Machiavellian Meloidae

For those of you who are utterly fascinated (like me) with Earth’s most resilient creatures — no, humans are not even close — the Meloidae take survival and reproduction to an all new high… or rather a cunning, evil low may be the correct designation. If you think politicians or double-agents are unscrupulous, then you don’t know much about these ingenious Coleoptera. No, not Cleopatra, Coleoptera… though the behavioral similarities are clearly there.

Beware of Seductive Female…

Coleop

Coleoptera Meloidae

Bees. Yes, seductive fake female bees! Or perhaps I could have left-off “bees”. HAH! But let’s not go there, yet. But I do want to talk about perfumes… seductive perfumes!

The larvae of the Blister Beetle, after they are hatched, must immediately seek food. But they do not seek out just any menu. They want a specific 5-star platinum dinning establishment with an unforgettable experience, AND they want and will be chauffeured there! Men, married men, husbands with a pregnant wife or newborns… does this sound familiar? How do these newly born larvae do it? As the below video will show, their genetic coding makes them work as one team, climb to the top of a blade of grass or leaf, clump together, then the Coup d’état… they lure an unsuspecting (horny) male Digger-bee, and do it with specialized perfume, or pheromones! Again, sound familiar? Talk about the greatest STD. Wow! Guys, this totally redefines the need for super safe sex!

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What Can We Learn From Blister Beetles?

Having a background in psych counseling and assessment, as well as certified 4th through 8th grade teacher in all core subjects with a deep fondness for science and social studies (history), my students have always enjoyed relating or connecting Earth science and its creatures to self or to us. Invariably the bored middle school kids ask the question… How does this effect me or help me in life? Well my little unknowing enquiring mind, it does in many ways. Case and point: the Blister Beetle.

meloidae_beetle_larvae

Male Digger-bee with stowaways

Ever heard of the adage “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is” or its gullible opposite “Never look a gift horse in the mouth“? Those two phrases and similar ones carry a lot of wisdom. As many a magician have demonstrated over the centuries, our eyes can be easily deceived. Our ears and nose can be fooled as well, to a lesser extent. Obviously, the “perfumed pheromones” these meloidae larvae ooze, cause much “male digger-bee intoxication” and I believe mimic other species’ perfumes! I’ve fallen prey to different parfums enivrants as many times as these male digger-bees! And I’d wager I have hit the ground, once or twice, much harder than these gullible lads!

Our judgement and perceptions (of self and others) can be quite flawed. Only through periods of time — sometimes years, and in the case of humanity, centuries or millenia — and through trial and error do we learn from events and our mistakes. Hopefully not fatal mistakes. Therefore, it really behooves us flawed humans (and hetero males?) to consider situations with as much cognitive examination as with emotion, especially impulsive emotion. Easier said than done, right? Particularly when some of us are genetically wired to feel and feel strongly, or to find and love, and love strongly. Believe me, I have wrestled with this advice for much of my life, as my recent posts about my daughter, marriages and divorces, and the nature of love can greatly attest!

Five-Factor Model - courtesy of noboproject.com

Five-Factor Model – courtesy of noboproject.com

All of us, every single human being alive, are inextricably connected to this planet and its life-giving (and taking) environments and creatures. We absolutely can learn from all the animals, how they survive, adapt, evolve, and especially reproduce, even from the aversely simpatico relationship of Blister Beetles and Digger bees.

BigFive-sub

Subtraits of the Big Five – courtesy of noboproject.com

In modern psychology, Machiavellianism (and this beetle) is one of three personality traits of the Dark Triad; dark meaning malevolent manifestations. Essentially it is behavior exhibited by a high drive to achieve at the expense of or disregard to others. Clearly this is the female Blister Beetle’s — and her offspring’s — motivation and behavior. What I find fascinating is the question “Are there Blister Beetles among us as humans?” Is it simply genetic programming in order to survive and perpetuate the species and they cannot CHOOSE morality… the “higher road”? Or are there always choices between species; in other words, species who are inferior deserving of extinction and those as superior who deserve to live and survive? Are we talking about humans or beetles? Humanity’s long long history of wars and genocide speak volumes of this Genetics versus Morality judgement. As much as Blister Beetles have a very high regard for self and their offspring, I think humans do too… particularly certain males. By default I must reluctantly include myself in that gender. 😦

In Wikipedia’s description of Mechaiavellianism, the section on human relations with other personality traits, I found to be uncomfortably familiar. Are you familiar with the HEXACO model? I wasn’t until I began comparing this beetle’s behavior with similarities to other Earth species, which I typically like to do as a good (Freethinking Humanist) science teacher. See the three figures of the HEXACO “Big Five” tables.. Where do you think your (self?) personality falls?

BeyondBigFive-3

Traits beyond Five-Factor Model – courtesy of noboproject.com

Personally, I see the Blister Beetle’s Machiavellianism within several primate species, especially certain Homo sapiens. Would you agree or disagree? Why or why not? Are we products of our DNA or of our environment, or a little of both? Are you a Blister Beetle or a Digger bee. Or if you’d like to protect your true identity (like I do here!) you can simply comment about these cunning little insects and their larvae. 😈

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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24 thoughts on “Machiavellian Meloidae

  1. That was some video. Blimey. I know people like those beasties for sure. For myself, sonmi is half Empath, half Vulcan, which generally adds up to modest fabulousness. *bows, does a forward roll, and catches her hat as she stands*.

    Most enjoyable post Professor.

    – sonmi smiling upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi sonmi-smiling,

      I was amazed by these creepy-crawlers too! I could NOT stop thinking about all the STD’s humans contract when I watched that stupid boy/man male Digger-bee try to hump the blob! 😛 LOL

      For myself, sonmi is half Empath, half Vulcan, which generally adds up to modest fabulousness. *bows, does a forward roll, and catches her hat as she stands*.

      Ahh, I see your self-esteem is just as healthy as Roughseas. My last ex-girlfriend is an Empath; some know-it-alls would label her bipolar or schizophrenic sometimes, but it just shows their ignorance about the metaphysical world. The incredibly beautiful thing about her (and many empaths too) is their raw honesty. She/they cannot help but be completely open 95% of the time with her feelings. I love it because I never have to guess what she’s feeling/thinking nor “pull teeth” from her to get those feelings/thoughts out… like many I frustratingly know. I love that about her. It does indeed have its exhausting moments, BUT I understand it, I get it and I can now manage it (with her) much better. 😉

      Thank you sonmi-smiling for stopping by with your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I see your self-esteem is just as healthy as Roughseas” – I better take that as a compliment or she’ll not be chuffed at all. Hahahaha. Cheeky sod.
        Actually you’re absolutely right, I am known for my honesty, though thankfully it also comes with a knack for tact, which is why I am as close to the ‘wise woman of the village’ as you’ll get, for should they come to me for advice, I always leave them smiling. Words are tricksters, and the human ego a most fragile butterfly. I don’t stomp all over it, no siree. And I am lucky enough to have little or no truck with paranoia either, which makes me saner than the average Bear. Human I mean. (Sonmi isn’t human, but that’s a minor detail). The Vulcan half is where logic prevails, so on a good day I’m….almost perfect. *winks*.

        – sonmi nodding upon the Cloud

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was a compliment.

          Actually you’re absolutely right…” — yes I am. Thank you. 😀

          Words are tricksters, and the human ego a most fragile butterfly.

          Ahh, yes the big fat sligh, or fragile, human ego. It is the cheapest BEST entertainment on the planet I think. Well no, I take that back. It can get quite expensive! For self and/or for others! HAH! 😈 In 1971 then in 1989 those two events introduced me — the public me — to the primal me. That “beast” could never again be hidden or denied or put back in its original “cage”. Since then I’ve gotten to know that primate and because of that “recognition” — that goes back many thousands of years — I’ve discovered many MANY other primate cousins and other tribes. I’m not alone! Dare I say, WE are not alone! Yet, there are many Homo sapiens out there who have not discovered that ancient ego. I’ve embraced mine. There are times I really dislike it, but there are times when it puts me back in touch with the Multiverse, our planet, our basic needs and instincts. I’m actually now very good friends with it! 😉 I find it all very liberating… and probably in-line with your inference to “little or no paranoia” or fear. Fear is a big waste of time.

          …almost perfect.” — But very close?

          Liked by 1 person

        • This has made me think of one of my favourite quotes – begging your pardon in advance, for the length of the bugger – “The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” – Bill Hicks.

          Very close indeed *winks*

          – s.u.t.Cloud

          Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, tis true, sonmi is an honest soul and known for it. No digging needed to work out if all is as it seems. It is just that *smiles*. However, not bi-polar. Sonmi does however indulge in mindfulness, and is closer to being a Cloud than anything else.

        I like your comments, I enjoy ones that are more than mere pleasantries. Usually *laughs*.

        – sonmi waving from upon the Cloud

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ” Are we products of our DNA or of our environment, or a little of both?

    Dr. Robert Sapolsky, in his article “Peace Among Primates” wrote: “To an overwhelming extent, the age-old “nature versus nurture” debate is silly. The action of genes is completely intertwined with the environment in which they function; in a sense, it is pointless to even discuss what gene X does, and we should consider instead only what gene X does in environment Y.”

    The article gives an excellent example of how personality traits and behaviors can change among primates (i.e., baboons) when the dynamics of the environment change. He further states:

    “Thus the savanna baboon became, literally, a textbook example of life in an aggressive, highly stratified, male-dominated society. Yet in my observation of Forest Troop, I saw members of that same species demonstrate enough behavioral plasticity to transform their society into a baboon utopia.

    The first half of the twentieth century was drenched in the blood spilled by German and Japanese aggression, yet only a few decades later it is hard to think of two countries more pacific. Sweden spent the 17th century rampaging through Europe, yet it is now an icon of nurturing tranquility.

    […]

    We lack the type of physiology or anatomy that in other mammals determine their mating system, and have come up with societies based on monogamy, polygyny, and polyandry. And we have fashioned some religions in which violent acts are the entrée to paradise and other religions in which the same acts consign one to hell. Is a world of peacefully coexisting human Forest Troops possible? Anyone who says, “No, it is beyond our nature,” knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/peace_among_primates

    Thought provoking post, Professor. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Since then I’ve gotten to know that primate and because of that “recognition” — that goes back many thousands of years — I’ve discovered many MANY other primate cousins and other tribes. I’m not alone! Dare I say, WE are not alone! Yet, there are many Homo sapiens out there who have not discovered that ancient ego. I’ve embraced mine.”

    Your comment reminded me of a movie — Altered States. You might wanna be careful there. 😉 😀

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altered_States

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So, I’ve read all the links, (including NN’s above) and even watched the video, which was surprisingly interesting.

    The big five box is a mess and does not have an appropriate Kate category. As for all the other categories (I don’t like being categorised), I think I’ll let you guess where I lie.and along with self-esteem, perhaps you can decide if I am an Empath like sonmi? Or not? Nice allocation of homework for you there.

    And, are you deliberately inserting one or more sexist comment per post for my delectation?

    Liked by 2 people

    • The big five box is a mess and does not have an appropriate Kate category.

      Bwahahaha! Imagine that! 😛 Why that means you are ONE in some 7.32+ BILLION on the planet Roughseas! Woah! 😮
      As far as guessing “where you lie”… hmmm, I better carefully think my diagnosis through, maybe get back to you in 2-3 weeks after the labored considerations & ramifications! 😮 😉

      And, are you deliberately inserting one or more sexist comment per post for my delectation?

      Moah??? *suprised face & snicker* 😛

      Like

      • Come now sweetheart (not literally), I’m sure you have me off pat by now. Although it’s valid to consider potential ramifications.

        Guaranteed things to wind up Kate:
        1) Sexism
        2) Appalling spelling

        Gold star for both darling.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I still can’t label myself, even after watching the video. I agree that it’s “nature AND nurture,” not either / or!

    Either way, I’m an Aries…so, “I am.” Simple as that…”I am ME!”
    😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Cecilia!

      Happy you gained something from it, if not a few laughs. I ALWAYS find our resilient insects utterly fascinating & ingenious when it comes to survival & perpetuating their kind! 🙂

      Like

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