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No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990

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Those Amazing Insects

Scientific creationists often point out marvels of biological engineering as proofs that evolution by small chancedirected steps is, to say the least, improbable. A sharp arrow for their qui ver has just appeared in Science.

Caterpillar-ant vibrational communication. Some species of caterpillars cannot survive predation unless they are protected by ants. To attract the ants, who just happen to dote on special secretions of the caterpillars, the caterpillars send out vibrational signals across leaves and twigs. In addition to their secretory structures, the caterpillars have also evolved novel vibrators to send out their calls for protection. A few butterfly species from all continents (except Antarctica) have evolved these devices. Looking at this geographical spread, P. J. DeVries thinks that the two sets of organs must have developed independently at least three times. (DeVries, P.J.; "Enhancement of Symbioses between Butterfly Caterpillars and Ants by Vibrational Communication," Science, 248:1104, 1990.)

From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987