Elephants are amazing animals - not only because of their trunk. Their feet are also unique. Numerous animals dwell in the water-filled footprints that elephants have left behind.
What would Africa be without its elephants? Obviously, one tourist attraction worse off. But the giant animals are also shaping the ecosystem and their environment.
Elephants weigh up to five metric tons. No wonder that these giants leave behind considerably deep and big footprints when walking through savannah and forest.
Depending on the kind of soil, elephant feet can leave prints up to half a metre (1.5 feet) deep. When filled with water they become small pools - a paradise for insects.
Researchers of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society have thoroughly examined elephants' footprints in the Kibale Forest in Rwanda. They found 61 species including water bugs.
Many animals use the pools to deposit their eggs; dragonflies and mosquitoes are just two examples. After only five days, the water-filled holes are teeming with larvae.
Fully grown dragonflies love their pools and even defend them against rivals. Such a nice home has to be protected, right?
Mosquitoes that hatch in the water pools are food for many other animals in the area, including birds. However, they also transmit diseases like malaria and Dengue.
Insects live in abundance in every part of world except the sea, which covers more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface. So why is it that this tenacious species has failed to colonize the marine environment?
Many people see insects as annoying pests. But British biologist Dave Goulson cautions: A world without insects is a dull place without coffee and chocolate — and with dead animals and cow patties piling up.
Part of the Mesoamerican Reef has just come off the list of endangered UNESCO heritage. In Mexico, mass tourism is to fund a first-of-its-kind insurance plan to restore its reefs after hurricanes. But challenges remain.
What do wasps have to do with brain surgery? What can architecture learn from termites? We look at five examples of technology that found their designs in nature.
© 2018 Deutsche Welle |
Legal notice |
| Mobile version