Punishment Important in Plant-Pollinator Relationship

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Charlotte Jander placed either a wasp carrying pollen or a pollen-free wasp in a bag around a fig fruit.

Figs and the wasps that pollinate them present one of biologists’ favorite examples of a beneficial relationship between two different species. In exchange for the pollination service provided by the wasp, the fig fruit provides room and board for the wasp’s developing young. However, wasps do not always pollinate the fig. Fig trees “punish” these “cheaters” by dropping unpollinated fruit, killing the wasp’s offspring inside, report researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

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Female Fruit Flies Can Be ‘Too Attractive’ to Males, Scientists Show

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These are fruit flies courting.

Females can be too attractive to the opposite sex — too attractive for their own good — say biologists at UC Santa Barbara. They found that, among fruit flies, too much male attention directed toward attractive females leads to smaller families and, ultimately, to a reduced rate of population-wide adaptive evolution.

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Experts Claim Insects May Be As Intelligent as Larger Animals

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A honeybee’s brain weighs one mg and contains fewer than a million nerve cells

Insects with minuscule brains may be as intelligent as much bigger animals and may even have consciousness, it was claimed today.  Having a brain the size of a pinhead does not necessarily make you less bright, say researchers.

 

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Ancient ‘Monster’ Insect: ‘Unicorn’ Fly Never Before Observed

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his image of an ancient fly in amber shows the strange horn on its head, topped by three eyes.

Just in time for Halloween, researchers have announced the discovery of a new, real-world “monster” — what they are calling a “unicorn” fly that lived about 100 million years ago and is being described as a new family, genus and species of fly never before observed. Continue reading… “Ancient ‘Monster’ Insect: ‘Unicorn’ Fly Never Before Observed”

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Female Choice Benefits Mothers More Than Offspring

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The great diversity of male sexual traits, ranging from peacock’s elaborate train to formidable genitalia of male seed beetles, is the result of female choice.

The great diversity of male sexual traits, ranging from peacock’s elaborate train to formidable genitalia of male seed beetles, is the result of female choice. But why do females choose among males? In a new study published October 22 in Current Biology, researchers from Uppsala University found no support for the theory that the female choice is connected to “good genes”.

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Mantis Shrimp Eyes Could Show Way To Better DVD And CD players

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A mantis shrimp takes a peep from it’s burrow in the Sulu sea.

The remarkable eyes of a marine crustacean could inspire the next generation of DVD and CD players, according to a new study from the University of Bristol published today in Nature Photonics.

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Hearing On The Wing: New Structure Discovered In Butterfly Ears

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The human ear

A clever structure in the ear of a tropical butterfly that potentially makes it able to distinguish between high and low pitch sounds has been discovered by scientists from the University of Bristol.

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Absent Pheromones Turn Male Flies Into Lusty Lotharios

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Fruit flies.

When Professor Joel Levine’s team genetically tweaked fruit flies so that they didn’t produce certain pheromones, they triggered a sexual tsunami in their University of Toronto Mississauga laboratory. In fact, they produced bugs so irresistible that normal male fruit flies attempted to mate with pheromone-free males and even females from a different species-generally a no-no in the fruit fly dating scene.

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First Spider Known To Science That Feeds Mainly On Plant Food

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Adult female Bagheera kiplingi eats Beltian body harvested from ant-acacia.

There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders in the world, all of which have been thought to be strict predators that feed on insects or other animals. Now, scientists have found that a small Central American jumping spider has a uniquely different diet: the species Bagheera kiplingi feeds predominantly on plant food. Continue reading… “First Spider Known To Science That Feeds Mainly On Plant Food”

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Mother Knows Best: Females Control Sperm Storage To Pick The Best Father

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Field cricket.

Scientists have found new evidence to explain how female insects can influence the father of their offspring, even after mating with up to ten males. A team from the University of Exeter has found that female crickets are able to control the amount of sperm that they store from each mate to select the best father for their young. Continue reading… “Mother Knows Best: Females Control Sperm Storage To Pick The Best Father”

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