- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Tiny insect soldiers with butch forearms are actually medics
Many insect colonies have troops of soldiers, which defend their nests with special weapons like massive jaws or chemical guns. Kladothrips intermedius is no exception – this tiny insect, known as a thrips, has soldiers that supposedly crush their enemies to death with butch forearms. But contrary to appearances, these big arms aren’t all that useful for fighting. Instead, they’re living pharmacies. Christine Turnbull from Macquarie University and Holly Caravan from Memorial University of Newfoundland have found that the thrips warriors are actually healers.
There are thousands of thrips species. Most of them are solitary animals, but a few species form colonies like those of ants and bees. They induce plants to form hollow outgrowths called galls, which the