Navigation Links
Butterflies lose body fat during metamorphosis

A group of scientists from Oregon have discovered that butterflies experience a great loss in body fat during metamorphosis. The details of their findings appear in the March issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, an American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology journal.

"The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is one on nature's great mysteries," says William E. Connor of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. "Powerful chemical mediators are necessary to produce this transformation. We hypothesized that considerable energy would be necessary for metamorphosis to occur. It appears as though the larva is sleeping, and one might think that very little energy would be required in hibernation, but the reverse must be true since a great deal of metabolic activity is occurring in the butterfly chrysalis."

Because of this energy expenditure, Connor and his colleagues surmised that butterflies experience a great loss in body fat during metamorphosis. Using the Blue Morpho butterfly from the Butterfly Farm in Belize, the scientists analyzed the fatty acid composition and content of the butterflies, their diet, and their larva. They were able to do this easily because the larva feed solely on the leaves of the rain forest tree Pterocarpus, on which the butterfly lays its eggs.

On a daily basis, they measured the food consumption of the larva and then analyzed the fatty acid composition and content of the diet as well as the larva. Once the larva had transformed into butterflies, the researchers examined the fatty acid composition and content of the butterfly.

They found that both the diet and the tissues of the larva and butterfly had a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, the larva had a much higher total fatty acid content than the butterfly, indicating that the transformation from larva to butterfly drastically reduced the total fatty acid content.

"We were parti cularly impressed with how the caterpillar concentrated these polyunsaturated fatty acids and then transferred them to the butterfly," says Connor. "The polyunsaturated fatty acids can act as precursor substances for prostaglandin and other ferments that may be very necessary in the health of both the larva and the butterfly and, in particular, the transformation during metamorphosis. The mantra is that every organism has a specific dietary pattern which is important for its maturation and survival. Human beings are much in the same category."

Hoping to build on these initial findings, Connor and his colleagues are planning on looking at the Monarch butterfly next. Monarch larva feed exclusively on milkweed, and Connor has already started growing milkweed and analyzing it for this purpose. "It has very high polyunsaturated fatty acid composition, much like the leaves in Belize which the Blue Morpho caterpillar feeds on," explains Connor.


'"/>

Source:American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Related biology news :

1. Rats infected as newborns grew up vulnerable to memory problems during an immune challenge
2. Low level of extinction during ice age linked to adaptability
3. Key mechanism in genetic inheritance during cell division identified
4. Too much water may be as dangerous as too little during long-distance athletic events
5. Columbia study shows widely used artery clearing device does not help patients during heart attack
6. Unlike other mammals, newborn dolphins and orcas stay active 24/7 during first months of development
7. Mice brains shrink during winter, impairing some learning and memory
8. Vitamin As paradoxical role in influencing symmetry during embryonic development revealed
9. Any exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy is risky
10. Most embryos produced during IVF do not result in live births
11. Beach pollution is worst during new and full moon
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April 26, ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys ... announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... customers enhanced security to access and transact across ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics ... leadership of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., ... addition, members of the original technical leadership team, including ... Vice President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice ... have returned to the company. Dr. Bready ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision ... million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). ... and to advance its drug development efforts, as well ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner ... a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint ... new biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed ... co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We have ... us with the capital we need to meet our ... will essentially provide us the runway to complete validation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining ... Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: