Easygoing desert locusts about to ravage the countryside!

Sharon forwarded me this article from today's "Strib" as we call it in Minneapolis, also known as the "Star-Tribune newspaper." Normally I would associate this quality of journalism with say Fox News, or a Yahoo thumbnail, but this is the Associated Press for um, gosh sakes. 
I especially like the last sentence.

Brain chemical jolts lonely, solitary locusts into insatiable gangs (all it needs is an exclamation point and it's ready for the National Enquirer)
January 30, 2009

A chemical that affects people's moods also can transform easygoing desert locusts into terrifying swarms that ravage the countryside, scientists reported. (Something tells me that's not exactly how the scientists put it) "Here we have a solitary and lonely creature, the desert locust. But just give them a little serotonin, and they go and join a gang," observed Malcolm Burrows of the University of Cambridge in England. (Thanks, for breaking down all those years of research for us, Malcolm - this is definitely the "Hard Science"  George Bush was looking for)

The brain chemical serotonin has been linked to mood in people. It plays a role in sexual desire, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. Under certain conditions, (makes quotation marks with fingers) locusts triple the amount of serotonin in their systems, changing the insects from loners to pack animals, Burrows and his co-authors report in the journal Science. (That's Science!  With a capital "S"!)

These packs can be devastating. Last year, a swarm nearly 4 miles long plagued Australia. They also occur in Africa and Asia and have affected the western United States.

"Now that they know what causes the swarming behavior, scientists can begin looking for ways to prevent it."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

That's it. That's the whole article! 
Let's get on with preventing this, for lack of a better word, "nature" as soon as possible.
-T.

1 comment:

dignature said...

Forgot to mention that this story reminded me of yet another 80's song lyric.
This one from the Dead Milkmen:

"Was knocked outta bed
Late last night
I was woken up by the sound of dynamite
I ran downstairs to find an army man
He said "We gotta blow up those things we don't understand!"

(Got a Big Lizard in my backyard, can't afford to feed it anymore...)