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May 05 2014

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Reavers!

Acanthaspis petax, a type of assassin bug, stacks dead ant bodies on its back to confuse predators. Photo by Mohd Rizal Ismail

Acanthaspis petax, a type of assassin bug, stacks dead ant bodies on its back to confuse predators. Photo by Mohd Rizal Ismail

20 comments

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  1. 1
    fullyladenswallow

    I used to have a manager that did that. Said it was his version of lean manufacturing, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

  2. 2
    microraptor

    Kaylee, find that kid who’s taking a dirt-nap with Baby Jesus; we need a hood ornament.

  3. 3
    Tempus Vernum

    I guess it’s good that it’s predator is a jumping spider and not, say, an anteater.

  4. 4
    OldEd

    Now if we’d only get a brief summary of A. petax, or at least a pointer to an authoritative but not-too-dense write-up of the creature, we could combine our daily dose of humor with a daily dose of education.

  5. 5
    Crimson Clupeidae

    OldEd, not sure if you’re being snarky or not, but follow the link? It’s in PZ’s post.

  6. 6
    Kagato

    Put Book front and center; he’s our friend, we should honor him.

    (beat me to it, microraptor)

  7. 7
    chigau (違う)

    huh

  8. 8
    LykeX

    I used to have a manager that did that. Said it was his version of lean manufacturing, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

    Reminds me of that one X-Files episode where the boss is literally a giant bug, stalking around the cubicles.

  9. 9
    Greta Christina

    GAAAAAAAAH!

  10. 10
    Johnny Vector

    Aaaand, Nathan Fillion wins the thread.

  11. 11
    birgerjohansson

    “Reminds me of that one X-Files episode where the boss is literally a giant bug, stalking around the cubicles”
    But still an improvement over Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss?

    I bet the Predators started off looking like this, but the skulls and bones would not fit under the cloaking device.

  12. 12
    karmacat

    This really is not helping my phobia of bugs

  13. 13
    Robbie Taylor

    The Leatherface of the insect world…

  14. 14
    Raging Bee

    I guess it’s good that it’s predator is a jumping spider and not, say, an anteater.

    If the anteater prefers live ants, then this looks like a pretty good deterrent to anteaters as well as jumping spiders.

    This really is not helping my phobia of bugs

    Are you kidding? This bug is as safe as they get — it’s overloaded, so it’s both too slow to be a threat and too big to hide. Sort of like a Russian soldier with a sofa on his back.

    And just to be extra pedantic, the Reavers didn’t cover their ships with corpses to confuse predators; they did it because they were sadistic and deranged beyond all comprehension. (That is, in fact, why I never liked the whole Reaver concept: people that deranged and hyper-aggressive wouldn’t even be able to organize a robbery, let alone crew a spaceship for more than an hour.)

  15. 15
    karmacat

    Raging Bee: Phobias are usually not very rational.

  16. 16
    mothra

    “They say Reavers got to the end of the verse and saw a vasting nothingness and went all biblety.”

    Asssassin bugs can read!

  17. 17
    OldEd

    Yeah, I followed the link. All that was discussed was the camouflage and the jumping spiders. Extremely little – I mean absolutely sub-atomic little – about A. petax.

    For instance: why is it called an assassin bug?

    At any rate, if you actually READ my post, you would see that I was interested in A. Petax, not jumping spiders.

  18. 18
    leftwingfox

    Sort of like a Russian soldier with a sofa on his back.

    Correction: Sort of like a Russian soldier with a dozen dead Germans on his back. While I agree it’s going to harm it’s combat prowess, the pile of corpses is substantially creeper than a chesterfield.

  19. 19
    alkaloid

    For instance: why is it called an assassin bug?

    It is called an assassin bug because the bugs in this particular family (Reduviidae) inject venom into their prey and then suck up the digested remains in a manner analogous to a spider. Some of them, based on the way that those particular species feed which is similar to how mosquitoes drink blood, are also carriers of serious blood-born diseases as well.

  20. 20
    WhiteHatLurker

    Best line was missed: Jayne, don’t steal their shit.

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