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Discovery: Partially metal-plated syringe used by insect

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From Popular Mechanics:

But a research team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore has just published the first scientific breakdown of the wasp’s strange tool. As they report today in The Journal of Experimental Biology, the insect’s strange ovipositor—its egg-laying syringe—is partially metal-plated with zinc. While similar metallic amalgams have been hypothesized to exist in the ovipositors of other wasp species, this is the first ever confirmed.

“There are many different challenges for this one tool,” says Namrata Gundiah, a biomechanical engineer that led the research team. “It must be hard but flexible so that the female wasp can curve and bore it through the fig. And the wasp must be able to use it repeatedly and efficiently without it wearing down or fracturing.”

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