Skooter reporting 08/29/12
Richard Seaman my pal continues the Bohol adventure for me, because I have to do some errand somewhere in the island. On this planet anywhere you go, beetles are the most common types of insect but Mr. Seaman managed only to photograph a couple during this trip, an attractive green weevil and a gold-colored beauty featured on this page.
Primarily, we thought that this was a beetle, but Seaman pointed out that it has a sucking mouthpiece rather than jaws and therefore a member to the group called "the true bugs".
My pal explained that the true bugs can be every bit as colorful as beetles and have very appealing shapes, in fact you can see a whole collection of them including this one shown here on Mr. Seaman’s true bug wallpaper page.
Looking again on the screen, this funny looking thing is another true bug, take a closer look at its rostrum or knife-like mouthpiece folded backwards underneath its body. Yet another type of true bug, a member to a family called "planthoppers", they have bodies and wings shaped like the ones you see on the screen.
You see, planthoppers are rare in the United States, but these insects makes Mr. Seaman a little bit nostalgic for his early childhood days in New Zealand, because his grandparents had a passionfruit vine which was infested with them. You know passionfruit? The passion fruit is round to oval in shape; in maturity it’s either yellow or dark purple, having a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with lots of seeds. Passion fruit and its juice are edible.
Passionfruit are common in New Zealand, however in the United States they're rarely seen in the supermarket and since it’s not common, the cost is ridiculous, $2.50. You know nostalgia has its limits.
Right then, a planthopper that is, but what the hell is that strange looking thing protruding from it? In fact, it’s a fungus, Mr. Seaman said. It has been infected and eventually killed it, before sending out this weird looking fruiting body, hoping to spread its spores and infecting other passerby.
According to my friend here, such fungal attacks on insects are quite common in the tropics, and obviously many of the fungi pass on to just a single species of insect. It's a significant risk, particularly for insects which gather together, so some ants have developed behavior to carry infected individuals far from the nest and leave them to die hoping that the rest of the colony won't be contaminated. In other words, ants have the ability to quarantine their sick.
To be continued…