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:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016  A new partnership announced today ... underwriting decisions in a fraction of the time ... and high-value life insurance policies to consumers without ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and ... (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... City, Missouri (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... Development Manager, Turf and Ornamental Products. , In his 15-year career with PBI-Gordon, Dave ... Herbicide Product Manager, where he was integral in the development and launch of many ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... NEW YORK , May 27, 2016 ... state, but investors playing in this space know that volatility ... this morning,s featured companies on ActiveWallSt.com: Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: ... CTIC ), Lpath Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTN ), and ... now and gain access to the technical alerts for these ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 Q BioMed ... it will be a featured presenter at the 5th Annual ... New York City at the Grand Hyatt ... , Q BioMed Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at ... the company,s business strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Kinder Scientific (KinderScientific.com), a leading animal ... the Company for the future. Kinder Scientific announces restructured ownership and additional ... appointed Chairman of the Board, Curtis D. Kinghorn has been appointed CEO/President and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: