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Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

European Forest Cockchafer Keeps Gut Microbes Through Metamorphosis, Has Hilarious Name

The European forest cockchafer -- which no, I can't type without giggling, thank you for asking -- lives on a diet of rough, woody, cellulose-heavy food. It can't digest much of the tough material on its own, but relies on a community of hard-working microbes to process its meals. A new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, though, has revealed some surprising facts about the cockchafer's microbial community -- namely that the microbes it carries are persistent through its metamorphosis from larvae to beetle. That means that the microbes in its gut somehow survive the process of moving from grub to adult, which sees the animal's internal organs transform into entirely new structures.

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