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.
A study of two significant pest fruit fly species finds that the size of males influences female mating choice in one of the species, but not in the other—important knowledge for fine-tuning management efforts for both species via the sterile insect technique.
A group of researchers gets creative with some simple materials: strips of cardboard, rolled up and tied with string. Affixed to tree trunks or limbs, the "trunk refugia" show promise as a simple and inexpensive tool for sampling tree-dwelling insects and arthropods.
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 new Journal of Insect Science study provides insights into moth and butterfly communication and scale development.
In a recent study, flower shape played a role in defecation patterns for common eastern bumble bees (Bombus impatiens). Researchers say this could reveal a disease transmission route affecting bee populations.
In two endangered beetle species that live in the Edwards Aquifer in Texas, males and females are nearly indiscernible. A new study suggests the quickest way to ID males versus females is to shine a light through them, illuminating internal organs that reveal the difference.
A study along a river in Central Mexico finds Hetaerina americana damselflies in reduced numbers after a decline in vegetation the addition of wastewater outlets. Researchers say the decline illustrates the impact of human land use on natural ecosystems.
Do butterflies find suitable habitat through vision or via other senses? The results of a new study were easy to see: Butterflies with flash-induced blindness consistently failed to navigate to target habitat that unaffected butterflies could readily find.
A proof-of-concept study shows insect eggs can be marked with protein that can be later detected in a gut-content analysis of arthropod predators that fed on the eggs. Researchers say the method has applications in biological control and beyond.
Iris yellow spot virus is bad for onions, but it's good for the thrips species that carry the virus and spread it to onion plants. In a recent study, infected onion thrips lived about 20 percent longer than uninfected thrips, giving them more time to damage onion plants and transmit the virus.
Engineers may recognize the internal muscle structure of a honey bee abdomen for its resemblance to a Stewart platform, a mechanical device that enables six degrees of freedom in movement. Researchers who have found its natural equivalent in bees say the discovery is already informing their work in designing articulating nose cones for rockets.
A new study modeling potential future climate-change scenarios finds the potential for the invasive Japanese beetle to expand its range northward into new regions in North America, though some parts of it southern range could become too warm for it.
Well-known in Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, the distinct black-orange-black color pattern has never been fully documented in Hymenoptera—until now. A study of more than 1 million wasp, bee, and other hymenopteran specimens finds a wide range of variations of the pattern present in 23 families within the order Hymenoptera.
The mosquito species Toxorhynchites rutilus is harmless to humans but is a voracious predator of other mosquitoes. Researchers in Houston, Texas, are hoping the "mosquito assassin" could be put into action as a tool for controlling mosquitoes that carry human pathogens—if they can find an efficient way to raise the predator mosquitoes in the lab.
Yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) have long been produced as fish bait and pet food, but their use as animal feed and even food for people is growing. Researchers are working to fine-tune methods to improve the quantity and quality of mass-reared mealworms.