Navigation Links
Tufts researchers shine light on firefly mysteries

This summer, in a darkened meadow west of Boston, Tufts University biologists are continuing to shine new light on the frenzied love life of fireflies.

For the first time, researchers will explore the question of whether male fireflies' flashing light ?previously shown in one species to indicate superior physical and genetic quality ?has evolved in another species to provide misinformation to prospective mates. In other words, are some male fireflies lying in order to find romance?

"If female mate choice is adaptive, we would expect that the more attractive males would provide females with greater material benefits and/or genetic benefits," said Sara Lewis, associate professor of biology in the School of Arts & Sciences. "On the other hand, sexual conflict theory predicts that male signals may evolve to provide uninformative or even misleading cues about male quality."

Funded by the National Science Foundation and a Tufts Faculty Research Award, such research may ultimately help further our understanding of human communication, signal evolution, and biomedicine.

In previous research published in 2003, Lewis and her then-doctoral student Christopher Cratsley found that female fireflies of one species (Photinus ignitus) are strongly attracted to males who give longer flashes because that signal indicates males that can provide better nutrition for their offspring. But the Tufts research team has recently found evidence suggesting that the preferred males in a related species (Photinus greeni) do not provide any such benefit.

"It's possible that the male flash pattern may have evolved to provide misinformation," Lewis explained. "Although males and females both try to maximize their reproductive output and contribute to the next generation, this is not necessarily a co-operative venture and conflict often arises in nature.

"For example, in Drosophila fruitflies, males' efforts to maximize their sperm's competitive abil ity have led to the evolution of chemicals produced by their reproductive glands. These chemicals kill the sperm of other males that have mated with the same female but they are also toxic to the female -- hence conflict."

In a collaborative research effort with insect physiologist and Tufts postdoctoral research fellow Dr. William Woods, Lewis is also examining other questions, such as how much energy the males' "flashy" courtship displays require--an effort that will involve laboratory testing in tiny respirometry chambers to measure the carbon dioxide produced during flashing and resting.


Source:Tufts University

Related biology news :

1. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
2. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
3. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
4. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
5. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
6. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
7. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
8. Agilent Technologies releases automated literature search tool for biology researchers
9. Self-assembled nano-sized probes allow Penn researchers to see tumors through flesh and skin
10. Yale researchers identify molecule for detecting parasitic infection in humans
11. US life expectancy about to decline, researchers say
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/16/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov 16, 2015 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced ... new Synaptics TouchView ™ touch controller and ... the architectural revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI ... and include TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015  In this report, ... basis of product, type, application, disease indication, ... this report are consumables, services, software. The ... safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. ... are diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... PARK, Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI ... $9 million to provide preclinical development services to the ... the contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing ... wide variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Worcester, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... need to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper ... Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 --> ... report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product & Services (Primer, ... Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical & Biotech, Diagnostic ... the market is expected to reach USD 1,918.6 Million ... a CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... recent market research report released by Transparency Market Research, ... expand at a CAGR of 17.5% during the period ... Testing Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, ... global non-invasive prenatal testing market to reach a valuation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: