orcas, in which case they confer an advantage. So it probably comes down to “meh” for the
whale. And when you consider all the other possibilities out there when species interact, “meh” isn’t such a bad option. Especially considering that next week, we’re
going for the throat, by which I mean we’ll be investigating the
kill-or-be-killed world of animal predation and all of the fantastic evolutionary changes it can trigger that lead to even greater diversity in ecological communities. There probably is going to be a lot of blood
though, so you might want to bring your poncho. Thank you for watching this episode of Crash
Course: Ecology. If you want to review anything, there’s a
table of contents over here for you to click on any of the parts that you may want to review. Much love and appreciation to all the people
who helped us put this episode together, and if you have any questions or comments or ideas, you can leave them for us on Facebook or on Twitter, or, of course, down in the comments below.

Hybridization of two termite invaders

Hybridization of two termite invaders


There are more than 2600 termite species in
the world and they play a key role in the flow of resources within ecosystems. However,
about 7% of termite species are considered pests to human structures because they feed
on processed wood. It has been estimated that worldwide, termites cost $40billion dollars
in damage and control every year, and most of this cost is attributed to two particular
species: the Formosan subterranean termite and the Asian Subterranean termite.
Both species are highly invasive, and have spread to many areas of the world because
of human activity. The Formosan subterranean termite originated in China and is now established
throughout the south-eastern United States. The Asian subterranean termite is a tropical
species originating from south-east Asia and has spread to Brazil and the Caribbean islands,
making it potentially the most invasive termite in the world.
Both species are in the same genus: Coptotermes. However, they have evolved separately for
thousands of years and had no interaction. But now, with their rapid spread as a result
of human activity, and despite that both species have different ecological niches, their distribution
now overlap in 3 distinct areas. In Taiwan, Hawaii, and South Florida.
Termites, like bees and ants are social insects. In the colony, the king and queen are in charge
of reproduction as the queen can lay hundreds of eggs per day. Workers supply everyone with
food and maintain the nest, while soldiers protect the colony from predators and competitors.
Mature colonies can reach populations in the millions, with a nest structure extending
underground up to 100 meters, explaining why they are so difficult to detect and control.
Once per year, such colonies produce thousands of winged individuals known as alates that
disperse during swarming events. These alates find a mate and become the kings and queens
of newly established colonies. In south Florida, where Formosan and Asian
subterranean termites are both invasive, it was thought that the two species had distinct
swarming seasons, preventing interspecies interaction. However in springs 2013 and 2014,
a team of entomologists from the University of Florida Ft Lauderdale research and education
center showed that alates of both species swarmed simultaneously. With the overlap of
distribution and mating seasons, the two most destructive termites in the world now have
the opportunity to interbreed. In fact, the entomologists showed thatAsian subterranean
termite male alates prefer to mate with Formosan females rather than females of their own species,
increasing the risk for hybridization. This is worrisome, as the combination of genes
between the two species results in highly vigorous hybridized colonies that can develop
twice as fast as the parental species. The establishment of hybrid Coptotermes populations
is therefore expected to result in dramatically increased levels of damage to structures in
the near future. Additionally, if hybridized colonies produce massive quantities of fertile
alates, this hybrid menace could inevitably make its way out of Florida.

Insect Cribs

Insect Cribs


Honey bees are the ultimate social creatures and they’ve evolved to organize themselves in complex and interesting ways in order toprogress and optimize the productivity of their species In fact, they’re what we call “eusocial” animals This is a term given to organisms that live in multi-generational groups, cooperatively take care of their young, have a caste system, and have a division of labor. In eusocial societies, the workers, soldiers, caretakers and reproducers are different not only in their behaviors but in their physiologies as well For instance, a worker bee can’t reproduce at all. There can only be one reproducer: the queen bee, and her name is Beyonce. Eusociality has been observed in the order hymenoptera, which includes the bees, wasps and ants as well as in termites But that doesn’t mean that every species within the order are eusocial. There are varying degrees of social groupings and a lot can be learned about their lifestyles by looking at the places they call home. So today, we bring you Insect Cribs. Fire ants. Fire ants are pretty crazy. They invaded the United States in the 1930s and spread like, well, wildfire. If they encounter a flood, they’ll band together into a giant ball and float away. The queen of one of these colonies can live up to 7 years and give birth to a thousand eggs a day So, needless to say they’re fairly difficult to get rid of and very resilient creatures. “Wherever man is, there the ant is also.” This is an upside down cast nest of a fire ant colony. It was created by pouring molton aluminum into the colony, which made impressions of the various tunnels and chambers. The method was developed by ant scientist Walter Tschinkle, who wanted to know more about what the underground ant homes looked like. They’re hard to draw and observe in 3 dimensions, so instead he had the idea to pour casting material into them What results is an intricately detailed impression of the colony, and reveals information about the colony’s size and scope. Carpenter Ants Not all eusocial ants make nests in the ground There’s nothing quite like living in what you think is a stable property, only to learn that the walls of your home are essentially made out of swiss cheese. And if that’s so, you can thank Carpenter Ants. Even though they’re a total nuisance to the homeowners, they play an important ecological role by helping to speed up the decaying process in nature There are more than a thousand species and although they live in and bore through wood, they’re not eating it. Carpenter ants are unable to digest plant cellulose Instead, they forage on dead insects They’ll eat the internal fluids and juices, then decapitate their prey and bring the head back to the colony so the insect’s brains can be fed to a choice family member. These ants also receive nutrition by milking aphids like a herd of little invertebrate cows. The aphids feed on plant sap, which is rich in sugars. Ants love sugars, so they use touch and chemical receptors to create herds of aphids and entice them to excrete those excess sugars out of their butts, on command. The ants eat the fluid, which scientists call honeydew, but lets be honest, it’s sugar poop. Delicious. Stinging Ants Ants don’t only live in dead trees. some living trees have made accommodations for them, too. Certain species of acai and vachellia trees and stinging ants have evolved to co-exist in a mutually beneficial way. These trees have hollow thorns, or in the case of the Whistling Thorn Vachellia, grow special bulbous thorn chambers that the ants can chew a hole into and that becomes their home. A single colony of ants will dominate a tree, and rush out to prevent herbivores from attacking the leaves. In return for the security, the tree provides the ants with food and nutrients But it’s been observed by some scientists that the absence of giraffes and elephants, like when a border fence is placed around a tree, over a number of of years the tree produces fewer thorns and resources for the ants, who have nowhere else to go, and there exists a high competition for trees Let’s just say it’s a relationship that’s a work in progress. Weaver Ants And when a plant doesn’t directly adapt to the presence of its host ants, some species have constructed their own homes, and they’re enlisting their kids to help out. Weaver ants live in trees and build their own nests out of it’s leaves with silk. But the adults can’t produce the silk themselves, so they pick up a larvae in their mandibles and use it like a glue stick, gently squeezing and moving back and forth to stitch the leaves together. The entire colony lives in these melon-sized nests- the queen and her entire hard working family. Paper Wasps Wasps have different social structures than most ants and bees, and there are many different kinds of social wasps. You’re probably most familiar with yellow jackets, which are semi-social insects. In a semisocial structure, there can be a dominant queen, but all members can reproduce and she can be overthrown if she becomes week or replaced if she dies. These wasps make delicate papery nests by mixing their saliva with wood fibers and then regurgitating the paste to build individual chambers for eggs. You can easily find these nests hanging from a tree, or probably your garage. and the colors of the nest can change depending on what sort of wood or paper is available. Given colored options, they’ll make a rainbow nest. Gall Wasps Some wasp species don’t live socially and therefore, don’t need social structures. Gall wasps lay each of their eggs into individual plant and leaf stems. The wasp uses an ovipositer, which looks like a big hypodermic needle, to insert an egg into the stem of a plant. The plant responds by creating a large swollen growth around the egg, and then the egg hatches, and the larva develops and grows by feeding off of the plant material. Plant galls have been majorly important to human commerce for thousands of years, because they contain high concentrations of tannins. Some of the first permanent writing ink was created by combining iron salts and tannic acids from these insect galls. But they’ve also been used in dyes, lamp fuel, and medicines. Potter wasps Like gall wasps, potter wasps live solitarily. But since they take care of their young for a certain amount of time, they’re considered sub-social animals. Instead of simply laying their eggs in a plant and moving on, The female potter wasp begins constructing vessels out of mud, and they resemble tiny little pots. As she’s building up the home, she ventures out to collect snacks for her baby, but instead of killing the prey, which are usually small caterpillars, she paralyses them. That way they don’t begin spoiling before the larvae can hatch and get around to chowing down. Then she lays her egg and seals up the container. Mud Daubers Similar to potter wasps, mud daubers create clay and mud containers to house their offspring But, they’re also insects with unintentional destructive tendencies. Instead of making a single chamber at a time, some make long, narrow tubes with multiple chambers The female deposits a paralysed spider into each chamber, drops in an egg, and then seals them up. But if they find a preexisting tube, they’ll use that instead, like in a case where a plastic pipe was left behind a shelf in a post office in Arkansas, and a mud dauber set up shop. But more seriously, mud daubers have been known to create nests in pilot tubes and outflow valves on airplanes. They’ve been responsible for at least 3 major airline crashes that killed more than 200 people since 1980. Termites And, to bring it back to the beginning, where queen honeybees are at the top of their reproductive game, Queen termites are essentially slaves to their colonies A queen and king termite will bury themselves underground and begin reproducing- and fast. A termite queen can lay an egg every 3 seconds for 15 years, resulting in a quarter of a billion babies in her lifetime. So some of these colonies can grow to be more than 30 feet high. Her body becomes so big and distended that she becomes imprisoned within her royal chamber, constantly being tended to by her offspring, who will eventually kill her by licking her to death, draining her body of all of its fats and fluids. It still has brains on it

The Replicator


Hi! I’m with Max Garett, and I just found out his position is called the replicator, which sounds like some kind of cool Transformer. – But, what is it that you do here? – Um, so, Here in the replication shop we make—or recreate objects that can’t be real or authentic for exhibits. – So everything that people see in the exhibits that is some kind of animal shape or recreation of a model—it’s made in house. – Yeah, so that could be anywhere from an animal to maybe an artifact—bones, remains, fossils, food. -That’s awesome.
-Yeah, a lot of food. – I did not even know until I started working here that many of the things were actually made here, so I think it’s really cool that you have this prop shop of sorts. – We’re working on an exhibit—Biomechanics—some things we have here are some baby loggerhead sea turtles. – They’re really cute. – The story behind them is the kind of built in GPS they have to migrate to the ocean, but this is something that I sculpted, and I took a mold of, and then cast into more durable material. So this is touchable. – Whoa! – So, something like this needs to be really strong so that anyone in the exhibit can’t break it, so these are— – Like kid proof.
– Exactly, yeah. – Okay. – And they’re pretty desirable too, to like take and stick in your pockets. – Oh yeah.
– Yeah, down on the deck pretty hard. – You caught me. You guys are gonna like check my pockets before I go, I’m gonna have like 12 baby sea turtles. – We made some extras, just because.
– Because they’re cute! – They’re so cute. They’re adorable. So this is, you know, cast is a plastic that is almost indestructible, painted with a paint that’s really durable. – Nice. – Just from everyone rubbing it and everything.
– Yeah. – It’s also really fun to make non-touchable objects, just ’cause you gotta— we’re really restricted on the materials we can use— can’t always come out exactly how we like it, but something like this Venus fly trap, which is not touchable— it’s going to be under kind of an acrylic dome—
– Mhmm. – Was really fun to work on and think about, because I got to use any material I wanted, so I could use a pretty nice rubber, paint it with something that’s not too durable, but looks really good, and airbrush it. In the Venus fly trap there’s trigger hairs—there’s 3 trigger hairs on each pad, and that’s what kind of makes the trap close on its prey and everything. So, I’m gonna have to inlay some little hairs in there too, which is really cool. – Is this actual size? Is this how big they are?
-Oh yeah, no, this is a five scaled up enlargement. – Oh, okay.
– Yeah. – Because this would be terrifying if I was in the forest.
– Yeah. – Like this would eat a person.
– I know, it’s from like a video game or… Yeah. – Yeah, oh, like Mario.
– Mario, yeah. Something like this also is a touchable, so this kind of snake is cast into—this is like all one solid piece, so this is all the same plastic, so it can never be really ripped off or anything. – Mhmm. – And it also needs to be painted with something that won’t rub off. – This is the flying snake—
– Yeah. – from Biomechanics.
– Yeah, this is the Paradise flying snake, and— – That sounds terrifying.
– Yeah. This kind of touchable part right here is why it’s kind of hanging off, and you can feel it’s— – Oh yeah.
– A heart was sculpted into it, – Oooh.
– because the way it kind of glides is it flattens its ribs and— One kind of defining feature is that its heart becomes pronounced in its chest— – Yeah. – because it flattens out, so there’s kind of a nice little area where you can—mess around with that. – That’s cool. – Yeah, all the kind of acrylic items are going to be pretty awesome, because they’re all going to be mounted and displayed on these kind of like, really big LED light disks—
– Whoa. – and just like illuminated above, yeah, so these are in these—cast in these nice water clear resins, which are really beautiful. and just to display the different chambers, we’re going to have a variety of different animals—I think this is a turtle heart. – Wow. – But there’s going to be like a turtle, a fish, amphibian, and these are all, you know, not to scale, but to see the different chambers, and everything. And these are just some different talons—different bird talons, like a Harpy Eagle, and stuff like that. – They’re beautiful. So, what else do you have? You have like a giant worm over here. – Yes, this large worm diorama. – Is this to scale?
– The worm actually is, yeah. – What? – This is from Queensland, Australia. It’s this large blue worm that gets to be about 3.5 feet long—it’s pretty awesome. – Wow. – It’s a hydrostatic skeleton, the way it kind of undulates its body to move through tunnels and everything. I got to 3D model this kind of shape, and then take it to the CNC machine, and—you know—cut it out. – The CNC being the magic table saw—
– Yeah, the beautiful robot— – Yeah.
– That makes things. The overall shape is pretty exact, and to do that by hand would have been pretty difficult— – Yeah. – So it’s nice to make this shape—but, you know, this was something also that originally we got the information from, and it was basically like create an excerpt of earth that can display the worm in its tunnels. We were able to kind of collaborate on a kind of more dynamic shape than just kind of like a block – Yeah.
– So we kind of created this like core sample of earth, kind of. – Do you have real—You have real twigs and stuff in there. – Yeah, the top layer was kind of like a recipe I made of real soil— so actually, the top is actually not even really replicated I guess, just dirt, but it’s like embedded with this resin. – I think I would be terrified walking around and then all of a sudden have this giant blue worm stick its head out of the ground. – Yeah, it’s pretty fantastic—and this is not even actually on of the largest earth worms. – What? – There’s some other ones that get to be about over 6 feet long. Kind of the same size in diameter, but, yeah. – I don’t even believe that. – This is a giant termite mound, and this is to display the architecture of the termite mound— – Wow. – and how the termites diffuse heat through their mounds, and how— kind of like contemporary architecture recreates that in some buildings today and everything – Is this actual size? Is this life size?
– Yeah, well this is on the smaller scale, but this is like— – What?
– the mean size of an actual termite mound. – And termites are not—they’re not big.
– No, they’re tiny. Yeah, they’re tiny. and like an actual termite mound too is—what it’s made of, their mounds are almost stronger than concrete, sometimes, and— – Whoa.
– But so, yeah, this is going to be done almost the same way. This is kind of an under-texture of fiberglass and a non-toxic resin we use – Okay. – And then we cover it in this kind of paste that the other one is covered in, and then texture it to make it look like dirt and earth. – Wow. – So, yeah, it starts off like this, and then it kind of goes to that as a next layer, and then we kind of coat it all. But this is too large to travel in one piece, so—
– Okay. – It’s going to be made into 2 separate pieces that kind of lock into each other. – Yeah, it’s massive.
– Yeah, it’s huge, it’s about 9 feet tall. But this is like the average size of a mound—I mean they can get way bigger too. – That’s insane.
– Yeah. – It makes me want to be an anteater.
– Yeah, I know – Like never ending food source. I like how you put Max—you carved your name in there.
– Just a test, you know— – Yeah. Do you guys—do you sign your work a lot? Like hide it in little places? Because I would. – It is fun to try to put little Easter eggs—there are like in a lot of dioramas around museums some little— people hide things, and stuff, that was made a long time ago. – Yeah.
– Yeah, maybe, maybe I’ll put something in there. – Whoa! – So that’s, that’s—so it’s going to be displayed like that, but it’s to—cartilage needs to be put on there, and then we cast in another water clear resin that’s kind of pigmented. Kind of pink for—it’s synovial fluid, I think it’s called—
– Yeah. – around the cartilage. But, so this is what’s kinda end up being like in displayed on— – That’s amazing.
– in a case like that. – So you must learn a lot of like biology and anatomy working in here. – Yeah,
– Synovial fluid, that is not a term most people know. – No. No. This is a recent thing for me, but yeah, it’s great because we have to do a lot of research on things also, but a project that comes along, we’re given in depth information packets by a developer – Mhmm. – to give us all the information that we need on what we’re doing and everything, so— yeah, no, there’s a lot of research and a lot of learning involved. – That’s cool. Learning is cool.
– Learning is cool. – We advocate learning on this channel. Is this actual size too?
– This is like as big as they get, yeah. – Someone was a little generous with this model.
– Yeah. little bit. – This thing is pretty big though. I would not want to be swimming and then run into this guy. – No. – Its eye is as big as my hand.
– Mhmm. – It must be really rewarding when you finally have the exhibit, and it opens, and people are running around putting their hands over everything. – Yeah, it’s super cool. I mean, for me at least, this is my first time in the replication shop making a lot of stuff from scratch and everything. It’s been—since I’ve been here, it’s a lot of like recreating things for shows that have already been built, so its been nice to make things from scratch and have some creative freedom and to change what an object— – That’s cool.
– looks like, yeah. – Yeah. I would have never imagined like having this kind of job, like having something where you have to be scientifically inclined, and you have to understand the reason why you’re trying to make something like this, make it presentable, – Mhmm.
– and make it fun. So what is your background in? – I studied sculpture at SAIC—School of the Art Institute of Chicago— – Nice. and I graduated in 2012, I was interning here my last semester— – Wow.
– and then they hired me. Full time, yeah. – That’s nice! So you haven’t even been here that long.
– No, like year and a half, yeah. It’s good. – How’s it been?
-Fantastic. – Good.
– Love it. – Good. We didn’t even pay him to say that.
– No, well… yeah. – A little bit.
– Yeah.

A Real Alien Invasion Is Coming to a Palm Tree Near You | Deep Look

A Real Alien Invasion Is Coming to a Palm Tree Near You | Deep Look


Aah, Southern California. Y’know, the whole “surf’s up, Tinseltown,
sun-soaked glamour” thing? Too bad this idyllic landscape is mostly make-believe. Take the palm trees. They’re not even real trees. They’re more closely related to grass. And they’re imported. Like this Canary Island date palm. It came halfway around the world to be one
of the more dazzling stars in the landscape. But this Hollywood success story is turning
into a horror movie. This little monster is the South American
palm weevil. Scientists first found it in San Diego in
2011. Weevils are just beetles… with snouts. This female uses hers as a drill, to get at
the palm’s apical meristem. It’s a bowl of juicy goodness at the top,
where the leaves sprout. She lays her eggs down in those tunnels. And her spawn eat the palm from the inside
out… starting with its heart. That’s right; it’s the same stuff you
can get at the supermarket. They’ll turn this palm’s healthy flesh
into a rotting mess that smells like a dumpster in the sun. Once they’re big enough, the larvae will
spin cigar-shaped cocoons from the leftover fibers they can’t eat. As the trees’ fronds starve and die, the
larvae hang out and gestate, morphing into pupae, and… Ew, that’s just, oh man… That’s gross. As adults, they burst out, take flight and
seek out a new host… leaving behind the dying, hollow shell of a once majestic palm. Mark Hoddle, at UC Riverside, is tracking
the weevil infestation. He puts them on a kind of aerial treadmill
in his lab to test their stamina. He’s trying to figure out how they got here,
whether they hitched a ride on imported palms, or made the trip themselves. Turns out they can fly up to 15 miles a day,
enough to hopscotch from palm to palm on their own. The only way to stop them: treat every palm
tree in their path with pesticides before the weevils get there. That’ll be tough to do. So these particular botanical icons could
be on the fast track to being just another Hollywood has-been. These weevils are pretty gnarly. So we asked Anna Rothschild from Gross Science
to do those animations for us. Thanks, Anna! ANNA: You’re welcome! It’s my pleasure. I love gross stuff. LAUREN: So there is one other way to manage
these larvae, sort of a biological control, which people do in some places, like Thailand,
Peru and Ghana. ANNA: Entomophagy! LAUREN: Eating bugs. Mmm. Tasty. ANNA: So hop over to my channel for a whole
episode about it. LAUREN: And thanks for watching this Deep
Look.

Insect Adventure, Part One

Insect Adventure, Part One


We’re here today because the town of Hanover and Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation have acquired this old soybean field and they’re restoring it as a prairie. And they’ve been working here for about six years and we’re surveying the insect population. Okay. So this is a carrion trap.
– Ewwww!! Wow.
– Oooh, lots of good stuff! So, there is lots of stuff in here. So how long was this in the ground for? Four and a half weeks, about a month.
– Really. And that’s a tea strainer, That’s a tea strainer.
– that you’re gonna strain through. That’s very sophisticated. Yeah, we are. So, it’s a carrion trap, so what does that mean? Okay, so this,
– Yeah. had four ounces of chicken liver in it- Sounds appetizing. -hung over the bucket. And the carrion trap- they’re compelled by the rotting meat smell to fall in. And there’s… Those are millipedes, yeah.
– What is it- those look like a lot of millipedes. Tons of millipedes.
– There’s a bunch of millipedes in here, bunch of grasshoppers. Oh, those are some huge grasshoppers. Yeah, this is one of the carrion beetles, Necrophila americana.
– Ohhh. Those are kinda cool looking. That’s one of the carrion beetles that we find here, and it’s really hard to tell what you’ve got until you get back to the museum and put it under the scope. Yeah, and identify a lot of the smaller ones.
– Yeah, and then you identify the smaller stuff. Lots of isopods- roly-polies. Yeah.
– Yeah, lots of different kinds of millipedes. How many different species of millipedes do you think are out here? Out here in this prairie?
– Yeah. Between fifteen and twenty. Really?
– Mmhmm. I didn’t know there were that many. There are at least six different orders of millipedes out here: Polydesmids, Spirobolids, Spirostreptids, Julids, Platydesmids, Polyxenidas, and possibly Polyzoniidas. So what does that mean? Do they have like, different numbers of legs or different numbers of body segments, or- They have different numbers of legs, different numbers of body segments, uh, their reproductive organs are in different places on the body. Oh, they’re not just like, where you would assume like, the genitals to be? No, some of them, the male genitals are on the second segment, some of them are on the seventh, some of them are on the eighth. So the second segment, like, on the neck.
– Just right behind the neck. So you have gonads like, on your head.
– Yeah, mhmm. That’s pretty crazy.
– They call them gonopods in millipedes. So they’re right behind, and they’re on the underside, on the belly.
– Okay, yeah. Right behind the head, or a few segments further down, or a few segments further down.
– Okay. And the females all have different types of genitalia as well. Well, you gotta correspond to the having gonads on your neck.
– Yeah. And then you just put the bucket back in the ground, and this is just propylene glycol. So you don’t want to use alcohol out here because it’ll evaporate.
– It’ll evaporate away. And so you use that…
– So you use propylene glycol, which is not toxic to mammals. So if a raccoon gets in, and drinks the fluid, it won’t hurt him. This is 50% propylene glycol, 50% water, and a couple of ounces of liquid dishsoap. And the dish soap breaks the surface tension.
– Okay. So when the insects fall in, they sink.
– Yeah, instead of… They don’t just float, because if they floated, in a couple hours the surface would be covered with insects. Other ones would land and just fly away.
– Ohh, I see. So they fall in, they sink, and they just keep falling in and sinking. Now here’s the part that’s so much fun for you. This is chicken liver, wrapped in gauze, tied up.
– That’s- Ooh. How long has this chicken liver been sitting out? About two and a half days at room temperature. So it’s starting to smell pretty good. Oh, mmm. It’s nice and fragrant, yeah.
– Isn’t that appetizing? So then you just hang that over the bucket, and the smell of the rotting chicken liver attracts all those carrion eating beetles. They fall in the bucket and sink down to the bottom. So why are you specifically trying to get carrion beetles? A lot of other things will fall in as well. Some of the beetles that are attracted to carrion are considered habitat indicators. One of the carrion beetles called Nicrophorus marginatus- that’s only found in fairly high quality prairies. The last set of traps we set had Nicropherus marginatus in it. They also had a scarab called Phanaeus vindex, which is a dung roller that is also only found in high quality prairies. So six years ago there were soybeans here, and now you’ve got a nice, healthy prairie.
– Yeah. So when you get a healthy prairie and you have all these good bugs as good indicators of how healthy the prairie is, that’s going to obviously attract birds and mammals, and all kinds of things to come back to this area
– If you get… that maybe hadn’t been here for years.
– If you’ve got good insects, you get more reptiles and amphibians, you get more birds. If you get more birds, more reptiles and amphibians, you get more mammals. And the populations and the community just keeps building and building over the years. This is exciting! So now we’ve got three or four pitfall traps,
– Okay. which are the same thing, but without the bait. Occasionally a mouse or something will fall in and it can’t get out, but then we take it to the mammal division at the museum.
– Oh, yeah. And it goes into their collections, and then they have records of them being here.
– Yeah. So nothing ever goes to waste.
– Yeah. And there’s some beetles, too. See the carabid beetles?
– Wow. Some grasshoppers, yeah. That’s a ground beetle, a carabid beetle.
– There’s some spiders in there. Yeah, there’s spiders, and you don’t usually find very many spiders in carrion traps, because most spiders are actually repulsed by the smell of carrion.
– Really? So spiders walk up close to a carrion trap, and then veer away. Oh, that’s interesting. I would have thought that everything would just, you know, swarm to the stink smell. There are a lot of beetles that are repulsed by the smell of carrion also.
– Right. Oh, okay. So they fall into these kinds of traps. So you gotta make sure you have diverse, different ways of collecting everything. The more ways you have of collecting, the more different types of insects you’re going to find. So far we’ve collected 800 spiders and insects at this point,
– Wow. in just over the same period of four weeks. 800 different species in four weeks.
– In four weeks, yes. We could easily find 1200-1500 over a full summer. So we should get a whole lot more than we have so far.
– That’s exciting. I can see where you’d really get into this. This seems relatively low technology. It is really very low cost, low technology, and basically, anybody can do it. You can go to the car part store and get a little bit of propylene glycol, put the holes in the ground,
– You just need some dish soap. some dish soap, some water,
– some old railroad spikes. and, to do the carrion trap, a little bit of chicken liver. You could set a full set of traps for fifteen bucks.
– That’s awesome. And then some alcohol, some rubbing alcohol to put them in.
– Yeah. Come on, start. We’re gonna go back, right in there between those trees and string the line. It is beautiful back here. Isn’t this a cool place? Yeah. This is gorgeous. Have you set up a sheet back here before? Yeah, I have, and if the weather’s good, it does pretty well.
– And… If the weather’s too cold, it doesn’t do anything. Okay. Bring it back around again. You have to have one to hang the sheet from and one to hang the light from. Oh, that makes sense. How long have you been doing this? How, like, how long have you been going out into the field and collecting bugs? 17-18 years now. I’d collect live things and bring them home and watch them.
– And watch them? I’d watch caterpillars eat, and grow, and spin their cocoons, and
– Yeah. wait for them to emerge whenever they came out. You know, there’s an old saying- If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.
– Yeah. I get a paycheck every other week, but I haven’t worked in 18 years. For me it’s great fun, and I get paid for it. I get paid for my hobby, what could be better? This will hold it down and keep the sheet from blowing. Ohp, there was a spider. This is a mercury halide light. It’s a 250 watt bulb. And that gets hung up here.

The World War of the Ants – The Army Ant

The World War of the Ants – The Army Ant


Some groups just don’t get along.​Some groups just don’t get along.​Every day, billions of soldiers fight a merciless war​Every day, billions of soldiers fight a merciless war​on thousands of fronts, and it’s
been going on for over 100 million years.​
on thousands of fronts, and it’s
been going on for over 100 million years.​
The World War of the Ants.​The World War of the Ants.​Ants are ancient beings that
arose around 160 million years ago,​
Ants are ancient beings that
arose around 160 million years ago,​
and took over a wide variety of
ecological niches so successfully​
and took over a wide variety of
ecological niches so successfully​
that they became one of the
dominant animals on planet Earth.​
that they became one of the
dominant animals on planet Earth.​
Today, they count more than 16,000 different species​Today, they count more than 16,000 different species​with over 10 thousand trillion individuals.​with over 10 thousand trillion individuals.​Collectively, ants alone make up
20% of the entire animal biomass on land.​
Collectively, ants alone make up
20% of the entire animal biomass on land.​
Similar to humans, their
recipe for success is collaboration.​
Similar to humans, their
recipe for success is collaboration.​
While a single ant is pretty useless,​While a single ant is pretty useless,​together, they are able to achieve stunning feats.​together, they are able to achieve stunning feats.​They construct complex colonies,​They construct complex colonies,​care for livestock,​care for livestock,​pursue agriculture,​pursue agriculture,​or have complex symbiotic relationships.​or have complex symbiotic relationships.​And, of course, ants wage war.​And, of course, ants wage war.​Even among the same species, a
constant state of conflict is pretty common.​
Even among the same species, a
constant state of conflict is pretty common.​
Skirmishes, raids, and full-on invasions​Skirmishes, raids, and full-on invasions​are happening every day,
causing millions of casualties.​
are happening every day,
causing millions of casualties.​
Let’s look at some of the most
interesting ones in a series of videos.​
Let’s look at some of the most
interesting ones in a series of videos.​
In this one, the ​​army ant​—a swarm made for war.​In this one, the ​​army ant​—a swarm made for war.​The army ant group consists of about 200 different species.​The army ant group consists of about 200 different species.​Army ants do not build nests;
they live a sort-of nomadic lifestyle​
Army ants do not build nests;
they live a sort-of nomadic lifestyle​
with groups of millions of individuals.​with groups of millions of individuals.​On a hunt, some species form
large columns up to 100 meters long,​
On a hunt, some species form
large columns up to 100 meters long,​
killing and immediately dismembering every
insect or small vertebrate they encounter.​
killing and immediately dismembering every
insect or small vertebrate they encounter.​
The biggest hunting parties can
kill up to 500,000 animals per day.​
The biggest hunting parties can
kill up to 500,000 animals per day.​
Some army ants specialize in
hunting and consuming other social insects​
Some army ants specialize in
hunting and consuming other social insects​
like termites, wasps,
and especially other ants.​
like termites, wasps,
and especially other ants.​
Wasps are fierce, and may seem invulnerable,​Wasps are fierce, and may seem invulnerable,​but if a swarm makes
its way to their colonies​
but if a swarm makes
its way to their colonies​
they don’t even stand a chance.​they don’t even stand a chance.​The much bigger and stronger
wasps might kill a few of them,​
The much bigger and stronger
wasps might kill a few of them,​
but they are quickly overwhelmed.​but they are quickly overwhelmed.​Even if their queen survives an attack,​Even if their queen survives an attack,​the army ants steal the colony’s
larvae, and quickly devour them.​
the army ants steal the colony’s
larvae, and quickly devour them.​
There is no recovery from that.​There is no recovery from that.​When army ants discover another
ant colony, they immediately attack.​
When army ants discover another
ant colony, they immediately attack.​
Now, you might think this would
be a more even battle, but it’s not.​
Now, you might think this would
be a more even battle, but it’s not.​
Because army ants act as a social unit,​Because army ants act as a social unit,​they are especially dangerous and effective.​they are especially dangerous and effective.​Most army ants are not
particularly impressive individually,​
Most army ants are not
particularly impressive individually,​
but they can overwhelm their
victims with sheer numbers​
but they can overwhelm their
victims with sheer numbers​
before the victim colony
can mount an effective defense.​
before the victim colony
can mount an effective defense.​
And so, invasions tend
to be won by the attackers​
And so, invasions tend
to be won by the attackers​
and the prey colony
is damaged significantly,​
and the prey colony
is damaged significantly,​
or is exterminated.​or is exterminated.​Interestingly, army ants
don’t fight army ants.​
Interestingly, army ants
don’t fight army ants.​
When two swarms encounter
each other in the wild,​
When two swarms encounter
each other in the wild,​
they either pass through each
other, ignoring the other swarm,​
they either pass through each
other, ignoring the other swarm,​
or both colonies just move away.​or both colonies just move away.​Which makes sense from
an evolutionary standpoint.​
Which makes sense from
an evolutionary standpoint.​
Army ants that fought other army ants​Army ants that fought other army ants​probably eradicated themselves
millions of years ago.​
probably eradicated themselves
millions of years ago.​
Indeed, they’re so deadly,
that other ant species had to specialize​
Indeed, they’re so deadly,
that other ant species had to specialize​
to survive their presence.​to survive their presence.​Many species just panic and evacuate their
nest when they notice army ant scouts​
Many species just panic and evacuate their
nest when they notice army ant scouts​
carrying as many larvae with them as they can,​carrying as many larvae with them as they can,​in order to return and
rebuild after the attack.​
in order to return and
rebuild after the attack.​
Other species have invented living
bunkers, since fighting is so futile.​
Other species have invented living
bunkers, since fighting is so futile.​
They have worker classes
that have big square heads.​
They have worker classes
that have big square heads.​
When army ants show up,​When army ants show up,​they use them to block
the entrances to their nests,​
they use them to block
the entrances to their nests,​
so the attackers have to give up after a while.​so the attackers have to give up after a while.​But, not everybody is afraid of army ants.​But, not everybody is afraid of army ants.​Leafcutter ants form some of
the largest and most complex societies​
Leafcutter ants form some of
the largest and most complex societies​
of any animal other than humans.​of any animal other than humans.​They live in extensive nests,
many meters deep and across,​
They live in extensive nests,
many meters deep and across,​
harboring millions of citizens with a
highly-sophisticated division of labor.​
harboring millions of citizens with a
highly-sophisticated division of labor.​
Like huge soldiers—100 times
more massive than a worker.​
Like huge soldiers—100 times
more massive than a worker.​
Their sole purpose might be to
defend their colonies against army ants.​
Their sole purpose might be to
defend their colonies against army ants.​
They still have a nemesis though.​They still have a nemesis though.​The diet of the army ant​
​species ​​Nomamyrmex esenbekii​
The diet of the army ant​
​species ​​Nomamyrmex esenbekii​
consists mostly of the larvae of other ants.​consists mostly of the larvae of other ants.​Compared to other army ants, they
have a more robust soldier cast.​
Compared to other army ants, they
have a more robust soldier cast.​
So far, they are the only known species that can
successfully attack a mature colony of leafcutters.​
So far, they are the only known species that can
successfully attack a mature colony of leafcutters.​
When they find a leafcutter colony, hundreds
of thousands attack in a long column.​
When they find a leafcutter colony, hundreds
of thousands attack in a long column.​
The moment the leafcutter ants notice the
army ant attack, they go into crisis mode​
The moment the leafcutter ants notice the
army ant attack, they go into crisis mode​
and immediately alert their soldiers, who
very quickly swarm to the site of attack.​
and immediately alert their soldiers, who
very quickly swarm to the site of attack.​
A frontline develops that can be a few
meters wide, and up to a meter deep.​
A frontline develops that can be a few
meters wide, and up to a meter deep.​
The leafcutter soldiers go
head-to-head with the army ants,​
The leafcutter soldiers go
head-to-head with the army ants,​
locking on them, and try
to cut through their heads.​
locking on them, and try
to cut through their heads.​
Smaller leafcutter workers help
by grabbing the enemies.​
Smaller leafcutter workers help
by grabbing the enemies.​
Small teams carry out
attacks behind the frontline,​
Small teams carry out
attacks behind the frontline,​
where they dismember their enemies
by ripping their legs from their bodies.​
where they dismember their enemies
by ripping their legs from their bodies.​
The attackers, meanwhile, try
to swarm their victim soldiers,​
The attackers, meanwhile, try
to swarm their victim soldiers,​
and sting them to death in a mob.​and sting them to death in a mob.​Despite the powerful defense,
and the determined response,​
Despite the powerful defense,
and the determined response,​
the army ants are still superior in numbers.​the army ants are still superior in numbers.​So, without knowing if the battle can be
won, the leafcutters prepare for the worst.​
So, without knowing if the battle can be
won, the leafcutters prepare for the worst.​
Workers rush to create barricades,​Workers rush to create barricades,​and seal off as many entrances to their
nest as possible to secure their brood.​
and seal off as many entrances to their
nest as possible to secure their brood.​
If the leafcutters are not
able to repel the invaders,​
If the leafcutters are not
able to repel the invaders,​
or at least barricade enough
of their entrances in time,​
or at least barricade enough
of their entrances in time,​
the army ants swarm the nest,
overrunning all opposition.​
the army ants swarm the nest,
overrunning all opposition.​
They penetrate deep into the hidden chambers,​They penetrate deep into the hidden chambers,​and steal tens of thousands
of the leafcutters’ brood to eat them.​
and steal tens of thousands
of the leafcutters’ brood to eat them.​
Even if the leafcutter colony
survives, this is a heavy blow.​
Even if the leafcutter colony
survives, this is a heavy blow.​
Regardless who has won the war,
thousands lay slain on the battlefield.​
Regardless who has won the war,
thousands lay slain on the battlefield.​
When the army ants attack, death follows them.​When the army ants attack, death follows them.​But, there are other species that
form much more dangerous ant armies.​
But, there are other species that
form much more dangerous ant armies.​
Species that form supercolonies,
covering thousands of square kilometers​
Species that form supercolonies,
covering thousands of square kilometers​
over multiple continents, engaging
in wars kilometers across.​
over multiple continents, engaging
in wars kilometers across.​
They deserve their own video though.​They deserve their own video though.​No matter the scale, war
is a part of ant existence,​
No matter the scale, war
is a part of ant existence,​
be it between huge colonies or small
groups trying to fend off a raid.​
be it between huge colonies or small
groups trying to fend off a raid.​
In tropical rainforests, but also in the
cracks of the concrete we walk over every day.​
In tropical rainforests, but also in the
cracks of the concrete we walk over every day.​
Humans have decided that war is not a
thing that they want to do a lot anymore.​
Humans have decided that war is not a
thing that they want to do a lot anymore.​
For ants, though, the other ant
will always be the enemy.​
For ants, though, the other ant
will always be the enemy.​
No, some groups just don’t get along.​No, some groups just don’t get along.​If you can’t get enough of ants, we’re
developing Part 2 of the Ant Series​
If you can’t get enough of ants, we’re
developing Part 2 of the Ant Series​
right now with the support of ​​CuriosityStream​.​right now with the support of ​​CuriosityStream​.​CuriosityStream is a subscription streaming
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What If All The Bugs In The World Disappeared?

What If All The Bugs In The World Disappeared?


Lets face it, bugs suck. They sting us, bite us, infect us…and frankly…they
just annoy us in general. Bugs aren’t only annoying, they spread diseases
that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. But would we really be better off without
them? Hello and welcome back to lifes biggest questions,
I’m charlotte dobre. Don’t forget to give this video a thumbs
up and subscribe for more. Today, Lifes biggest questions asks, what
if all the bugs died? There are a LOT of insects on planet earth. There are 7 billion people on planet earth,
and insects outnumber humans by at least 1000 to 1. You do the math. Insects were one of the first animals to transition
from sea to land. They were around way before the dinosaurs,
some 170 million years before. There would definitely be some pros if all
the bugs died. Mosquito borne Diseases like malaria and dengue
fever infect millions of people on this planet every year. Fleas terrorize our pets. Bed bugs and termites infiltrate our homes. Without bugs, all of those issues would disappear. If there were no insects, farmers wouldn’t
have to use insecticides anymore…500 million pounds of chemicals are sprayed on plants
in the united states alone to prevent crops from being eaten. Insecticides control pests, yes, but they
can poison people and get into water supplies. Not to mention, they are are really bad for
the environment. But if there were no more insects… there
will also be very few plants in the first place. Truthfully, without bugs, the world would
begin to fall apart. Around 80 percent of the plants on earth are
Angiosperms , which are flowering plants that need to be pollenated by, you guessed it,
insects. Insects physically transfer pollen from a
male anther to a female stigma inside a flower. Yes, animals and birds can pollenate plants
as well, but the majority of pollination is done by insects like bees, butterflies and
beetles. Without insects, most plants on earth would
disappear, and that poses a big problem. Plants make up anywhere from 50 to 90 percent
of the human diet, and Plants also feed the animals and birds we eat. What are 7 billion people going to eat if
most plants and animals disappear? If all the bugs died, that sets off a domino
effect where the end result is the starvation of most life on earth. Bugs also assist funghi in decomposing organic
matter like carcasses. Without bugs to help along decomposition,
dead bodies and dead trees will linger around much longer. Without bugs, we would have none of the things
produced by bugs either. That means no honey and definitely no silk. Honey and silk have been around since the
beginning of human history, an you imagine a world without either of those things? And the scary thing is, bees are already dying
off at an alarming rate, and so are many other insects. Thanks to pesticides, disease and habitat
loss, many insect populations are declining, especially that of honey bees. Honey bees are extremely vital. They pollenate 70 of the 100 crop species
that feed 90 percent of the world. To break it down, honey bees are responsible
for 30 billion dollars’ worth of crops every year. Humans are affecting insect populations in
other ways as well. Climate change is affecting the hatching of
insects and blooming flowers in the spring. Insects need to hatch within weeks of flowers
first beginning to bloom, in order for fertilization to occur. Even pesky mosquitos have a role to play. They are easy for predators to catch and they
are apparently delicious. Lizards, frogs, fish, spiders and other insects
rely on mosquitos as a primary foodsource. So, to wrap it up, even though bugs are annoying
and sometimes deadly, but if they died off, we would be in a terrible position. Thank you so much for watching this video
until the end, On the screen right now oyu will see a link to our patreon, where you
can donate as little as a few dollars to lifes biggest questions. There are different perks depending on how
much you would like to donate, so check out the link to find out what they are, and also
to find out what the hosts of LBQ look like. And if you would like to continue watching
IO, check out our video, what if the internet was never invented.

A simple way to tell insects apart – Anika Hazra

A simple way to tell insects apart – Anika Hazra


A whip-like straw. Powerful, crushing blades. A pointed, piercing tube. There are nearly a million
known insect species in the world, but most have one of just
five common types of mouthparts. And that’s extremely useful to scientists because when they encounter
an unfamiliar insect in the wild, they can learn a lot about it
just by examining how it eats. Scientific classification, or taxonomy, is used to organize all
living things into seven levels: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The features of an insect’s mouthparts can
help identify which order it belongs to, while also providing clues about how
it evolved and what it feeds on. The chewing mouthpart is the most common. It’s also the most primitive— all other mouthparts are thought to have
started out looking like this one before evolving into something different. It features a pair
of jaws called mandibles with toothed inner edges that cut up
and crush solid foods, like leaves or other insects. You can find this mouthpart
on ants from the Hymenoptera order, grasshoppers and crickets
of the Orthoptera order, dragonflies of the Odonata order, and beetles of the Coleoptera order. The piercing-sucking mouthpart consists of
a long, tube-like structure called a beak. This beak can pierce plant
or animal tissue to suck up liquids like sap or blood. It can also secrete saliva
with digestive enzymes that liquefy food for easier sucking. Insects in the Hemiptera order
have piercing-sucking mouthparts and include bed bugs, cicadas, aphids, and leafhoppers. The siphoning mouthpart, a friendlier version
of the piercing and sucking beak, also consists of a long, tube-like
structure called a proboscis that works like a straw
to suck up nectar from flowers. Insects of the Lepidoptera order— butterflies and moths— keep their proboscises rolled
up tightly beneath their heads when they’re not feeding and unfurl them when
they come across some sweet nectar. With the sponging mouthpart,
there’s yet another tube, this time ending in two spongy lobes that contain many finer
tubes called pseudotracheae. The pseudotracheae secrete
enzyme-filled saliva and soak up fluids
and dissolved foods by capillary action. House flies, fruit flies, and the other non-biting
members of the Diptera order are the only insects
that use this technique. But, there’s a catch. Biting flies within Diptera, like mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies, have a piercing-sucking mouthpart
instead of the sponging mouthpart. And finally, the chewing-lapping mouthpart
is a combination of mandibles and a proboscis with a tongue-like
structure at its tip for lapping up nectar. On this type of mouthpart, the mandibles themselves
are not actually used for eating. For bees and wasps,
members of the Hymenoptera order, they serve instead as tools
for pollen-collecting and wax-molding. Of course, in nature, there are always
exceptions to the rules. The juvenile stages of some insects,
for example, have completely different kinds
of mouths than their adult versions, like caterpillars, which use chewing
mouthparts to devour leaves before metamorphosing into
butterflies and moths with siphoning mouthparts. Still, mouthpart identification can,
for the most part, help scientists—and you
—categorize insects. So why not break out a magnifying lens and learn a little more about
who’s nibbling your vegetable garden, biting your arm, or just flying by your ear.