At that time of the year, bones, skulls and bones enter the biscuits, porches and store windows.
Although bones are generally regarded as a symbol of death, the process of turning newly dead animals into bones relies on the explosion of life, and the explosion of life gives rise to the decomposition process. Much of this transformation process is performed by squirming, crawling and trapping insects.
Through decades of careful observation and experimentation, entomologists described a five-stage decomposition model. The model illustrates how insects work closely with microbes to transform their warm body into a pile of bones, while at the same time recovering carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and many other nutrients so that other organisms can grow and multiply.
It started with a corpse
The first stage of decomposition (called the “fresh stage”
Within minutes to hours after the animal’s death, insects begin to arrive.Most of the insects that settled in this early period came from i Section (butterfly) Muscidae (Housefly), and Sarcophagi (Drosophila) family.
These early flies looked for quality real estate to store their eggs. Usually, this is limited to natural tooth decay (such as nostrils or mouth) or any external injuries (such as abrasions) of the animal. The moisture content and soft tissues of these areas provide ideal nursery habitats for the development of young.
Expansion, and methane
Next is expansion. In the second stage of decomposition, the lack of oxygen in the body begins to favor anaerobic microorganisms. These bacteria will thrive in the absence of oxygen in the body.
When the bacteria begin to expel gases such as hydrogen sulfide and methane, the abdomen begins to swell. The car body started to turn black and smelled bad. Since the car body is an unusual and short-lived nutrient source, many insects may be found several kilometers away and spread to the a body.
During the bloating phase, the eggs will hatch, a large number and begin to feed on meat. At this point, the beetle joined the feeding frenzy. Some beetles, such as carrion beetles, will feed on the nutrient-rich meat in the car body.
Carrion beetles (such as wandering beetles and clown beetles) arrive to feed on on.
Use their magic
The third stage is called “active decay”. This stage starts with the carcass slowly deflating, which is similar to a tire pierced by a nail. The larva pierces a small hole into the body cavity, allowing the gas to escape.
The tissue begins to liquefy, moisturize the body, and then release a rancid smell. At the end of the active decay phase, feed is concentrated in the chest cavity of the animal. Soon, the beetles became popular, and a large number of adult beetles and clown beetles were swallowed by cho insects.
Once most of the meat is eaten, the body enters the late stage of decay. The rotten smell of the car body began to fade, most of which left the got body and melted in the soil below.
Next, the adult skin female beetle reaches the body and begins to lay eggs. Dermestid beetles-small scaly round beetles-are scavengers that feed on all kinds of dry materials: fur, feathers, dead plants and even carpets!
If you are not familiar with them, maybe you haven’t read it carefully enough-a 2016 survey of arthropods in houses found that 100% of households have leather beetles.
Dermestid beetle has done the job
The final stage of decomposition is called dry decay. At this stage, few adult flies are attracted by the torso. During dry rot, the body will become bone, cartilage, dry skin and hair. So far, there is almost no smell.
The larval skin beetle continues to clean the bones, leaving a remains that looks very similar to the disassembled bone. In fact, dermal insulation beetles are so effective in cleaning bones that museums often use them when preparing to collect and display bones.
The little things that run the world
Although witnessing this difficult task is not suitable for those with narrow stomachs, the decomposition of animal remains is the basic process of recycling nutrients in the ecosystem.
Nutrients such as carbon (the foundation of all life on earth), phosphorus, and nitrogen that all living things need to grow are in limited supply in the ecosystem. They must be reused and recycled continuously to ensure the continuation of life.
After decomposition, the soil under the corpse will contain a high concentration of nutrients relative to the surrounding ecosystem.
However, the nutrients released into the environment are not all retained in the soil and plants. The nutrients and energy contained in the dead animal (whether it is a rat, a raccoon or a crow) are reused and repackaged into a living insect that can breathe.
When these insects feed on the feeding body, they spread to the wider environment, where they continue to be productive members of the ecosystem.
These identical insects help pollinate our crops (including pumpkins), fill the abdomens of insectivores (such as bats), and are vital to the breakdown of other dead organisms (such as rats, toadstools, and snakes).
If you stumble upon animal bones during Halloween season or any other time of the year, please take a moment to consider the barbaric drama that made this discovery possible.
Paul Manning is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Agriculture at Dalhousie University.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.