Lessons from Nature: Recycle Allies that Stop Being Useful

These two insects are cereal weevils of the same age and species. They have different colours because the one on the bottom has a thinner, weaker shell. It is the lesser of two weevils.

Cereal weevils are long-snouted beetles, no bigger than corn kernels. They are serious pests that devour crops like rice and wheat, and like many insect pests, they owe their success to bacteria. Their microbes in question all belong to a species called Sodalis pierantonius and they live inside some of the weevil’s cells. These cells are packed into special organs called bacteriomes, which branch grape-like from their guts and ovaries. The bacteriomes provide the microbes ...

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