Small World

Have you pondered and lost sleep over what happens to a leaf cutter ant when her teeth get worn down and she can’t cut it anymore? Is she reduced to bringing smaller and smaller bits of leaf back home until she gets laid off, or does she get left out there on her leaf, gumming away the rest of her days?


  A collaborative etymological project from guys at the U of Oregon and Oregon State U – the Ducks and the Beavers for the sporting types amongst us – have settled the issue. She changes her job. She takes up carrying leaf parts for the young blades who can slash with abandon, thus improving the efficiency of the whole operation and getting more leaf bits back to grow the fungi that the stay-at-homes are farming. A nice laid-back approach to career progression, no hanging onto jobs to avoid loss in status there.

Another exciting snippet from the insect world comes from the scientists at Yale who have been checking out the amorous behavior of the Squinting Bush Brown butterfly. Flashing each other is their preferred approach to getting together. Males like to do their flashing in the moist weather, leaving the females to get their own back by flashing at the males in the dry season. They have white centered spots on their wings that reflect ultraviolet light for effective flashing, maybe that’s why they are reduced to squinting. 

Leave a Reply