Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How One Pest Adapted To Life In The Dark

Date:
January 6, 2008
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
A type of beetle that lives its entire life burrowing through stored grain has been found to lack full-color vision, and what's more the vision it does have breaks the rules. Most other insects have trichromatic vision -- they are sensitive to ultraviolet, blue and long wavelength light. Scientists reveal that this beetle has lost photoreceptors that are sensitive to blue wavelengths.

The red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) is a common pest, about one-eighth-inch long, that attacks milled grain products such as flour and cereals. This beetle, that lives in the dark, has lost photoreceptors that are sensitive to blue wavelengths.
Credit: Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

A type of beetle that lives its entire life burrowing through stored grain has been found to lack full colour vision, and what's more the vision it does have breaks the rules. Most other insects have trichromatic vision -- they are sensitive to ultraviolet, blue and long wavelength light. Scientists now reveal that this beetle has lost photoreceptors that are sensitive to blue wavelengths.

The red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) is a common pest that attacks milled grain products such as flour and cereals. It is a cryptozoic insect, meaning that it lives in the dark. Markus Friedrich from Wayne State University in Detroit, along with colleagues from St Louis and Cincinnati, performed genetic analyses to probe the evolution of the species' vision.

The opsin gene family is central to vision. The authors found that the beetle's compound eye retina lacked the blue-opsin encoding photoreceptors. Their work also identified the red flour beetle as the first example of an insect species that switches on two opsin genes across the entire retina. This co-expression of genes violates the 'one receptor rule' of sensory cells.

The research suggests that the beetle may have gained an evolutionary advantage through this adaptation. Dr Friedrich states that the work "raises the possibility that opsin co-expression is of advantage under conditions where brightness sensitivity is critical."

The study points the way to broader studies of the development and biology of this pest species. It also suggests that the red flour beetle may be a promising subject for further investigation of cryptozoic animals' evolution.

Journal reference: Genomic and gene regulatory signatures of cryptozoic adaptation: loss of blue sensitive photoreceptors through expansion of long wavelength-opsin expression in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. Magdalena Jackowska, Riyue Bao, Zhenyi Liu, Elizabeth C. McDonald, Tiffany A. Cook, and Markus Friedrich. Frontiers in Zoology (in press)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "How One Pest Adapted To Life In The Dark." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221094847.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2008, January 6). How One Pest Adapted To Life In The Dark. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221094847.htm
BioMed Central. "How One Pest Adapted To Life In The Dark." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221094847.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." 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:
from the past week

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