APR 15, 2018 6:46 PM PDT

A Microbe Helps Beetles Ruin Coffee

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Learn more from this video about an interesting survival strategy employed by a tiny beetle, the coffee berry borer beetle. They're only a few millimeters long, but they can disrupt coffee supplies as they chow down on coffee plants. Native to Africa, the females have a short lifespan of up to 190 days, and the males only live up to 40 days. These males usually live out their whole life on only one coffee plant, where they bore in and mate with females, who can then lay their eggs their or in another plant.

The caffeine in the coffee plants would be toxic to other insects. But the beetles carry microbes along with them called Pseudomonas fulva. That bacterium can break the caffeine down, allowing the beetle to survive and reproduce.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
DEC 17, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 17, 2019
What to Expect From Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program sports two major contenders for sending astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil for the first...
JAN 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 13, 2020
An Albatross Mother's Work is Never Done
Albatross chicks are naturally flightless, and this increases their dependence on their parental units to bring back food for them to eat. In this chick&rs...
JAN 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 15, 2020
The "Normal" Body Temperature Has Decreased
Did you know that the standard human body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was established in 1868? A few modern studies have called this figure into...
JAN 17, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 17, 2020
Toxic Metals and Cardiovascular Risk
A meta-analysis was recently published in the British Medical Journal to try and understand if there was a link between heart events and exposure to toxic ...
JAN 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 27, 2020
This Octopus Emerges From the Water in Search of Food
Most octopuses live and breathe underwater, just like the vast majority of other marine animals. But this octopus endemic to Australia has a special abilit...
FEB 13, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 13, 2020
Equations for Chaos: A Mathematic Paradox
Equations are ordered, elegant mathematical constructs used to describe specific patterns. Can you imagine some formulas depict the very opposite: chaos an...
Loading Comments...