Termites’ wood-heavy diet offers little nitrogen, a critical nutrient for growth and reproduction. But their exoskeletons are nitrogen rich, and new research shows that eating shed exoskeletons after molting is a core strategy for recycling nitrogen throughout the termite colony and boosting the queen’s egg-laying.
From mouthparts and antennae to legs, wings, and even ovipositors—insects taste with a host of body parts that far outpaces mere tongues. A new review in Annals of the Entomological Society of America tallies tasting techniques in insects and finds a line of research ripe for deeper exploration.
Sibling rivalry takes a grim turn in the parasitoid wasp species Isodontia harmandi, as larvae commonly cannibalize their nest mates. A new study suggests the stronger larvae eat their siblings both to grab an easy meal and to reduce competition for the food provided by their mother.
With striking high-speed video footage, scientists have for the first time detailed how predatory mosquito larvae attack and capture prey in aquatic habitats. Published this week in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, this new research sheds light on behavior that has long proven too small and too fast to study, until now.
The use of blow fly larvae to clean and heal serious wounds is a valuable but underused medical treatment. Physician and entomologist Ronald Sherman, M.D., leads a nonprofit foundation to support patient care, education and research in maggot therapy. Learn more in this Q&A.