Recently, I have been thinking about bark beetles, and larvae which bore under bark or into trees. I know that most cellulose digesting organisms pass on the bacteria to their young through faeces. Yet, once these beetle eggs are laid and hatched, they go their separate ways, and there does not seem to be much opportunity for bacterial injestion. Do they need bacterial ingestion to allow them to live, or do they feed on matter that is not specifically cellulose based? Or some other option? Asking just out of interest.
I only know some of them carry fungi and eat them from the dead tree mass. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrosia_beetle
for the bark beetles that i’m familiar with (ambrosia beetles), my understanding is that they’re not ingesting / digesting the cellulose. they’re just excavating tunnels to make a space for fungi gardens. the fungi in turn make nutrients available for the beetles. to transfer the fungi, new adults gather spores from their childhood homes and deposit them when they move to a new tree.
that said, as i’m reading further, there are other bark beetles that don’t have the symbiosis with fungi (phloeophages) – along with beetles that both eat wood and farm fungi – and i guess these must have some mechanism for digesting cellulose… but i can’t quickly locate any information on what makes this possible. (if bacteria are involved, i assume that the adults will also transport the bacteria and infect the area where they lay their eggs so that their children will be infected when they start eating the wood there.)
Thank you. If fungi are involved, could this be the mechanism by which Dutch Elm Disease is spread in NA? Somehow the adults retain the fungus, and then transfer it to a new tree? I’m just speculating here!
yes. this is my understanding of how the fungal disease spreads. one of the ways to protect urban elms is to treat for beetle vectors.
yes, i’m not sure exactly what happens in the case of DED and its beetle vectors, but for ambrosia beetles in general, they have special structures – mycangia – that help to transport spores from one place to another.
I can’t contribute anything serious to this conversation … but I only just realized the double meaning of “boring” :-)
Isn’t English a great language! One word can mean many things.
And what an ironic double meaning it is! On the one hand “that subject is really not interesting” to “that subject is SO interesting that I’m boring deeper into it!”
English is such a powerful language, that you can say something through one meaning but have the defense of the other meaning if required! It should be called the Language of Politics!
Thank you for that information - it is very interesting. The things that Life gets up to!
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