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A tug of war within a fruit

A fig is not just a fruit, but also a live nursery for insects. Starting off as a live nursery with more than 2000 flowers, called the “syconium”, it has then played host to thousands of tiny insects. These insects are more than just casual visitors — they play a tug of war with each other inside the fig, deciding between them how long it takes for the fig fruit to develop.

A wasp armed with a toothed, saw-like drill

Wasps lay eggs using an egg laying organ called the ovipositor. Some wasps lay eggs inside figs and need to drill through the fig fruit to do so. Researchers from IISc have unearthed the mechanism that these wasps use — they have teeth like projections on the ovipositor, like a saw. And that’s not all, these teeth are coated with zinc. Insights gained from this study may help us to build tools that aid in robot assisted surgery, and novel mechanisms to bore through hard surfaces.

Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Every day, from sunrise to sunset, we witness innumerable events that happen in nature. Since thousands of years, humans have been intrigued by the beauty and clock-like precision of the day and night cycle. This curiosity and the desire to know the secrets of nature resulted in a huge body of knowledge, called physics. Later, physics led to scientific and industrial revolutions in Europe and North America, which eventually spread to rest of the world. Since then, physics has continued to touch human lives in numerous ways.

Samanway Special Newsletter

Image: Pp391 / CC-BY

This newsletter, created in association with Gubbi Labs, a private research collective interested in popular science communication, this newsletter gives you overviews of the ongoing research at IISc.