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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... to their offering. ... eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during ... Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ... and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... 2017 Forecasts by Product Type ... by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public Sector, ... Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business Organisation ... Are you looking for a definitive report on the ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- KEY FINDINGS The global market for ... of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The ... the growth of the stem cell market. ... INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented on ... stem cell market of the product is segmented into ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to identify ... CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , Under ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... BioMedGPS announces ... addition of its newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s US Market ... hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used in surgical applications. BioMedGPS ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life ... Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 ... overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity of ... performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: