Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Video shows how wasp uses zinc-tipped drill to penetrate fruit
by Brooks Hays
Bangalore, India (UPI) May 29, 2013

How did Estonia's frogs cross the road?
Tallinn (AFP) May 29, 2014 - Thousands of frogs in Estonia have lived to lay eggs another spring thanks to a battalion of volunteers who carried them across busy roads, organisers said Thursday.

After hibernating through the Baltic state's bitter-cold winter, frogs hop out onto roads en masse in the spring as they make their way to breeding grounds to lay eggs.

"This is when the trouble starts and we humans need to help them because they often cross busy roads and many of them get crushed under cars," biologist Piret Pappel with Tallinn's Frog NGO told AFP.

"We used buckets to carry 15,677 frogs safely to the other side of the road or closer to where they lay eggs," added Mariliis Tago from the Estonian Fund for Nature.

Around 200 volunteers set up nets in 79 spots across Estonia to catch the amphibians, measuring 8-11 centimetres (three-four inches), where they are known to cross roads.

Despite what some environmental advocates might say, humans are not parasites; humans don't rely on another organism for habitat or reproduction purposes. Parasitic wasps -- as their name implies -- aren't so lucky.

Parasitic wasps must bore into unripe fig fruit in order to lay their eggs -- eggs that then look for other larvae to attach themselves to. To do so -- scientists from Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore recently found out -- they employ a narrow drill tipped with zinc and outfitted with saw-like teeth on the end.

Although other insects have been known to employ similar techniques, this latest study is one of the first to offer such an in-depth look at the biological tools that enable it. And an accompanying video shows how the wasp uses its drill bit, or ovipositor -- bio-speak for "egg depositor."

Once the wasp deposits her eggs inside the fig, they mature and then infiltrate the larvae of other species.

"These kinds of structures seem to bore so efficiently -- that's what is really amazing about this system," lead researcher Namrata Gundiah said. Gundiah is a mechanical engineer at the institute in Bangalore, India.

The narrow, flexible ovipositor wouldn't be so efficient -- and much less able to penetrate unripe fig skin -- if it wasn't for it's saw-like teeth and the zinc, which acts as a hardening agent.

The Bangalore researchers used an electron microscope and an X-ray detector to detect or hone in on the presence of zinc on the drill tip.

"I'm trained in studying steel and other kinds of synthetic materials," Gundiah added, "but if you try and apply the same ideas to look at such biological systems, suddenly it opens up so many possibilities of understanding how nature works."


Related Links
Darwin Today At

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Conservationists say resort planned for Baja California peninsula a threat to biodiversity
Cabo Pulmo, Mexico (UPI) May 28, 2013
Cabo Dorado - the latest iteration of a massive coastal tourism and real-estate project planned for Mexico's Baja California peninsula - is once again worrying local activists. Over the last several years, one version or another of a mega-resort neighboring Mexico's Cabo Pulmo National Park has been put forward by various groups of investors. The last attempt, dubbed Cabo Cortez, was ... read more

Outcry as French police demolish Calais migrant camps

Australia rules out swathe of ocean as MH370 crash zone

MH370 search on right track: Australian transport chief

Risk is much more than a game

Microsoft allies with in 'cloud' push; Acer launches software 'cloud' service

Australia's Orica plans to ship toxic waste to France

Cranial knowledge

Liquid crystal as lubricant

Satellite imagery shows drought-ridden Lake Powell at half capacity

Australian environmentalists welcome bank wariness on reef port

Bottom trawling causes deep-sea biological desertification

Better science for better fisheries management

Melting Arctic opens new passages for invasive species

Norway creates 'safety zone' at contested Arctic drill site

NASA IceBridge Concludes Arctic Field Campaign

New study finds Antarctic Ice Sheet unstable at end of last ice age

France's unloved tipples hope to match cognac's Asia boom

Drop in global malnutrition depends on ag productivity, climate change

Weather Impacts on Food: A QandA with NASA's Molly Brown

US city drops threat to close 'smelly' hot sauce factory

Shallow 5.9 magnitude earthquake hits SW China: USGS

Super typhoon cools Philippine economy

NASA Widens 2014 Hurricane Research Mission

Storm Amanda blamed for three deaths in Mexico

High-level UN meeting in Kenya on despite security fears

China to send peacekeeping battalion to S.Sudan: UN

Kenya's buses to go cashless to beat bribes

Northern Mali rebels agree to ceasefire: diplomat

Humans traded muscle for smarts as they evolved

Journey of Discovery Starts toward Understanding and Treating Networks of the Brain

Intertwined evolution of human brain and brawn

Virtual dam on after-hours emails tackles burnout

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.