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:12/22/2016)... 20, 2016  As part of its longstanding mission to ... genetics company, recently released its latest children,s book, titled ... focuses on the topics of inheritance and variation of traits ... taught in elementary school classrooms in the US. ... illustrator Ariana Killoran , whose previous book with 23andMe, ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... --  IdentyTechSolutions America LLC , a leading provider ... a cutting-edge manufacturer of software and hardware security ... integrated solutions that comprise IDT biometric readers and ... IdentyTech,s customers with combined physical identification and anti-tailgating ... theft. "We are proud to use ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... ... and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Military Biometrics ... forecasts the global military biometrics market to grow at a CAGR of ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ... coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... and HOUSTON , ... ("NX Prenatal") today announced the formation of its ... leading clinicians and industry veterans who enhance the ... as it accelerates development of its novel prenatal ... provide medical, clinical and strategic guidance for the ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... software to leading biopharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and regulators, is proud to ... CFR Part 11-compliant email client designed to provide product vigilance departments with the ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) today ... Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading informatics experts, said data sharing plans should be ... recommended that NIH earmark funding for researchers to produce and execute data sharing ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 18, 2017 The global biotechnology services ... billion by 2025, according to a new report ... been adaptive of the function of outsourcing certain ... Among the services outsourced, clinical trial management and ... & Johnson was the first pharmaceutical company to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: