Silkworm: The Underappreciated Life Science Model Organism

silkworm larvae

By Keping Chen, Ph.D. The realm of insects is colorful and has been coexisting with human beings for countless generations. Insects appeared on earth more than 400 million years ago, and their descendants witnessed our evolution from upright, walking apes into complete human beings and observed the beautiful, magical, and endless waves of life on […]

How Flashy Wings, UV Light, and Seasons All Play a Role in One Butterfly Species’ Mating Rituals

Bicyclus anynana butterflies mating

By Edward Ricciuti   Males of an African butterfly, with the improbable nickname of “squinting bush brown,” are the Lepidopteran version of chick magnets—if their generation of caterpillars chills out while it grows up. Caterpillars of this butterfly (Bicyclus anynana) that develop during the cool dry season flip traditional sex roles as adults when ready to mate […]

This Artificial Diet May Make Insect Rearing Easier

By Richard Levine If you want to do lab research on insects, you need to be able to keep them alive, sometimes for many generations. That means you need to know how and what to feed them, even if it means giving blood to bed bugs. Many moths in the family Noctuidae are subjects of […]

Some Moths are Actually Butterflies According to DNA Sequencing Study

By tracing nearly 3,000 genes to the earliest common ancestor of butterflies and moths, University of Florida scientists have created an extensive “Tree of Lepidoptera” in the first study to use large-scale, next-generation DNA sequencing. The study found that some insects once classified as moths are actually butterflies, increasing butterfly species to a higher number […]

Newly Discovered Appalachian Moth Named after Cherokee Chief

A new species of moth discovered in the Appalachian Mountains has been named after Attakullakulla, a Cherokee chief who lived in the region in the 1700s. The new species, Cherokeea attakullakulla, is described in a special issue of the journal ZooKeys. In 1958 a professor from Cornell University, Dr. John G. Franclemont, was studying some […]