More on Mr. T (bflying in parks)

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Wed Sep 3 08:46:03 EDT 1997

Chris Conlan wrote:

>Invertebrates utilize a much different strategy for
>survival and often don't fit into the same old arguments people use for
>birds and mammals.

Just to give a clear counterexample (for information's sake, not trying to
provoke more debate), consider the group of insects I study most closely:
ground-nesting bees. There are some 3,000 species native to North America
alone, and in very few of these is the average lifetime reproductive output
per female above 6 to 8 offspring, NOT including mortality. Many tend to
aggregate their nests into small patches of soil with suitable exposure and
drainage. They also tend to be intensely philopatric, with very little
dispersal (which helps explain the former phenomenon). I should say that it
is trivially easy to obliterate a population of such an insect - one
bulldozer or construction crew is enough. They do NOT have a survival
strategy different from birds or mammals - they invest large amounts of
energy in constructing nests and caring for their young, even though they
are invertebrates. The only point I'm trying to make is that NO regulations
based on a generalization about any type of organism is going to work
satisfactorily without exceptions...and I doubt the lawmakers will be happy
if you ask them to draft separate regulations for butterflies as opposed to
bees as opposed to tiger beetles as opposed to dragonflies, etc., etc.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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