Hormones Control Eyespot Size in the Butterfly Bicyclus anynana

Bicyclus anynana male and female

The butterfly Bicyclus anynana has beautiful eyespots on its wings, which function in sexual signaling and predator deflection. For years researchers believed that the differences between male and female wing patterns were regulated cell-autonomously by a gene called doublesex. Now, new research shows that male and female Bicyclus butterflies have different levels of the hormone ecdysone, which regulates their different-sized eyespots.

Another Step Forward in Genetic Engineering of Mosquitoes

mosquitoes cuticle-color genes disrupted

“Yellow, three-eyed, wingless mosquitoes” have made headlines this week, but the researchers at the University of California, Riverside, behind the news call the disruption of mosquitoes’ cuticle, wing, and eye development a “proof of concept” for a new advance in the genetic engineering method known as CRISPR/Cas9. The method may accelerate scientists’ work toward identifying the genes to target for disruption of mosquitoes’ ability to carry and transmit human diseases.

Nutritional Symbionts: Why Some Insects Don’t Have to Eat Their Vegetables

aphids

While many animals, like humans, consume a varied diet to get their necessary nutrition, some insects have learned how to cheat the system and can extract nourishment from a nutritionally poor food source through symbioses with microbial symbionts. These symbionts can be different types of bacteria, yeasts, or protozoans and are found in many different insect groups.

Short Bait Exposure Provides Control of Asian Subterranean Termite Colonies

Coptotermes gestroi termites

A new study in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows exposure to an insecticide bait known as a chitin synthesis inhibitor for as little as one day may be sufficient to eliminate a colony of Asian subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi).

A Place for Engineering in Entomology

bee emergence device

By Meredith Swett Walker Meghan Bennett, a Ph.D., student studying the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata), was interested in how the bees time their emergence from their nest cells. She needed to record exactly what time the bees emerge in relation to different environmental cues. But collecting this kind of data requires watching nest cells […]