To escape from its predators, the ant larva plays the role of the dead

The “House of Knowledge” is like a collection of stories. Beautiful stories that tell the living in all its freshness. But also, in all its complexities. Arch to marvel at the world’s treasures. In this new episode, let’s discover a very common, but not necessarily very well known insect: the antelope.

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Thanatosis, did you know? This is the name that researchers give to the behavior of certain animals that, in order to escape from their predator, simulate death. Some insects have picked up on this habit. to Beetles, Especially. Some Reptiles Also. Snake example. Who takes the opportunity to even release a file Liquid Who gives The smell of the corpse. Birds are also sometimes followers of the dead. Kingfisher or duckling. And then there isOpossumFor example. As for the fox, it is a little different. He is a hunter. If he falsifies his death, it means that he is placing his prey in safety and being able to catch it more easily. Cunning … the fox!

Okay, okay, but how effective is this little game? And how long can it last? In his days Charles Darwin He was able to observe a beetle that had been motionless for at least 23 minutes. But this record appears to have been broken recently. to University of Bristol researchers (United Kingdom) report after the study of prof Larvae Of remaining ants dead for more than an hour: 61 minutes to be exact.

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When it comes to the effectiveness of the strategy, researchers rely on what they call it theory From the marginal value of its conclusion. Boundary value theory? Do not panic, it is not difficult to understand. Imagine yourself in A garden full of berries. You walk toward the closest to you and start devouring its fruit. The more you eat, the fewer fruits left on the bush, and the longer it takes to pick more. Therefore, to eat as much fruit as possible as quickly as possible, you will soon have to decide to switch to another berry tree. And this is exactly where the marginal value theory comes in. It can tell you how much time to spend on each bush to improve your harvest.

Cunning prey, an accomplished predator

Well, now back to the ant larva. When she plays the dead, she kind of encourages the bird The greed to move forward and search for prey elsewhere. A little like a magician lightly distracts us. Computer simulations showed the researchers that ant larvae learned to stay still … just long enough. In a completely unpredictable way for a predator.

A trick that allows an ant larva to efficiently survive. But did you know that when it ends up on the other side of the food chainIn the role of predator, the antionic larva also knows how to show dexterity? Must. The ant actually lives as a larva for two years. And it is not easy for him to find food. Its solution: drill a funnel-shaped hole in Sable. Dreadful traps Ants That ventures there and then slides irreparably towards the bottom. A little helped, he must admit, from the sand that ant larvae throw at them from the bottom.

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So here is a file an insect, Both predator and prey, who knew how to develop strategies to defend themselves and also to hunt more effectively. Not that stupid … an antelope caterpillar!

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