Thread subject: Diptera.info :: Pinning flies and wasps and some curious questions.
Posted by diphascon on 25-04-2007 20:51
another curious question... Why can't bacterias "eat" wasps' (flies') exoskeleton??
in fact, there are "chitinovorous bacteria" as well as chitin degrading fungi. So why do fungi bother the collecting entomologist more than bacteria? A few speculations:
First of all, I think there isn't only chitin but also a lot of all the rest available on a dead dried insect (protein, fat etc.). OK, that's not an answer ...
Second, as far as I know, some fungi are much better than bacteria when it comes to extracting water (which all living beings need) from almost dry substrates (see e.g. the mould on your jam. Many bacteria would like the sugar as well but cannot get water out of the highly osmotic stuff).
Third, if there would be a tiny little bit of bacterial growth on your pinned flies (maybe there actually is, and more is not to be expected) it would probably be hard to detect that at all for the non-microbiologist. Fungi grow in conspicious filaments that are easily seen but bacteria form plaques on dry surfaces that are usually tiny and invisible under "natural" conditions.
cheers - martin