Biologist Kevin Carpenter has a new exhibit at San Francisco’s Exploratorium featuring electron microscope images of various microbes (bacteria and protists) that live inside the guts of termites. Studying these wood-digesting bugs-within-bugs could help advance biofuel technologies and allow us to break down complex wood cellulose structures into usable carbon.
Famed biologist J.B.S. Haldane once said that “the Creator, if He exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” With more than 400,000 known (and perhaps a million total) species of beetles on Earth, he had a point. Evolutionary biologists aren’t sure what makes them just so successful, but their varied traits are something to marvel at.