Natural History

Life Episodes: Insects

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Masters of adaptation, the vast variety of insects outnumber all other animal species put together. While the female Darwin stag beetle has normal-sized jaws, the male's mandibles are longer than his body. Serrated and strangely curved, they're used as a weapon against rival males.

Japanese red bug juveniles eat a rare fruit, which their mother collects from the forest floor. It can take her hours to find a perfectly ripe fruit — but if she doesn't get it back quickly enough, her young will abandon their nest and find a better mother.

The bombardier beetle has two chambers within its body to store different inert chemicals. When threatened, the beetle mixes the chemicals in a third chamber, where they react explosively and burst from its rear end, spraying its enemy in a boiling, caustic jet.

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