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A Social Parasite’s Sophisticated Mimicry | The New York Times

Scientists are studying Moroccan insects to uncover fascinating new insights about bug behavior:

The_New_York_Times_logo[…] Dr. Di Giulio and his colleagues have now uncovered a remarkable trick that the beetles use to fool their hosts. It turns out they can perform uncanny impressions, mimicking a range of ant calls.

Dr. Di Giulio and his colleagues study a species of ant nest beetle called Paussus favieri, which lives in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where it infiltrates the nests of Moroccan ants, known as Pheidole pallidula.

Like many ant species, Pheidole pallidula makes noises by rubbing its legs against ridges on its body. The meanings of these signals vary from species to species; leaf-cutting ants summon bodyguards for the march back to the nest; in other species, a queen trills to her workers to attend to her…[full story]

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