War in the Insect Kingdom
Everywhere we come across them, small innocent insects, but most of them turn out not to be as innocent as you might think. Insects do not live peacefully in the forest, on the contrary. True wars are taking place between all kinds of insect species and many insect species have been adapted in such a way to maximize the chance of survival. It is amazing the means of some insects such as ants, bugs, parasitic wasps, beetles, spiders and grasshoppers, given their wonderful ways of hunting and self-defense in the struggle for survival. And these are just a few of the many warlike armed insects.
- Parasitic wasps
An ant species found in Malaysia sacrifices itself for its peers. For the ant species Camponotus sandersi, the survival of its ant colony is more important than its own life and is therefore actually capable of committing suicide if necessary. How? The ant has two huge glands that are filled with a poisonous substance. As soon as there is a threat around him, he tightens his muscles so that his glands burst, releasing the poison. As a result of this the ant itself dies, but also the enemy (s) around it on which this caustic poison lands. For example, he sacrifices himself and takes an enemy with him to his death, so that his colony is preserved.
Bugs carry their own spear. Their snout acts like a spear, with which they can pierce their prey. As soon as they stick their spear in an ant, for example, they also inject some liquid at the same time that breaks the interior of their prey into a drinkable substance, which is then sucked up via the spear. In this cruel way, a bug satisfies its hunger.
Parasitic wasps also use well thought-out tactics to get their food. The parasitic wasp Ampulex compressa has terrible stuff that can lead to a painful death for its prey. As soon as this parasitic wasp spots a cockroach while hunting, it proceeds as follows: first of all, the wasp pricks the cockroach, whereby the administered poison causes the cockroach’s front legs to paralyze. Then the wasp also delivers poison into the cockroach’s brain, causing the cockroach to lose its instinct to run and flee. Cockroaches are too heavy for wasps to take to their burrows, but now that the cockroach will not run away, the parasitic wasp can slowly drag the cockroach along. Once inside the parasitic wasp’s home, the cockroach will die in a very painful way. The parasitic wasp places its eggs in the cockroach, after which the larvae eat the still living animal from the inside.
The bombardier beetle is a species of beetle that has a rougher way of fighting. They have real bombs that they drop in the direction of their enemy (s). The bombardier beetle develops these toxic explosions in two glands in its abdomen. As soon as the beetle feels threatened or in need, the products of the two glands come together and the temperature is brought to the boiling point in a very short time with the help of catalysts and enzymes. The pressure increases so much that the caustic and very hot poison sprays from his abdomen. The bombardier beetle can inject the poison into the desired position by adopting different postures of the abdomen.
There are around 40,000 spider species (so far) known. A huge amount. That is why there are many different attack strategies among the spider species. The Cladomelea debeeri, also called bolaspin, has cowboy-like skills. This spider makes a sticky ball with a thread on it and it holds it with its legs. In addition, it lures its prey in a very devious way. This is because it produces counterfeit hormones and smells from female conspecifics of the prey. These hormones and smells indicate females who can have sex. The male prey is so attracted to this scent that the bolas spider can receive its prey with open arms. As soon as his prey is nearby, he throws his sticky ball at his prey like a cowboy, so that it sticks to the ball and the ball spider can easily drag in the loot.
The praying mantis sounds very peaceful, but it is quite the opposite. The praying mantis owes its name to its attitude, how could it be otherwise. The grasshopper keeps its front legs positioned in such a way that it appears as if it is praying. However, it waits patiently for prey to be torn to pieces by those same front legs. These praying legs are legs with sharp protrusions attached to the prey. The prey can then go nowhere and the grasshopper can eat the animal alive on its dead field.
It is a wonderful world that we are learning more and more about today through new research and advanced devices that we now have at our disposal.