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:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016  BioMEMS devices ... primarily focused on medical screening and diagnostic ... parameters. Wearable devices that facilitate and assure ... of movement are being bolstered through new ... biomedical signal acquisition coupled with wireless connectivity ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements ... presents an analysis of the digital and computed radiography ... Malaysia , and Indonesia ... trends and market size, as well as regional market ... country and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, both ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016 Rising sales of consumer ... touchfree intuitive gesture control market size ... of consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to ... size through 2020   --> ... technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016  BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: ... today announced the launch of the BD CLiC™ System ... (AGBT) Meeting. --> ... by providing cost effective NGS library preparation with limited ... fully integrated, next generation sequencing (NGS) library prep instrument, ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Non-profit Consortium Aims to Generate Genomic ... Research and Discovery --> --> ... plan to sequence 100,000 individuals. It is intended to initially ... 7 of North and East Asian countries. ... project will focus on creating phased reference genomes for all ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... HILDEN , Germany and ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: ... new QIAseq Targeted RNA Panels for gene expression profiling, ... next-generation sequencing (NGS). The panels enable researchers to select ... expression fold changes and discover interactions between genes, cellular ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today announced ... Portland, Oregon -based community care organization ... population health analytics, quality reporting and care management ... strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts and ... the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: