Life: Insects airs on Solar News Channel
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - There are more kinds of insects than all the other animals put together, and it is thought that there are 200 million individual insects for every one of us. Insects’ success is down to their flexibility, their ability to develop new ways of living and changing their body shapes.

Insects’ flexible bodies enable them to become walking chemical weapons. The bombardier beetle has two chambers within its body, each a store for a different, inert chemical. When threatened, the beetle mixes the chemicals in a third chamber, where they react explosively and burst from its rear end at its enemy in a boiling, caustic jet. The jet pulses 500 times per second, allowing the beetle’s rear end to cool just enough between each burst to prevent it cooking itself.

Insects’ greatest societies are the closest thing in the natural world to the complexity of a human city. Grass-cutter ants harvest the grass of northern Argentina. Some of the ants are huge-jawed, perfect for cutting; others are smaller and do the carrying. They march in their thousands along well-worn roadways, carrying cut grass above their heads. And yet they cannot digest it. Instead they act like farmers, cultivating a fungus in their nest which is able to break down the grass and grow on it. They grow so much fungus, a colony may contain five million ants — as many inhabitants as a good-sized human city.

Insects’ initial airing is tonight at 8 with Stories marathon replay on June 23 at 8 p.m. on Solar News Channel.


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