Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sloths, Moths and Friends


The mutual symbiotic relationship between sloths, moths, algae and friends.



I have always had a soft spot for sloths, looking further into this beautiful creature provided me with even more appreciation!! <3

The three-toed sloth is a host for a sweet soggy ecosystem moving with great leisure, but not without purpose. The fur on the sloth's back contains cracks that rainwater settles into providing a choice environment for algae to grow.  The algae provides nutrients to Cryptoses moths, who live only on these sloths. It also provides the sloth with camouflage from predators. The most amazing part is that the sloth takes the time and energy to risk it's life once a week to climb to the ground, dig a hole, poo in the hole and cover it up with leaves before climbing back up. The moths lay their eggs in the poo which provides the larvae and the trees the sloth lives in nutrition. 

So good! 

(The sloth is a host for other insects as well, though I chose to focus primarily on the sloth moth symbiotic relationship.)

Source links below.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/21/can-moths-explain-why-sloths-poo-on-the-ground/http://science.time.com/2014/01/22/the-mystery-of-sloth-poop-one-more-reason-to-love-science/https://tropical-ecology.wikispaces.com/Symbiotic+Relationships+of+the+Tropics

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