Navigation Links
Ladybirds -- wolves in sheep's clothing
Date:6/28/2011

CSIRO research has revealed that the tremendous diversity of ladybird beetle species is linked to their ability to produce larvae which, with impunity, poach members of 'herds' of tiny, soft-bodied scale insects from under the noses of the aggressive ants that tend them.Reconstructing the evolutionary history of ladybird beetles (family Coccinellidae), the researchers found that the ladybirds' first major evolutionary shift was from feeding on hard-bodied ("armoured") scale insects to soft-bodied scale insects.

"Soft-bodied scales are easier to eat, but present a whole new challenge," says Dr Ainsley Seago, a researcher with the CSIRO's Australian National Insect Collection.

"These soft-bodied sap-feeding insects are tended by ants, which guard the defenceless scales and collect a 'reward' of sugary honeydew. The ant tenders aggressively defend their scale insect 'livestock' and are always ready to attack any predator that threatens their herd."Therein lay the evolutionary problem confronting ladybird beetles, whose larvae were highly vulnerable to ant attack.

To avoid being killed as they poach the ant's scales, ladybird larvae evolved to produce two anti-ant defences: an impregnable woolly coat of wax filaments, and glands which produce defensive chemicals. Most of the ladybird family's 6,000 species are found in lineages with one or both of these defences.

"We found that most of ladybird species' richness is concentrated in groups with these special larval defences," Dr Seago said.

"These groups are more successful than any other lineage of ladybird beetle. Furthermore, these defences have been 'lost' in the few species that have abandoned soft-scale poaching in favour of eating pollen or plant leaves.

"This is an unusual way for diversity to arise in an insect group.

"In most previous research, insect species richness has been linked to co-evolution or adaptive 'arms races' with plants."

This research helps to place Australia's ladybirds in the evolutionary tree of life for insects, and helps us to understand the complex system of mechanisms by which beetle diversity has arisen.


'/>"/>

Contact: Fiona McFarlane
Fiona.McFarlane@csiro.au
61-738-335-654
CSIRO Australia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Biologists solve mystery of black wolves
2. Bone deformities linked to inbreeding in Isle Royale wolves
3. Beewolves protect their offspring with antibiotics
4. Are wolves saving Yellowstones aspen trees from elk?
5. Sharks and wolves: Predator, prey interactions similar on land and in oceans
6. GPS study shows wolves more reliant on a cattle diet
7. Poop reveals an immigrant in Isle Royale wolves gene pool
8. Compression clothing and athletic performance -- functional or fad?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/12/2017)...  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV ), a ... that it has signed agreements with seven strategic partners ... Middle East for commercialization of the ... wave of international distribution agreements for Trovagene,s CLIA based ... The initial partners will introduce Trovagene,s liquid biopsy ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... 2017 Intoxalock, a leading ignition interlock provider, ... its patent-pending calibration device. With this new technology, Intoxalock ... upload data logs and process repairs at service center ... "Fighting drunk driving through the application of cutting-edge technologies ... but also for the customer who can get back ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... Colo. , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic ... the "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... 2015 to build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem ... on a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and ... the agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will provide ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... 20, 2017 Stock-Callers.com explores the ... influenced the most recent performances of select equities. In ... RGLS ), Abeona Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ), and Sage Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SAGE ... View Research, global Biotech market size is expected to reach $604.40 billion by ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... NEW YORK , January 20, 2017 ... Health Organization, cancer is one of leading causes of ... in 2012. Although the number of cancer related deaths ... since 1990. Rising in incidence rate of various cancers ... According to a research report by Global Market Insights, ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Type, Application - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022" ... ... is projected to reach $15,737 million by 2022 from $6,521 in ... Omic technologies segment accounted for more than half ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... and HOUSTON , Jan. 19, ... today announced the formation of its Medical/Clinical Advisory ... and industry veterans who enhance the range and ... accelerates development of its novel prenatal diagnostic tests.  ... clinical and strategic guidance for the company,s product ...
Breaking Biology Technology: