UA Biologist Offers a Solution to the ‘Freeloaders Paradox’

UANews | October 2002

Freeloaders, it seems, show up everywhere in nature, not just at the company picnic. Pine bark beetles, upon discovering a suitable tree to lay their eggs, emit a pheromone to muster thousands more beetles to the find. Most of the beetles that arrive collaborate to infect the tree with fungi that will kill it. A few freeloaders, though, may accept the airborne invitation without participating in the attack, instead lingering to lay their eggs in the tree which the others have invested their energies to prepare. read story