Bug Stops Food Halfway Down Its Gut to Make Room for Microbes

Your gut is a long continuous tube. Food goes in one end, gets digested and stripped of nutrients, and is shunted out the other end. That’s the case in ants and elephants, lions and sea lions, hawks and hawk moths. But not in stinkbugs. In the guts of these sap-sucking, shield-shaped insects, food goes in one end, gets digested and stripped of nutrients… and then stops. It never flows into the back half of the gut. That end of the organ has been transformed from a site of digestion, into an apartment complex for microbes.

Our guts are full of bacteria and other microbes too, but they live among ...

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