Ladybugs, ladybirds, lady beetles… bioterrorists? They don’t look capable of biological weaponry, but a new study shows that’s exactly how they exterminate native populations of ladybirds. When other species try to eat the harlequin’s eggs, they are poisoned by a fungal parasite. In addition to poisoning the enemy, they are extremely resistant to attacks against them.
The harlequin has 50 antimicrobial peptides, which is more than any other insect. It is also resistant to the microbes that cause malaria and tuberculosis. Though these properties make the harlequin ruthless toward other beetle species, they may be used to inspire new medications for humans.
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