There’s far more to a pine beetle’s back than a hard black shell. Researchers have found that these tiny creatures—responsible for rampant and widespread forest destruction—carry on their backs battling species of fungi, plus a powerful antibiotic molecule that can destroy pathogenic fungi—something that no current medications have achieved. After viewing the photo gallery, read an accompanying story to learn more.
The pine beetle takes flight.
Inside the pine tree, the beetles bore a network of tunnels in which to lay their eggs.
The interloping mite hitches a ride on the beetle and sneaks a fungus that acts as a pathogen to the beetle larvae food supply.
Beetle profile. The arrow points to the general area where the beetle stores the nutritional fungi to feed its larvae.
A deep look into colonies of the nutritional fungus.
Actinomycetous bacterium, described for the first time in this paper at nature's own antibiotic against pathogenic fungi.