For the invasive fruit fly known as spotted wing drosophila, its success in expanding into new ranges is driven at least in part by a high degree of phenotypic plasticity—the ability to shift traits in response to environmental influences.
It's easier to manage an insect pest if you can predict where and when it's likely to show up, rather than trying to react after it appears. The USA National Phenology Network's "Pheno Forecast" maps offer daily updates that model the temperature conditions necessary for a dozen forest insect pests. A new article in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America showcases the tool, part of a new special collection on geospatial analysis of invasive insects.
Black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) live in decomposing, bacteria-rich organic material, which demands a potent immune system. A study by researchers in Peru and France has isolated four peptides from larvae of the black soldier fly that display antibacterial properties, suggesting further "bioprospecting" research into black soldier flies could one day generate useful new antibacterial compounds for medical use.
A recent study found that female Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are larger in neighborhoods with more abandoned buildings—and larger mosquitoes are more likely to survive and breed.