Insects that carry homes on their backs
Sep 25 2013
Lacewing is a very delicate insect. It is mostly an aphid-eater, which is a small mosquito-like insect. Aphids are considered as pests in the agriculture world, which bring virus to the crops. In the larvae stage, the lacewing is almost 1 cm long, possessing a cylindrical shaped body. Its thorax part has a lot of bristles jutting out from the sides that collect dead aphid’s exoskeleton. In this manner, the lacewing’s delicate larvae become camouflaged and get protection from predator-like birds and ants in the process. They move with the collected debris on their back.
Although close to the lobster family, the hermit crab’s name is derived from the lifestyle of a hermit who lives alone. It has a soft, twisted vulnerable stomach, which has to be protected. Hence it uses the empty shells of snails, in which it would live and when it grows in size, it would abandon the smaller shell for a bigger one.
Interestingly, there is a property-like demand for these shells in the species. When one crab abandons the shell, there is a long queue of other hermits who would want to take up the bigger one. Thus, the shells would pass down and reused by smaller crabs. There are about 1,000 species of hermit crabs reported, and some of them use the rock and stone shells too. These days, due to marine pollution, this species has also started using plastic bottles, boxes and other waste as their home.
Bagworm or caseworm is larvae of the psychidae family of moth. The larvae collect materials such as soil, sticks and other plant materials along with its own silk to make their home. This is a mobile home, which the larvae would keep on even while foraging on trees leaves. Usually, it is found in the acacia trees. It also uses the thorns of acacia for making its home.
Assassin bug’s name comes from the fact that these bugs jab their sharp mouth inside their prey and suck the liquid out of it. During the larvae stages, it keeps debris, stones, moss and other materials on their back. They would keep dead ant, dirt and debris on themselves as well. Looking at them, one would imagine them to be masked hunters. They sometimes collect live moss too, which keeps their temperature cool. No wonder, the animal world has many such interesting creatures that can inspire us. So become a traveller for the time being and explore the nature and its surrounding.
(The writer is a conservation biologist at Tiger Watch, Ranthambore)