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Self Medicating

>> Friday, March 13, 2009

And no, I don't mean habitual drug use.... Researchers have found that woolly bear caterpillars actually will try to medicate themselves if infected by parasites. Parasitic flies lay their eggs inside woolly bears and when the eggs hatch the woolly bears get eaten from the inside out. Gross, I know. What these researchers discovered was that woolly bears that are infected have the tendency to eat more plants that kill off the parasites than their non-infected counter parts. Sounds smart to me... well, smarter than we were giving them credit for anyway.

Ay, me... unfortunately that is all you get today. Until Floydine feels better, I have a hard time focusing. Sorry guys.

The original article was published in PLoS ONE.

Singer MS, Mace KC, Bernays EA, 2009 Self-Medication as Adaptive Plasticity: Increased Ingestion of Plant Toxins by Parasitized Caterpillars. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4796.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004796


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