Animals Food Misc Musings

Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp

figsFigs are not technically a fruit, they are actually more like an inverted flower. These are known as a syconium where flowers and seeds are borne. Due to the fact that the flower is inverted, most pollinating insects cannot get to the pollen. Without pollination the fig tree wouldn’t be able to reproduce.

This is where the fig wasp comes into play. The fig tree and the fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes) have evolved a mutual relationship. The fig tree can only be pollinated with the help of the fig wasp and the fig wasp can only reproduce inside a fig syconium.

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Animals Planet Earth

What is The Schmidt Sting Pain Index?

Angry-HornetIt is called the Schmidt Pain Index and is the work of Justin O. Schmidt, who has been stung by 78 types of venomous insect and documented his experiences.

The stings are ranked from 0, which is quite harmless, to a 4 which is excruciatingly painful. Alongside the numerical rating of the stings, Schmidt also writes a sentence or two about his experience, for example the Bullet Ant, rated the highest on the scale, features the following sentence: “Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.”

The Bullet Ant is rated highest on the pain index, as it is not only excruciatingly painful but the pain can remain just as intense for up to 5 hours after being stung and can remain for up to 24 hours.

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Animals

There is a Species of Ant that has a Door for a Head

Door Head AntAnts are one of the oldest species of insect on Earth and inhabit almost every landmass today. It is an interesting fact that the total biomass of all the ants on the earth is roughly equal to the biomass of all the humans, how can this be when they are so tiny? Simple, there are around 1.5 million ants on the planet for every human and over 12,000 different species, for every single acre of land in the rainforest there are estimated to be 3.5 million ants.

One of the more interesting species of ant are the Cephalotes ants, more fondly known as the door-headed ants. These ants make their nests in holes in trees formed by wood boring beetles, however there are other ants and insects that also want to live inside these nests or even eat the ants, that’s why they need a door to keep other nosy insects out. The ants don’t use a block of wood like we do, they use their own heads.

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Animals

There is a Centipede in South America that Eats Bats

Megarian-Banded-Centipede-Scolopendra-cingulataWhat is the difference between a Centipede and a Millipede? Not just the number of legs as the name might suggest. There are many differences between the two, the main one being that Millipedes are scavengers and feed primarily on decaying organic matter and also eat the roots and leaves of plants, however Centipedes are a predator.

Centipedes come equipped with modified front legs, which are loaded with a deadly venom that they can use to hunt and kill small creatures, most common centipedes (like the ones you might find in your garden) use this venom to hunt small insects and arachnids. However, there is a type of centipede in South America called Scolopendra gigantea or as it is more commonly known; the Amazonian Giant Centipede, which is the largest of all centipedes, known to grow to up to 35cm long (the length of a man’s arm!). These terrifying creatures are known to thrive in dark caves and feast on lizards, frogs, mice, snakes and even birds and bats.

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