The coming of fall in the South can mean many things, but above all is football season. I hope that your favorite team is exceeding your expectations and is on track for making a bowl game. So, with football being such an integral aspect of southern living, I figured why not attempt to tie football talk with insect facts. Before we begin let’s consider what components make up a great football team. I believe the common answer would be along the lines of possessing an explosive offense and a stubborn defense. Then let’s set up an insect all-star team. We will only have time for the offense but maybe this time next year we will round out the defense.
First, to captain our team, we will need a quarterback that can communicate and control everyone on the field. The honey bee is a perfect fit. They are an intellectual and social species, that have mastered teamwork and communication. Did you know that honey bees communicate through what is called the “waggle dance”? This is a series of figure eight or circle movements that inform other workers where a food source is located. Talk about the ultimate no huddle offense. Second, we need a bruising and punishing offensive line. I believe the second largest insect in the world, the Eastern Hercules beetle, would do just fine. This large beetle boasts menacing horns, which they use as pinchers, and a lot of brute strength. Males of this species fight with one another over territory and mating. In a lab experiment the Eastern Hercules beetle could lift and carry 850 times its own weight! Third, a quick and agile running back is always a plus to have in the backfield. It might come as a surprise to some, but the American cockroach is extremely quick. They can run up to speeds of 1.5 meters per second. To put things into perspective, the human equivalent of that speed would be roughly 200 miles per hour. Lastly, we need some receivers that won’t drop a pass and I can think of no better recruit than the dragonfly. Dragonflies catch their insect prey by grabbing it with their feet in mid-air. They’re so efficient in their hunting that, in one Harvard University study, dragonflies caught 90 to 95 percent of the prey released into their enclosure. Now that is an impressive reception record.
Those skillsets in an offense would surely be impressive, and maybe even good enough to rival Alabama’s prowess this year.