A recent study suggests that adaptive evolution might actually play a role in the dynamics of the predator-prey relationship.
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A female wasp stings a spider in her own web, temporarily paralyzing her. Then the wasp lays an egg on the spider’s abdomen. The paralysis wears off, and the spider gets up and goes about her business as usual.
For decades, mathematical ecologists struggling to formulate equations that accurately describe the relationship between predator and prey have come up against the following paradox: if the predators are too successful, the prey population dies out, and then the predators end up starving.
When a beaver chews on a cottonwood, the tree does release these noxious chemicals as usual, but the bitter chemicals released into the tree’s new leaves actually attract a certain leaf-eating beetle.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure how butterflies evolved this way, but evidence suggest that these ears might be evidence that bats created butterflies by driving moths into the daylight. The idea is that with the evolution of bat echolocation, moths had to find some way of avoiding the predator’s jaws.