Millennium Post

EXISTING IN HARMONY

The earth is a place of close relationships – plants, animals and humans together constitute an integrated whole

Are spiders and ants friends or enemies?

There are no friends and enemies in nature. There is predator and prey. Ants are sometimes predators of spiders and sometimes prey of other spider species. In a strange case , jumping spiders are eating by the large aggressive spitting spiders. The spitting spider can immobilize its prey by spitting on it from a distance. In the Philippines, it lives on the same large waxy leaves as the jumping spider. It normally spins its web right over the nest of the jumping spider, to make hunting just a little bit easier. However, the spitting spider does not come near a jumping spider when the latter positions its own nest near that of weaver ants. This is because the spitting spider is repelled by the airborne smell that these ants release. However, it's not yet plain sailing for the jumping spider, as it is also a favorite snack of its savior, the weaver ant. Therefore jumping spiders build dense ant-proof nests of an unusually tough and dense weave that are difficult for the ants to tear open. The nest's hinged flaps of silk at each end function as swinging doors. The spider quickly raises these when it enters or leaves the nest, before any ants can follow, too.

See how clever each species is!

Are shrimp safe to eat?

Many people think that an animal is safe to consume because it doesn't kill them immediately or give them an infection in their stomach that lasts for a few days. For instance eating the meat of a cow/buffalo that has foot in mouth disease does give some humans an acne/chickenpox type condition and fever but it is so mild that no one relates the two. Likewise shrimp carry massive amounts of antibiotics (because that is what they have been bred with), heavy metals and PCBs which are the worst cancer giving chemicals that I can think of. These have long term effects – meaning your body can react even a year later.

Now scientists have found that freshwater shrimps are sometimes affected by a parasite, Pleistophoramulleri, which makes the shrimp cannibalistic and far more voraciously hungry. Do you want that kind of parasite in you? There is evidence that parasites can affect human behaviour. A study led by Dr Glenn McConkey, of the University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences, has shown that the parasite Toxoplasma gondii directly affects the chemistry of the human brain. I always say – first you eat meat, then it eats you.

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