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any obligate scavengers?



Betty Cunningham wrote:

>WileE81@aol.com wrote:
>> Can anyone name one land animal (that does not have the distance covering
>> advantage of flight) who exists  totally dependant upon scavenging without 
>>ANY
>> form of predation?
>I'm trying to remember the name of the bug they use to strip carcasses
>down to the bone in preparing specimens

There is a genus of ant which lives in at least one African desert (this is 
as precise as I can remember), which feeds on other insects which get caught 
out in the sun and overcome by the heat.  Whether they are always dead by 
the time the ants find them I don't know - I don't even know how you define 
death in arthropods.  I also don't know whether these ants include anything 
else their diet.  

I am sure that they are flightless, except for reproductives.  The charming 
popular entomology book The Thermal Warriors explains the ecology of these 
insects, and I'll refer to it when I get home tonight.  If nobody pre-empts 
me, I'll give you the name tomorrow. 

Sadly I must admit that a eusocial insect a few millimetres long is not an 
ideal model for Tyrannosaurus.

>> (very large animals are for some reason excluded from this ,elephants for
>> example for reasons I do not know.could it be that being mammals their size
>> limits the number of young they may give birth to at a single time?)
>yuo bet.  
 
Elephant populations can (slowly) build up to the point where they cause 
great damage to trees.  Once the policy was to cull them, but I think now it 
is seen as a natural, sustainable cycle between wooded and grassland 
savannah.

                                                                Bill Adlam