Navigation Links
Some caterpillers just don't want to grow up

For many years, ecologists from the Centre of Environment and Hydrology (CEH) have investigated the ecology of Maculinea rebeli, a Lycaenid butterfly whose caterpillars live as parasites inside colonies of Myrmica ants, where they feed on regurgitations from the nurse ants. One of the peculiar features of this species' ecology is that only about 25% of the caterpillars complete development within one year. The rest are inactive in the first season and mature only after two years. "The question puzzling us for some time," says Prof. Jeremy Thomas, director of the CEH in Dorset, "was to understand why so many caterpillars waste one year's time by delaying their development. From all what we know, which developmental pathway a caterpillar takes is determined early during the caterpillar's life, presumably by its mother."

An international project on the ecology of Maculinea butterflies has now brought together the CEH team with theoreticians from the universities of Würzburg and Montpellier to investigate this problem. Together they have compiled various potential adaptive explanations for the evolution of such strategies into a general and quantitative model. "The problem was not the lack of, but multitude of alternative mechanisms principally capable to explain the evolution of delayed development," Dr. Thomas Hovestadt, the project leader from Würzburg University, points out.

The scientists conclude that low added mortality and intense competition among caterpillars in the nest are a prerequisite for the evolution of delayed development, but cannot explain it on their own. In contrast, sibling competition and "segregation" ?cohorts from both years do not always compete because infected ant colonies avoid re-infection in the next season ?favor evolutionary stable fractions of slow developers up to 50%. However, among all arguments suggested so far, only a "priority effect" ?the competitive asymmetry between last year's slow and this year's fast deve loping caterpillars ?can explain why more than 50% of caterpillars mature in their second season. Yet, according to the currently available data, the effect seems to be too weak to fully explain the large proportion of caterpillars delaying development. Based on a simple model expansion, the scientists predict that added benefits achieved by slow-developers after emergence would also tip the balance in favor of slow development. It is now a matter of further field and lab work to demonstrate that such benefits exist.


'"/>

Source:University of Chicago Press Journals


Related biology news :

1. Penguins waddle but they dont fall down, UH researchers say
2. Nearly half of people who need cholesterol treatment dont get it
3. Study: Paramedics save more lives when they dont follow the rules
4. Even fish dont swim well when theyre young!
5. One-third of adults with diabetes still dont know they have it
6. Survival of the selfless - scientists find cheats dont always prosper
7. Why mice dont get cancer of the retina
8. Why dont all moles progress to melanoma?
9. New cigarette designs dont offer lower predicted cancer risks
10. Mosquito repellents that emit high-pitched sounds dont prevent bites
11. When your brain talks, your muscles dont always listen
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition ... Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions , a ... enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of retired FBI ... public safety business development. Mr. Sheridan brings ... including a focus on the aviation transportation sector, to ... position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation Liaison Agent ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... enables to match face pictures against each other or against large databases. The ... ... fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Agriculture technology company ... A financing and note conversion to commercialize its Cool ... is focused on developing products that are simultaneously profitable ... million in the last 18 months. This latest round ... Bridge Venture Partners. The company,s primary ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN), today announced a major ... and GSK to generate genetic sequence data from the 500,000 ... enable researchers to gain valuable insights to support advances in ... serious and life threatening diseases. ... Genetic evidence has revolutionized scientific ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017  UBM and the Massachusetts ... their extended partnership and the third annual Massachusetts Medtech ... the 21 st Annual MassMEDIC Conference held ... May 3-4, 2017. MassMEDIC will ... (ADVAMED) President and CEO, Scott Whitaker , ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017   iSpecimen ®, the ... Doctors Pathology Service (DPS), a full-service anatomic ... the United States , has joined a ... Information Network (DHIN) to make human biospecimens and ... The novel program, announced in 2015 as a collaboration ...
Breaking Biology Technology: