Morphological Traits Relate to Mating Strategies in Male Japanese Stag Beetles

Prosopocoilus inclinatus

By John P. Roche Male Japanese stag beetles (Prosopocoilus inclinatus) have battles to defend territories to earn the opportunity to mate with females. They use enlarged mandibles that look like the horns of male deer to battle for these matings—hence the name stag beetles. Stag beetles that win male-male contests usually succeed in mating, and […]

New Fossil Evidence Shows Beetles Pollinated Orchids Millions of Years Ago

poinar-fig2

By John P. Roche For flowering plants to reproduce sexually, they need to disperse pollen so that the male gametes in the pollen can reach and fertilize the egg in the plant embryo sac. Plants have evolved a variety of mechanisms to disperse pollen. Among them, orchids have evolved a mechanism using pollination structures called […]

Where Do Shield-back Katydids Fit within the Katydid Evolutionary Tree?

Neduba-sierranus

By John P. Roche With more than 7,000 species globally, the katydids are the second most diverse group within the insect order Orthoptera, after the grasshoppers. Katydids are members of the taxonomic family Tettigoniidae, and though familiar to people throughout the world for their musical mating call, the specifics of many aspects of the evolutionary […]

Did the Malaria Parasite First Evolve in the Insect Vector or the Vertebrate Host?

Culex-malariager

By John P. Roche Malaria is a terrible problem, killing nearly half a million people per year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. This serious disease is caused by a protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium, which is spread to humans by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. In the Anopheles mosquito, the life cycle of the parasite […]

Study Describes Three New Species of Fruit Flies and Revises Their Genus

Acanthiophilus-minor

By John P. Roche Acanthiophilus is a genus of fruit flies that infest plants of the tribe Cardueae (thistles) within the family Asteraceae. Members of this genus live in Africa, the Canary Islands, Europe, and Asia. Some species of Acanthiophilus are potential biological control agents of weeds, and others are serious pests to economically important […]

New Article Reveals Life History Details of the Bagrada Bug

bagrada-bug-nymphs

By John P. Roche The bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, is a species of stink bug that was introduced into North America in 2008. It feeds on plants of the mustard family and can cause severe feeding damage to cruciferous crops, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. The bagrada bug could develop into a devastating economic problem […]

Anopheles Mosquitoes as Vectors of Malaria in East Africa: Bed Nets and Beyond

Anopheles gambiae

By John P. Roche Malaria is a devastating disease, with almost two hundred million cases and half a million deaths per year worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that the rate of mortality from malaria has decreased 47% since the year 2000, and the reduction in the rate of mortality has been even more impressive […]

The Origin of Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets: A New Study Resolves the Evolutionary Tree of the Orthoptera

orthoptera-song2

By John P. Roche The order Orthoptera — which includes the familiar crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers — is a huge and diverse group of winged insects with more than 25,000 species, many of which are scientifically and economically important. Because of its size, understanding the evolutionary relationships in the Orthoptera is important, but up until […]