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:12/15/2016)... -- ... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Military ... report forecasts the global military biometrics market to grow at a CAGR ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, ... by combining the material with Silly Putty. The mixture ... detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, respiration, ... The research team,s findings were ... here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 2016 BioCatch , the global leader in ... portfolio, which grew to over 40 granted and pending patents. ... , , The ... " System, Device, and Method Estimating Force Applied to a ... to forego costly hardware components needed to estimate the force and pressure ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... 2017 Roka Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKA ), ... the detection of foodborne pathogens today announced the appointment of ... Paul Thomas , the Company,s President and CEO since 2009, who ... Directors.  The changes are effective today. In addition, Ms. ... ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 Noom ... is the first to offer fully Spanish behavior ... Noom,s Spanish diabetes prevention and healthy ... and accessibility of lifestyle interventions among Hispanic Americans ... conditions. Noom,s robust food database, program-specific curriculum content ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 17, 2017  Northwell Health today announced a ... precision cancer research. As ... care provider, Northwell Health diagnoses and treats 19,000 ... a Germany -based oncology research ... they will greatly expand cancer biobanking activities within ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... re-engineered Drug Safety Technology Consortium™ (SafeTEC™), $3 million in investment towards 15+ TEC ... new tools and assays, and their applicability in drug safety assessment, for the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: