A well-written but brief article in Wired on the fascinating and destructive bark and ambrosia beetles, important economic pests whose biology is little-known. The real wonder is in the accompanying photos, showing the beautiful and diverse beetles themselves, SEM photographs of the pouches they use to carry their symbiotic fungus from tree to tree, and species with males that never even grow out of the larval stage.
The effusive enthusiasm of the entomologist really comes out in this article:
On the subject of fungus, Hulcr is eloquent. “They smell like white fruit. They look like puffy clouds. Sometimes they look like brown sludge. They often taste like mushrooms. So no wonder the beetles like them,” he said. Asked whether he’d tasted the fungus himself, Hulcr said yes. “Wouldn’t it be fascinating to grow beetle symbiotic fungus on a large scale, so we could turn wood into fruit? There are so many opportunities. This is one of the most amazing systems out there. This is so cool and it’s so unexplored.”