Genesis 1:24

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

The Fire Ant can be aggressive and deliver dangerous venom, but in the perfect world originally created by God, insects such as this would not be expected to be so troublesome.

Scientists have been studying an insect parasite that may be helpful in controlling troublesome insects. This parasite, itself an insect, is capable of killing even Fire Ants. The parasitic order called Strepsiptera consists of over 500 species. They are known to prey on insects in 34 different families. In its larval stage, it seeks out a victim. When it finds one, it burrows through its hard outer layer to the first layer of cells. Here, it hijacks the insect’s immune system, which rather than attacking it, encloses it in a layer of skin. Males of one species of the parasite attack ants while the females attack grasshoppers. Another species, which attacks a species of katydid in New Guinea, has no males at all. Once they mature inside their host, they poke the top of their body out of the skin bag and release some 800,000 larvae. The new generation sets out to find more hosts, and the host dies.

Scientists are studying these insect parasites in the hope of learning how to use them to control troublesome insects. In doing so, they are following God’s command given in Genesis for man to subdue the Earth.

Prayer: Father, help us to understand Your creation so it may be productive. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

 Ref: Science News, 6/7/03, p. 358, S. Milius, “Skin Scam.” Image: Drawing of Strepsiptera . (PD)

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