Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insect Yields Clues To Evolution Of Species

Date:
May 23, 2002
Source:
University Of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Studies of a California insect, the walking stick, are helping to illuminate the process of evolution of new species, according to research published in this week’s issue of Nature.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– Studies of a California insect, the walking stick, are helping to illuminate the process of evolution of new species, according to research published in this week’s issue of Nature.

The insect, Timema cristinae, named for Cristina Sandoval, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara who was the first to discover it, is found in the Santa Ynez Mountains on two types of plants. Essentially the walking sticks have evolved to look like a leaf of the plant they inhabit. Birds and lizards are its main predators.

"You’ve got to have very good camouflage to trick a bird," said Sandoval, noting that birds have very good vision and are visual predators.

The insect exhibits two genetically determined color patterns. The unstriped insect is more commonly found on the plant Ceanothus spinosus (commonly called blue lilac) and a striped design is more common on those insects inhabiting the plant Adenostoma fasciculatum (commonly called chemise).

According to the study, the research provides the first clear demonstration that host-plant adaptation can promote the parallel evolution of reproductive isolation. The researchers tested hundreds of insects in the lab and found that those inhabiting the same type of plant were more likely to mate with each other than they were to mate with those residing on different plants -- even though they are the same species. The research indicates that habitat may play a crucial role in the early stages of separation into different species (speciation).

"We don’t know why, but something about adapting to a host plant – smell, size, or a combination of things – drives this reproductive isolation," said Sandoval. "This is an example of speciation in process."

Additionally, information from DNA sequences revealed that such divergence in mating preferences and morphology has evolved numerous times in this species, according to the article. Thus, the research indicates that adaptation to different habitats may play both a crucial and repeatable role in the early stages of speciation.

Authors Patrick Nosily and Bernard J. Crespi of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada and Cristina Sandoval, of UC Santa Barbara, collaborated on this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Insect Yields Clues To Evolution Of Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020523075718.htm>.
University Of California - Santa Barbara. (2002, May 23). Insect Yields Clues To Evolution Of Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020523075718.htm
University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Insect Yields Clues To Evolution Of Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020523075718.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins