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Fear factor seems relevant in decomposing bug's effect on soil

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The chemical composition of a dead grasshopper influences the microscopic processes below ground. Those chemicals are influenced if it's not at peace. Whether an animal lives in safety or is terrorized by a predator can change the biochemical trajectory of the local ecosystem where it dies. The findings point to an expanded role for both predators and prey in their local environments. The total mass of animals on the planet is puny compared with that of plants and bacteria. So researchers have long assumed that when a predator, like a spider, eats its prey, like a grasshopper, the main effect on the microbial environment is the obvious one. When a grasshopper dies, the chemical composition of its decomposing body also has a large influence on the microscopic processes going on in the area's soil. And the chemicals in the corpse are influenced by the dread of living near a killer spider.

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