Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gliding Bristletails Give Clues On Evolution Of Flight

Date:
March 23, 2009
Source:
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Summary:
Biologists are providing new insights on the evolution of winged flight. The scientists observed how arboreal bristletails -- evolutionary precursors to insects -- in the Amazon Forest can leap tree trunk to tree trunk by manipulating a filament on their bodies as a primitive rudder system.

Arboreal bristletails are evolutionary precursors to insects in the Amazon Forest that can leap tree trunk to tree trunk by manipulating a filament on their bodies as a primitive rudder system.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dr. Stephen P. Yanoviak of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has published new research in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters providing insight on the evolution of winged flight.

Yanoviak and his co-authors, Mike Kaspari of the University of Oklahoma and Robert Dudley at the University of California-Berkeley, observed how arboreal bristletails -- evolutionary precursors to insects -- in the Amazon Forest can leap tree trunk to tree trunk by manipulating a filament on their bodies as a primitive rudder system.

“Directed aerial descent, such as gliding and maneuvering, may be an important stage in the evolution of winged flight,” Yanoviak said.

The scientists conducted drop tests in tropical forests in Peru, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute at Barro Colorado Island, Panama; and Gamba, Gabon, from 2005 to 2007. They quantified the directed descent behavior of jumping bristletails by dropping individuals from tree branches while perched high above the ground in the rainforest canopy.

The bristletails were dusted with orange fluorescent power to track their movement. Approximately 90 percent of them successfully landed on an adjacent tree branch. When the median caudal filament – the structure thought to control its gliding ability – was removed, the percentage of tree trunk landings was significantly reduced.

“The existence of aerial control ability in a wingless insect and its habitat in trees is consistent with the hypothesis of a terrestrial origin for winged flight in insects,” Yanoviak said.

Last year, Yanoviak, Kaspari and Dudley, in collaboration with nematode specialist George Poinar, Jr. at Oregon State University, made waves in the bug world with their research about a parasite that can so dramatically transform the look of its host – an ant – that the ant comes to resemble a juicy red berry, ripe for the picking in the jungles of Central and South America.

Their research, first published in the American Naturalist, may be the first example of how a lowly parasite can manipulate the look of a host to such an extent that birds can’t tell the difference between a red berry and an ant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Stephen P Yanoviak, Michael Kaspari, Robert Dudley. Gliding hexapods and the origins of insect aerial behaviour. Biology Letters, 2009; DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0029
  2. S. P. Yanoviak, M. Kaspari, R. Dudley, and G. Poinar Jr. Parasite%u2010Induced Fruit Mimicry in a Tropical Canopy Ant. The American Naturalist, 2008; 171 (4): 536-544 DOI: 10.1086/528968

Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Gliding Bristletails Give Clues On Evolution Of Flight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319165141.htm>.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock. (2009, March 23). Gliding Bristletails Give Clues On Evolution Of Flight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319165141.htm
University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Gliding Bristletails Give Clues On Evolution Of Flight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319165141.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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