Young aphids called soldiers sacrifice themselves doing home repairs when a caterpillar (or scientist) breaks through the wall of the hollow tree lump where Nipponaphis monzeni aphid colonies spend a few years. Magnified views show tiny youngsters blasting out a white fatty glob, and churning it with their feet to create an emergency scab. The colony recovers its wall, but those insects that fixed it don't survive long after spurting out so much fluid.
Read more: CREDITS
Story Susan Milius
Production Helen Thompson
Video Courtesy of Mayako Kutsukake
Music “Symphony No. 7 – II. Allegrretto” by Ludwig van Beethoven Leopold Stokowski/Philadephia Orchestra, archive.org
Citation M. Kutsukake et al. Exaggeration and cooption of innate immunity for social defense. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online April 15, 2019. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1900917116.