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.

Related Articles


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 November 29, 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 November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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