29 posts · 43,579 views
A blog about the biology and evolution of insects written by an Athiest single father undergraduate student at Iowa State University.
A bunch of scientists build robots which blend in with a society by learning their languages and customs. The intention of these robots is to subvert the societies by changing the how the locals think and act.
Sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, right? A Tea Party speech, perhaps?
Welcome to the world of pest [...]... Read more »
Halloy, J., Sempo, G., Caprari, G., Rivault, C., Asadpour, M., Tache, F., Said, I., Durier, V., Canonge, S., Ame, J.... (2007) Social Integration of Robots into Groups of Cockroaches to Control Self-Organized Choices. Science, 318(5853), 1155-1158. DOI: 10.1126/science.1144259
Aphids can be a pain in the ass to gardeners and farmers. Although they look pretty harmless, they’re to plants what mosquitoes are to people and more. They transmit some pretty serious diseases which cause millions of dollars in damage per year. They’re also famous for their fecundity-they’re parthenogenic and their daughters are actually born [...]... Read more »
Oliver, K., Degnan, P., Hunter, M., & Moran, N. (2009) Bacteriophages Encode Factors Required for Protection in a Symbiotic Mutualism. Science, 325(5943), 992-994. DOI: 10.1126/science.1174463
Insect control in Apiaries is really difficult. Your product is an insect which pollinates crops, and it’s very valuable. Strawberries, blueberries, peppers, broccoli…you name a food and it’s probably pollinated by honeybees. They’re valuable. Really valuable. Like you and I would be dead without them valuable. Using pesticides around your bee colonies is a really [...]... Read more »
J. D. Ellis, S. Spiewok, K. S. Delaplane, S. Buchholz, P. Neumann, and W. L. Tedders. (2010) Susceptibility of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) Larvae and Pupae to Entomopathogenic Nematodes. The Journal of Economic Entomology. info:/
Bed bug infestations are on the rise. I live in a college town, and you hear about them every once and awhile. They’re not super-common here in Iowa, but you hear about them from time to time. I’ve helped friends spray their houses for them before, so I know they’re around.
One of the things which [...]... Read more »
Naylor, R. A.; Boase, C. J. (2010) Practical Solutions for Treating Laundry Infested With Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) . The Journal of Economic Entomology. info:/
So let’s continue the theme of the AWESOME papers I ran across this semester and didn’t get to blog about. I find every aspect of this paper to be simply cool. There’s also something which kind of ground my gears a bit, but I’ll get to that later if I have time this week.
Controlling mosquitoes [...]... Read more »
Devine, G., Perea, E., Killeen, G., Stancil, J., Clark, S., & Morrison, A. (2009) Using adult mosquitoes to transfer insecticides to Aedes aegypti larval habitats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(28), 11530-11534. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0901369106
One of the debates a lot of entomologists have is whether bats actually have an impact on mosquito populations. Sure, we hear all the time that bats eat mosquitoes, but there are good reasons to doubt this. I’ve had this discussion with instructors before and there’s really no consensus.
We know bats occasionally eat mosquitoes. They [...]... Read more »
Reiskind MH, & Wund MA. (2009) Experimental assessment of the impacts of northern long-eared bats on ovipositing Culex (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes. Journal of medical entomology, 46(5), 1037-44. PMID: 19769034
I really don’t think it’s possible to write a boring post on bed bugs. The way in which they reproduce is simply one of the most bizzarre…and brutal…methods of insemination in the animal kingdom. One of my favorite webcomics, Dinosaur Comics described their reproduction quite well:
I also like writing about the biological basis behind sexual [...]... Read more »
Ryne, C. (2009) Homosexual interactions in bed bugs: alarm pheromones as male recognition signals. Animal Behaviour, 78(6), 1471-1475. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.09.033
There’s a variety of things insects do that could rightly be considered tool use. Some ants will drop liquid in sand and carry the sand to the nest. Others will use their larvae to construct their leaf-houses…they essentially use their children as oversized glue-guns. If you live in Iowa, those big black wasps which you see flitting around on flowers (Sphecid wasps of the genus Sphex, which are understandably confused with Pompillids) will actually close their nests by pounding them........ Read more »
Singer MS, Mace KC, & Bernays EA. (2009) Self-medication as adaptive plasticity: increased ingestion of plant toxins by parasitized caterpillars. PloS one, 4(3). PMID: 19274098
Awhile ago, I wrote a post about honeybee attack pheromones. It’s a strange coincidence that the chemical that makes things taste like bananas cues bees into attack. Well, in this issue of Medical Entomology (which has some other cool articles that I might blag about), some scientists looked a chemical that keeps bees from attacking.
I’m [...]... Read more »
Pankiw, Tanya. (2009) Reducing Honey Bee Defensive Responses and Social Wasp Colonization With Methyl Anthranilate . Journal of Medical Entomology.
I haven’t been blogging that much lately, and to be honest with you it’s a 50/50 combination between blogger’s block and a heavy workload…I’ve been working 60 hours a week while studying for the GRE, looking for graduate school positions and having something resembling a social life.
Still, though…I’ve been keeping up on my reading. I’ve [...]... Read more »
Dong, Y., Manfredini, F., & Dimopoulos, G. (2009) Implication of the Mosquito Midgut Microbiota in the Defense against Malaria Parasites. PLoS Pathogens, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000423
Conservation is very important, even something as seemingly insignificant as insects. Most people don’t realize exactly how important bees are to our everyday activities, and most people certainly don’t think twice about those strange black and white bugs they find in their pool. However, a study that came out in the most recent issue of [...]... Read more »
Carlson, John C., Dyer, Lee A., Omlin, Franscois X., & Beier, John C. (2009) Diversity Cascades and Malaria Vectors. Journal of Medical Entomology, 46(3), 460-464.
Most folks associate bees with honey production because that’s the bee product they’re most familiar with. Believe it or not, most of the stuff you have in your fridge is just as much the product of apiculture. Most of the money brought in by beekeepers doesn’t actually come from honey-that’s a very common misconception. Instead, most of the money brought in from apiculture comes from a service that’s far more important-crop pollination.
It’s something we take for granted, really......... Read more »
J. M. Kasina1, J. Mburu, M. Kraemer and K. Holm-Mueller. (2009) Economic Benefit of Crop Pollination by Bees: A Case of Kakamega Small-Holder Farming in Western Kenya. Journal of Economic Entomology, 102(2), 467-473.
Aaaah, springtime at Iowa State. You know what that means…the flowers are out, birds are singing, bugs are just starting to emerge from hibernation…and Tom Short comes to Campus.
I’ve no respect for this man…if you look around the interwebs, you can find articles that claim he said things like ‘Hitler didn’t go far enough’. I [...]... Read more »
PZ Myers over at Pharyngula has a great picture of a spiny beetle phallus. It’s a wicked, mace-like thing that is used to hold onto the female during mating. It’s also a great example of how we as humans tend to be biased by our own experiences.
You see, sex for us is incredibly fun and [...]... Read more »
A. D. Stutt. (2001) Traumatic insemination and sexual conflict in the bed bug Cimexlectularius. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(10), 5683-5687. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.101440698
Acacia trees and ants have an interesting mutualistic relationship which is frequently used as a textbook example of a mutualism. The trees offer the ants hollow thorns in which to live and food to eat, and the ants protect the tree from herbivores, both insects and large mammals as well as vines which would overcrowd [...]... Read more »
Stefanie Kautz, H. Thorsten Lumbsch, Philip S. Ward, & Martin Heil. (2009) HOW TO PREVENT CHEATING: A DIGESTIVE SPECIALIZATION TIES MUTUALISTIC PLANT-ANTS TO THEIR ANT-PLANT PARTNERS. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2008.00594.x
Today is a great day in the science blogosphere. It’s Feburary 12, Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. There are going to be a lot of evolution-related posts around everywhere…and that’s certainly great. I write about evolution quite a bit and I have another arthropod evolution related post rearing and ready to go later in the week. [...]... Read more »
B FESSL, S KLEINDORFER, & S TEBBICH. (2006) An experimental study on the effects of an introduced parasite in Darwin’s finches. Biological Conservation, 127(1), 55-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.07.013
B. FESSL, B. J. SINCLAIR, & S. KLEINDORFER. (2006) The life-cycle of Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) parasitizing Darwin's finches and its impacts on nestling survival. Parasitology, 133(06), 739. DOI: 10.1017/S0031182006001089
I haven’t posted any in-depth science articles for about a week for various reasons and it seems that I completely missed last Friday’s bug picture. Well…Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday is this week. So why don’t I show you some of the lobopod-arthropod transitional sequence?
... Read more »
G. Kuhl, D. E. G. Briggs, & J. Rust. (2009) A Great-Appendage Arthropod with a Radial Mouth from the Lower Devonian Hunsruck Slate, Germany. Science, 323(5915), 771-773. DOI: 10.1126/science.1166586
Water is important to disease vector arthropods in many different ways. For some, this is obvious. Mosquitoes and blackflies need water to breed. A large amount of the effort that goes into controlling mosquitoes in malaria-ridden areas goes into researching where they breed after floods.
For others, it’s more subtle but still very important. Usually, most [...]... Read more »
Koch, Henry G. (1986) Survival of the Lone Star Tick (Acari: Ixodidae) Under Flooding Conditions: A Laboratory Evaluation. Journal of Economic Entomology.
I always write about these cool parasitoids which eat the host from the inside out…but I rarely, if ever show pictures of the process. Let’s change that, shall we?
If you’re a regular reader of this weblog, you’ve seen me mention Compsilura concinnata before. It’s this neat little parasitoid fly which, unlike many parasitoids, can live [...]... Read more »
Ryoko Ichiki, & Hiroshi Shima. (2003) Immature Life of Compsilura concinnata (Meigen) (Diptera: Tachinidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 96(2), 161. DOI: 10.1603/0013-8746(2003)096[0161:ILOCCM]2.0.CO;2
Google books is a wonderful thing. You can find pretty much anything on there, at least in part. Quite a bit of the stuff you’ll find is missing some pages, but it’s definitely enough to learn from…or at least find a title of something you’re looking for or interested in. Today’s example: Insect Hearing
. Seriously…give [...]... Read more »
R. Lakes-Harlan, H. St lting, A. Stump. (1999) Convergent evolution of insect hearing organs from a preadaptive structure. Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 266(1424), 1161-1161. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0758
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