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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Bruce Fellman
Picture yourself in a meadow in high summer. Tall downy grasses, amid a colorful patchwork of buttercups, knapweed, Indian paintbrush and butterfly weed, sway languidly under a sultry sun. Monarch butterflies, hummingbird moths and droning bumblebees skitter atop the flowers in jittery haste for nectar. Thoreau, you fancy, could have been inspired in that meadow to write “The Inward Morning”: How could the patient pine have known / The morning breeze would come, / Or humble flowers anticipate / The insect’s noonday hum ... It is the picture of peace.
Don’t believe it. Just below the brilliant spatter of green, yellow, purple and orange are scenes of wanton violence that often end in sudden death. A spider, its eyes glinting in the light, feels movement and gnashes its jaws in anticipation, waiting to ambush a meal. A nearby grasshopper inches along, calmly munching on grass and a wildflower, unaware of its fate.
It won’t be long.
Or maybe it will. The grasshopper feels something, too, and stops its forward progress. Like a human being about to confront a predator of the same species around the corner, the insect starts behaving in a way we’d find very familiar. Inwardly and outwardly, the grasshopper seems to be afraid.
Dror Hawlena, a Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Postdoctoral Associate at F&ES, is piecing together how grasshoppers react to spiders that…
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