R. KELLY vs PHOENIX
ABX - Ignition (1901 Remix) (R. Kelly vs Phoenix)
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BOUNCE BOUNCE: We don’t usually repeat tracks, but when R. Kelly and Phoenix did a live mashup at Coachella we pretty much didn’t have a choice but to recreate it. Hopefully this means R. Kelly is at the stage of his career where he just shows up and sings “Ignition (Remix)” over other people’s songs all the time.
Behold, the woolly aphid!
Okay, so this is not actually a really interesting animal. I mean, it is, but in like the ICP “I don’t understand science” way and not in an objectively interesting sense. Unless you’re really down with virgin births and super-involved lifecycles and weird wax armor (that’s what that “wool” is) and not really being an aphid and being farmed by ants, in which case, okay, they’re objectively interesting, are you happy now, mother?
So I am not going to tell you about woolly aphids. I don’t actually care about woolly aphids right now.
I am going to tell you about green lacewings.
They’re so pretty, aren’t they? I mean, look at them.
So pretty. Like if a grasshopper and a damselfly had a baby, right?
Well, when they’re young, they eat woolly aphids, because fuck woolly aphids, you know? They’re delicious, and they have it coming. And I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “Hey, didn’t you say that woolly aphids are farmed by ants? Doesn’t that kind of pose a problem for the green lacewing larvae intent on getting their buffet on?”
And I did! Woolly aphids produce “honeydew” as a byproduct of sucking the sap out of plants, which you may remember being like a sports drink for ants, because ants are kind of gross. So ants, being gross, will shepherd the aphids and tend to them and be all like “Come at me, bro” and then win when lacewing larvae are all “But I only want to eat all of them, come on, man, have a heart.”
Just to be clear, here, this is what green lacewing larvae look like:
Needless to say, ants are usually not very moved by the ugly little bastards’ pleas. Fortunately for green lacewing larvae, they are super good are make-overs.
Ta-da! Look at that glorious bastard now. You wouldn’t think it’s the same animal, would you? Well, I guess you might, because you’re a people, and people identify objects and animals using very different criteria than ants do. But ants don’t, because they’re the ones this is designed to fool. Or, I don’t know, maybe lacewings just enjoy terrorizing the fuck out of woolly aphids before they eat them, and fooling ants is a super-cool upshot that they’re still highfiving themselves over.
And you may be asking yourself “Why would any given woolly aphid feel terrorized by this make-over, aside from the whole thing where it’s done to more effectively eat them?”, which is a really excellent question.
And the answer is that any given woolly aphid might conceivably feel terrorized by this make-over because, rather than taking the express train to Squaresville and growing its own wax-floss coat of armor, the green lacewing larvae in question all go out, murder an aphid, pull off its wool, and then dress up in it. Presumably they do all this while screaming “Am I pretty now, mother?” at stray dragonflies, who then refuse to make eye contact and cross to the other side of the street, because they do not have time for whatever the hell is going on down there.
So that big wardrobe change up there? The secret ingredient is the pelts of its previous meals. The coat fools ants into behaving as if it’s just another woolly aphid when it roves amongst the flock, seeking its next victim, and, in the unlikely event of detection, it keeps the little bitey motherfuckers off it. Or—and I feel like this is also a perfectly valid take on it—the ants see it, recognize a kindred spirit, and let it go about its work unmolested, like one of those ill-advised horror-movie team-ups where monsters are like “Oh, hey, you’re a monster? I’m a monster, too. Let’s chase teenagers around together!”.
It’s also theoretically possible that woolly aphids are all, “Whatever, no big deal, it’s just a (comparatively) huge horrible predator dressed in the skins of my brethren, its previous kills, I’m gonna take five and maybe smoke a tiny aphid cigarette.” I mean, there have been no scientific studies showing that woolly aphids are not stone-cold hard motherfuckers whose balls comprise 30% of their body weight*. So keep in mind that that actually could be what’s happening here. I just don’t think it is, because when scientists remove the aphid-skin doom-coat (because science, that’s why) and chuck them into a feeding ground, everybody freaks the hell out.
So there you have it: woolly aphids and the tiny baby insectile Leatherfaces who feed on them.
*We do know the physical size of their junk, because science. We still can’t measure the size of their metaphorical balls, because that grant got suspended.
STUCKINABUCKET DOES MORE SCIENCE TALK. Day: made.
Also, jeeeeeesus christ almighty, lacewing, you are a hard-ass motherfucker. That is some twisted shit.