Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Do Some Animals Live Longer Than Others?

Date:
January 5, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Why do some live longer than others? Researchers turned to tropical African butterflies to find the answer. In the field, the temperature experienced by the caterpillar sets up the butterfly to become the form that matches the season. This is called phenotypic plasticity, and in this species it has evolved as a response to the alternating seasons.

Why do some live longer than others? Researchers from Leiden University, the Netherlands, turned to tropical African butterflies to find the answer. "The definitive answer is still not known, but our results give an interesting new insight into the evolution of lifespan," says Jeroen Pijpe, first author of a new article.

He and his colleagues used what is called artificial selection to create genetically long-lived butterflies of the species Bicyclus anynana. "Basically, we use what the species does naturally, and magnify the bit we're interested in here in the lab in Leiden."

In the field, the temperature experienced by the caterpillar sets up the butterfly to become the form that matches the season. This is called phenotypic plasticity, and in this species it has evolved as a response to the alternating seasons.

The dry season form is long-lived and more starvation resistant. In the wet season, reproduction takes place. In this case, the authors selected on starvation resistance under wet-seasonal conditions.

They discovered that female butterflies had shifted their reproduction from quantity to quality of offspring. Next, they found that males and females had responded differently to the artificial selection: males seemed to have lowered their energy consumption, whilst females had increased the amount of energy to spend.

"Both results offer interesting details not found previously in comparable experiments using fruit flies," Pijpe states. However, the most important finding was that the artificial selection in a wet seasonal environment had produced butterflies that resembles the long-lived dry season form.

Pijpe says: "In other words, we targeted genes that are needed to live longer, and the result is very much like how temperature induces butterflies to live longer in the dry season."

It suggests that, in this species, the evolution of lifespan is closely associated with phenotypic plasticity. Is it a general mechanism? "We think it is likely that the regulation of lifespan involves mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity during development, also in humans."

This research was published in the January issue of the American Naturalist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why Do Some Animals Live Longer Than Others?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104172538.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, January 5). Why Do Some Animals Live Longer Than Others?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104172538.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why Do Some Animals Live Longer Than Others?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104172538.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
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