Assassin bug covers itself with a meat-shield of its victims


Singaporean macrofocus photographer Nicky Bay produces wonderful portraits of insects in their natural setting. Particularly fascinating are the photos of bugs eating each other, particularly the shot above of an assassin bug (Acanthaspis sp.) which "decorate themselves with the corpses of their consumed prey," forming a protective "meat-shield" as well as offering olfactory and visual camouflage to help it infiltrate ant-nests.

Engrossingly Gross Photos of Spiders and Insects Eating Each Other [Wired]

(via WTBW)

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  1. Glitch says:

    I'm torn.

    On one hand, this is kind of horrifying.

    On the other hands, we humans wear leather - how different is that, really? I suppose a point could be made that we don't typically wear entire corpses, but rather first remove the skin, tan it, and then shape it, but that seems a minor quibble.

    I think the tipping point for weirdness is the "olfactory camouflage". I mean, it's a brilliant and resourceful tactic for the purpose of infiltrating an ant colony, but it's kind of unnerving translated into a human context. I enjoy the smell of leather, but I recognize that it's not the same as the smell of an untreated cow hide, and certainly wouldn't act as olfactory camouflage for infiltrating a herd of cows.

    Thanks, BB. Been a while since an insect has inspired such bizarre philosophical questions in me. stuck_out_tongue

  2. Glitch says:

    Clearly you haven't been to the weirder portions of the internet yet.

    I suggest you bring a towel, and your choice of either bleach or personal lubricant.

  3. Meat Shield? No no, this is a Chitin plate armor, giving it an AC 6.
    A meat shield gives you an AC 2 against all seasoning attacks and AC -6 against all dog based weapons.

  4. The Lady Gaga of the insect world?

  5. How do you stop at just one critter? There's too much awesomeness to just pick one!

    What about Strepsiptera? The twisted winged insects with males with trilobite-like eyes and halteres and wings flip-flopped and a delightful life cycle (the male has to stab the female in the back of the head because she lives inside wasps and such)

    Male going off to see the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyaPfR-Mj98

    Excellent article: http://gentlecentipede.blogspot.com/2013/02/twisted-winged-parasites-are-friggin.html

    Or we've got the narrow-mouthed toad,commonly kept as a pet by Tarantulas. (really, okay, it's just to eat ants that might eat her eggs, but still, weird)
    http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Gastrophryne&where-species=olivacea

    Or there's the little mite Adactylidium, who probably regrets not just laying eggs, as she always has several females and a male and sort of gives birth live. They make sweet, sweet love inside the mom before eating their way out.

    Nature is AMAZING! I could go on for days.

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