Wednesday, 11 April 2012

...Some Caterpillars Puke.

One of the stranger things I find about the animal kingdom are some of the ways animals defend themselves. Some are obvious like a poisonous snake or thorns on a rose bush, but some are odd. Like how a squid shoots ink or how a hagfish makes the water around it all slimy or fainting goats are all odd examples. Some caterpillars puke because it smells awful, bad enough that a little drop of the stuff scares away birds and other, much bigger, predators.

If you're going to regurgitate to defend yourself, regurgitate into this.
The stranger part of this caterpillar is that it usually only throws up when alone. The defence act does harm to the caterpillar in the long run and they try not to do it. By vomiting they now have empty stomachs and no food for energy. The lack of food leads to predictable problems such as lower survival rates, less egg production in females, and slower growth. But I suppose being smaller is better than being dead.
Last one to puke dies.
So why do they do it alone? Turns out they also like to gamble. When in a group they won't throw up for a very long time/unless they HAVE to. In a group they have a dramatically less chance of getting picked up by a bird. They're also competing for food on the same leaf so not purposely blowing  chunks is a good thing.

And that is what I learned today.

-I should cheer for the Jets
-Some workout rules are wrong.

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