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Sneaky Stick Insects

November 19th, 2015

Sneaky Stick Insects

Stick insects are masters of disguise, convincing predator and prey alike that they are simply twigs attached to branches. However, their cleverness doesn’t end there. Stick insects use a unique method to get their children raised and fed without them having to do any of the work. These ingenious insects attach knobs to their eggs, which they then coat in a fatty acid that is irresistible to ants. Rather than wait for the eggs to hatch and raise their young themselves, the female insects simply drop their eggs on the ground and wait for some ants to come pick it up and bring it back to their nest. The egg  then remains safe and protected with the ants until it hatches.

Scientists decided to test this theory out by spreading eggs, half covered with the fatty acid and half without it, near ant nests and see which ones the ants picked up. While the ants completely ignored the eggs without the fatty acid covering, they picked up 40 percent of the eggs with the coating.

Do you think stick insects are clever? What do you think about their method of child rearing?

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