Navigation Links
Tiny minotaurs and mini-Casanovas: Ancient pigmy moths reveal secrets of their diversity
Date:3/18/2013

Researchers Robert Hoare (Landcare Research, New Zealand) and Erik van Nieukerken (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands) have named new moths after the Minotaur of Greek mythology and the legendary Italian philanderer Giacomo Casanova in a study of the evolution of southern pigmy moths. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The tiny moths, with wingspans of 3 to 8 millimetres, belong to a very old group (the family Nepticulidae), which dates back more than 110 million years to the time of the dinosaurs. Australian pigmy moths are particularly diverse and unusual, and one group (genus Pectinivalva, 'ancient pigmy moths') has until now only been reported from that continent, where over 140 species are known.

Each species of pigmy moth is associated with one or a few related species of plant on which they lay their eggs. Caterpillars make a mine inside the leaf, the shape of the mine often being characteristic of the species that made it.

By reconstructing the evolution of the ancient pigmy moths, Hoare and van Nieukerken have shown that the original host of the group was probably a rainforest plant of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). As Australia dried out from about 15 million years ago, the rainforest was greatly reduced in extent, and the myrtle family came to dominate the vegetation of the arid interior, with the now familiar eucalyptus trees becoming especially diverse and abundant. The ancient pigmy moths in their turn transferred to the newly dominant host-plants, and now most known species of Pectinivalva feed on Eucalyptus and its close relatives, with just a few still attached to rainforest myrtles. Probably, the rainforests of Indonesia, New Guinea and New Caledonia will be found to be home to further undiscovered members of the genus Pectinivalva; a new species (P. xenadelpha) from Borneo is the first non-Australian member of the genus known.

What of those new names? The males of many species of ancient pigmy moths display special scales for close-range scent dispersal during courtship of the female. These can be on the front legs, on the wings or on the body of the moth, and may form moustache-like tufts or groups like overlapping shells, best seen under high magnification. Some species have a strange pocket-like structure on the hind wing with scent scales surrounding it in a palisade. In one group of metallic-coloured species, the males are particularly well equipped for courtship with a variety of sex-specific modifications. This group has been named as a subgenus Casanovula after Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798), the Italian adventurer famous for his many romantic entanglements. The male of the most spectacular species not only has two different kinds of shell-like scent scales on the body, but huge flattened and expanded antennae, whose function is unknown, but which are also presumed to be attractive to females. This species has been named Pectinivalva (Casanovula) minotaurus, after the bull-headed Cretan beast of Greek mythology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Robert Hoare
hoarer@landcareresearch.co.nz
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Paving the way for greater use of ancient medical knowledge
2. UGA researchers shed light on ancient origin of life
3. Color in fossil insects, diamonds from the ancient ocean floor and modeling the worlds largest rivers
4. Ancient teeth bacteria record disease evolution
5. The worlds most sensitive plasmon resonance sensor inspired by ancient Roman cup
6. Ancient insects shed light on biodiversity
7. Large, ancient landslides delivered preferred upstream habitats for coho salmon
8. Climate change clues from tiny marine algae -- ancient and modern
9. Genetic mystery of Behcets disease unfolds along the ancient Silk Road
10. Analysis of Marcellus flowback finds high levels of ancient brines
11. Warming climate unlikely to cause extinction of ancient Amazon trees, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tiny minotaurs and mini-Casanovas: Ancient pigmy moths reveal secrets of their diversity
(Date:5/16/2016)...   EyeLock LLC , a market leader of ... an IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, ... of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris ... security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most ... EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a fast ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... when it comes to expanding freedom for high net ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is ... conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with ... obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung ... global partnership that will provide end customers with a ... and payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ... for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes is ... 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes enzymes ... products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other markets) ... biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the largest ... consumption of products containing enzymes in developing regions.  ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , ... announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables ... the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks ... to industrial engineering, was today awarded as one ... selection of the world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo ... scale for the real world in the nutrition, ... engineers work directly with customers including Fortune 500 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the ... commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject ... it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or ...
Breaking Biology Technology: