Evolution is just too cool!

One of the joys of cool students (who eventually turn into cool alums) is they send you pointers to crazy weird stuff they find on-line. Like photos of carrion beetles!
Carrion beetle from insectpod.com

OK, so the photo itself probably doesn’t wow you (unless you’re another carrion beetle), but the write up on this little critter is pretty cool. The real kicker, though, is the follow-up post and photo.

All those little red guys are mites that hitch a ride on the underside of the beetle, and you might reasonably wonder why the beetle tolerates them (esp. in such numbers).

Carrion beetle with mites from insectpod.com

Because they eat fly eggs and maggots which present a real threat to the carrion beetles’ wee ones. Because the flies, well, fly, they can get to the dead bodies faster than the beetles typically can, and their maggots can strip a little mouse corpse before the carrion beetle couple can get their brood up and running. So the beetles are quite happy to bring along a gaggle of mites, who then clear out any fly bits without bothering the beetles or their offspring.

A rockin’ example of symbiosis if I ever saw one. Tip o’ the cap to MJ for the pointers, and to insectpod.com for the photos and explanation of what’s going on.

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3 thoughts on “Evolution is just too cool!”

  1. I’m glad my “Nic would find this cool” sense seems to be at least occasionally accurate. :-D

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