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Bug Facts and Other Trivia

EDITOR: Manuel F. Lluberas
Vector Control Systems Manager

A report published in National Geographic Today (March 28, 2002) describes how Oliver Zompro, research entomologist at the Max Planck Institute of Limnology in Plön, Germany have discovered an insect that constitutes a new order of insects. This insect, dubbed "the gladiator" lives in the Brandberg Mountains of Namibia, on the west coast of Southern Africa. The discovery is the first time in 87 years that a potentially new order of insects has been discovered. The creature is very unique, being described as "a cross between a stick insect, a mantid, and a grasshopper."

A super colony of ants stretching thousands of miles from the Italian Riviera along the coastline to northwest Spain has been discovered. According to Swiss, French and Danish scientists whose findings appear in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it is the largest cooperative unit ever recorded. The colony consists of billions of Argentine ants living in millions of nests extending some 3,600 miles that cooperate with one another. Ants from different nests normally fight, but the researchers concluded that ants in this super colony were all genetically close to recognize each other, despite being from different nests with different queens. Cooperation has allowed these colonies to develop much higher densities, eliminating most of the other ants living near them. The Argentine ants were accidentally introduced to Europe around 1920, probably in ships carrying plants, and are known to form large colonies.