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 24, 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 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) An aquarium captures a first-of-its kind video of a notoriously camera-shy fish that’s also not so camera-friendly. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Four-month old Red Panda twins Pim and Pam still rely on their mother for breast milk at the Bratislava Zoo in Slovakia, but the precocious cubs have begun to branch out to solid foods, as well. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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