Stick Insects eggs Dispersed by Being Eaten

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In summary, stick insects, similar to plant seeds, have the ability to survive passage through a bird's gut and disperse to new areas. This phenomenon has been observed in various species of insects, including the non-biting midge larvae and has been studied extensively in recent years. This has led to the theory of "the constipated bird" as a means of plant dispersal. The process of long-distance dispersal of aquatic invertebrates via birds has been a topic of interest in the scientific community.
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BillTre

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Similar to how some plant seed get spread to non-local areas, a percentage ofthe eggs of stick insects can survive passage through a birds gut.
Science magazine news blurb here.
 
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That's really interesting. Stick insects being dispersed by birds? Something that baffles me.
 
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Plant seeds and some insects eggs/larvae survive a GI transit of (usually) a bird gut. Some actually require it as part of an organism's dispersal strategy.

Examples:
chironomid Chironomus salinarius {non-biting midge) larvae are carried passively in bird guts to new environments.
http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/1/55.short

abstract only: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1366-9516.2005.00147.x 'Recent advances in the study of long‐distance dispersal of aquatic invertebrates via birds'

This paper is often cited as the one behind 'the constipated bird theory of plant dispersal'
https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wilson/v063n04/p0235-p0237.pdf
 
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1. How do stick insect eggs get dispersed by being eaten?

Stick insect eggs have a hard outer shell that is resistant to being crushed or digested. When a predator eats a stick insect, the eggs are not affected and pass through the predator's digestive system intact. When the predator defecates, the eggs are dispersed in the surrounding environment.

2. What animals typically eat stick insects and disperse their eggs?

Birds, lizards, and small mammals are the most common predators of stick insects. They feed on the insects and their eggs, and the eggs are dispersed when the predators defecate.

3. Is this a common method of dispersal for stick insect eggs?

Yes, this is a very common method of dispersal for stick insect eggs. In fact, it is the primary method of dispersal for many species of stick insects.

4. Are there any risks to the stick insect eggs when they are dispersed by being eaten?

There are some risks to the stick insect eggs when they are dispersed by being eaten. If the predator's digestive system is too acidic or if the eggs are exposed to extreme temperatures, they may not survive. However, stick insect eggs are adapted to withstand these risks and a large number of eggs are typically produced to increase the chances of survival.

5. How far can stick insect eggs be dispersed by being eaten?

The distance that stick insect eggs can be dispersed by being eaten depends on the size and mobility of the predator. Birds, for example, can disperse the eggs over a larger distance than smaller predators like lizards. However, stick insect eggs are often dispersed within a relatively close range of their original location, as many predators tend to stay in a specific area for feeding.

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