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Love rivals risk having offspring with a greater number of harmful mutations
Males that face tougher competition for females risk having offspring with a greater number of harmful mutations in their genome than males without rivals. Researchers at Uppsala University have discovered this correlation in the beetle species Callosobruchus maculatus. Their study is published in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. (2020-03-16)

Older beetle parents 'less flexible'
Older parents are less flexible when it comes to raising their offspring, according to a new study of beetles. (2020-03-06)

Whether horseradish flea beetles deter predators depends on their food plant and their life stage
Horseradish flea beetles use glucosinolates from their host plants for their own defense. They have an enzyme which converts glucosinolates into toxic mustard oils. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, found that while glucosinolates are present in all life stages of the beetle, the enzyme required to convert these into toxic substances is not always active. Although larvae fend off attackers, pupae are predated because they lack enzyme activity. (2020-03-02)

Exceptional catapulting jump mechanism in a tiny beetle could be applied in robotic limbs
The fascinating and highly efficient jumping mechanism in flea beetles is described in a new research article in the open-access journal ZooKeys. Despite having been known since 1929, the explosive jump has not been fully understood. Recently, a team of Chinese and US scientists joined forces to test the existing theories, using micro-computed tomography, 3D reconstructions, high-speed filming and dissection. The team also proposed a design of a bionic limb inspired by their findings. (2020-02-25)

The dangers facing fireflies
The BioScience Talks podcast (http://bioscience.libsyn.com) features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences. (2020-02-24)

Forests bouncing back from beetles, but elk and deer slowing recovery
New research from University of Colorado Boulder reveals that even simultaneous bark beetle outbreaks are not a death sentence to the state's beloved forests. The study, published this month in the journal Ecology, found that high-elevation forests in the southern Rocky Mountains actually have a good chance of recovery, even after overlapping outbreaks with different kinds of beetles. One thing that is slowing their recovery down: Foraging elk and deer. (2020-02-13)

New research shows that El Niño contributes to insect collapse in the Amazon
Hotter and drier El Niño events are having an alarming effect on biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest and further add to a disturbing global insect collapse, scientists show. A new study focusing on the humble, but ecologically key, dung beetle has revealed for the first time that intense droughts and wildfires during the last El Niño climate phenomenon, combined with human disturbance, led to beetle numbers falling by more than half -- with effects lasting for at least two years. (2020-02-09)

Fireflies face global threats
Worldwide declines in insect populations have garnered significant attention of late. However, many species are understudied, including firefly beetles, whose charismatic bioluminescent displays elevate their cultural and economic importance. Reporting the results of a recent survey in BioScience, Sara M. Lewis of Tufts University and her colleagues present a broad overview of the threats facing these diverse insect populations. (2020-02-03)

Jewel beetles' sparkle helps them hide in plain sight
Bright colors are often considered an evolutionary tradeoff in the animal kingdom. Yes, a male peacock's colorful feathers may help it attract a mate, but they also make it more likely to be seen by a predator. Jewel beetles and their iridescent wing cases may be an exception to the rule, researchers report in the journal Current Biology. They found that the insects' bright colors can act as a form of camouflage. (2020-01-23)

Brilliant iridescence can conceal as well as attract
A new study shows for the first time that the striking iridescent colours seen in some animals increase their chances of survival against predators by acting as a means of camouflage. Rather than reveal it seems these dynamically changing shades are used to conceal, according to the University of Bristol study published today in Current Biology. (2020-01-23)

Even after death, animals are important in ecosystems
Animal carcasses play an important role in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Scientists from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the University of Groningen have published these findings in PLOS ONE. Carcasses not only provide food for carrion-eating animals. Their nutrients also increase the growth of surrounding plants, which attracts many herbivorous insects and their predators. The researchers recommend relaxing regulations governing the disposal of animal carcasses when applied to conservation areas. (2020-01-22)

Specific insulin-like peptide regulates how beetle 'weapons' grow
A scientist from Tokyo Metropolitan University and coworkers have discovered that a specific insulin-like peptide called ILP2 regulates the size of 'weapons' in Gnatocerus cornutus beetles in different nutritional environments. They found diminished mandible size when expression of the peptide was suppressed, and that it was specifically expressed in the 'fat body', where beetles store nutrients. This has important implications for understanding how striking growth occurs in different environments for different organisms. (2020-01-11)

Bark beetles control pathogenic fungi
Pathogens can drive the evolution of social behaviour in insects. This is shown by researchers from Bern and Würzburg for ambrosia beetles. (2019-12-20)

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants
Non-native plants are providing new homes for Britain's insects -- some of which are rare on native plants, a new study has found. (2019-12-16)

Harvesting fog can provide fresh water in desert regions
Fog harvesting is a potential practical source of fresh water in foggy coastal deserts, and current solutions rely on meter scale nets/meshes. The mesh geometry, however, presents a physiologically inappropriate shape for millimeter scale bulk bodies, like insects. (2019-11-26)

Dung beetle discovery revises biologists' understanding of how nature innovates
The discovery that thoracic horns in dung beetles emerge from the same gene network as wings could revise how biologists understand 'innovation' in nature. (2019-11-21)

A genetic tug-of-war between the sexes begets variation
In species with sexual reproduction, no two individuals are alike and scientists have long struggled to understand why there is so much genetic variation. In a new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, a team of researchers from the University of Uppsala in Sweden now show that a genetic tug-of-war between the sexes acts to maintain variation. (2019-11-18)

Earliest evidence of insect-angiosperm pollination found in Cretaceous Burmese amber
Most of our food is from angiosperms, while more than 90% of angiosperms require insect pollination - making this pollination method hugely important. Nevertheless, scientists have long been unclear as to when insect pollination first appeared. Now, however, an international research group from China and the US has provided the earliest evidence of insect-angiosperm pollination -- by analyzing a sample of Cretaceous Burmese amber. (2019-11-11)

Helpful insects and landscape changes
We might not notice them, but the crops farmers grow are protected by scores of tiny invertebrate bodyguards. Naturally occurring arthropods like spiders and lady beetles patrol crop fields looking for insects to eat. These natural enemies keep pests under control, making it easier to grow the crops we depend on. (2019-11-05)

Insects share the same signaling pathway to form their 3-dimensional body
Zoologist shows that beetles, bugs and crickets control their body shape through Fog signalling / publication in 'eLife'. (2019-10-21)

Preventing future forest diebacks
Removing dead trees from the forests and reforesting on a large scale: this is the German Federal Government's strategy against 'Forest Dieback 2.0'. Ecologists from the University of Würzburg call for other solutions. (2019-10-02)

Species could buffer reproduction against climate change through sperm and egg plasticity
New research shows that beetles have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to reproduce despite warmer temperatures. They have evolved mechanisms that allow their sperm and eggs to quickly cope with increasing environmental temperature variation. And this could help species buffer themselves against climate change. (2019-10-02)

Evolution experiment: Specific immune response of beetles adapts to bacteria
The memory of the immune system is able to distinguish a foreign protein with which the organism has already come into contact from another and to react with a corresponding antibody. Researchers have now discovered in flour beetles that the immune system's ability to specifically fend off pathogens can adapt in the course of evolution. The study has been published in the journal 'PNAS'. (2019-09-24)

Crappy news for the dung beetle and those who depend on them
You mightn't think that the life of a dung beetle, a creature who eats poop every day of its short life, could get any worse, but you'd be wrong. Dung beetles are one of the most threatened terrestrial animal species; and one of the main threats is the excessive use of veterinary medical products that are excreted in dung. (2019-09-24)

Burying beetle larvae know the best time to beg for food
It's easy to imagine an adult bird standing over youngsters with mouths open wide for a pre-mashed meal. It's more difficult to picture a beetle doing this, but the burying beetle Nicrophorus quadripunctatus feeds its young by the same mouth-to-mouth regurgitation technique. In a study published in iScience on September 11, 2019, researchers found that burying beetle larvae can sense when the mother beetles emit a pheromone, 2-phenoxyethanol, when they are ready to feed their young. (2019-09-11)

Identity crisis for fossil beetle helps rewrite beetle family tree
A tiny fossil beetle, about the size of FDR's nose on the US dime, is a totally different species than scientists thought it was, meaning that the beetle family tree needs a rewrite. (2019-09-09)

Ash tree species likely will survive emerald ash borer beetles, but just barely
'Lingering ash.' That's what the US Forest Service calls the relatively few green and white ash trees that survive the emerald ash borer onslaught. Those trees do not survive by accident, and that may save the species, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a six-year study of ash decline and mortality. (2019-09-09)

Beetle scales hold secret to creating sustainable paint from recycled plastic, research shows
The structure of ultra-white beetle scales could hold the key to making bright-white sustainable paint using recycled plastic waste, scientists at the University of Sheffield have discovered. (2019-08-29)

Beaver reintroduction key to solving freshwater biodiversity crisis
Reintroducing beavers to their native habitat is an important step towards solving the freshwater biodiversity crisis, according to experts at the University of Stirling. (2019-08-26)

New water-beetle species show biodiversity still undiscovered in at-risk South American habitats
Researchers from the University of Kansas have described three genera and 17 new species of water scavenger beetles from the Guiana and Brazilian Shield regions of South America. (2019-08-13)

Asian longhorned beetle larvae eat plant tissues that their parents cannot
Despite the buzz in recent years about other invasive insects that pose an even larger threat to agriculture and trees -- such as the spotted lanternfly, the stink bug and the emerald ash borer -- Penn State researchers have continued to study another damaging pest, the Asian longhorned beetle. (2019-08-12)

Sexual competition helps horned beetles survive deforestation
A study of how dung beetles survive deforestation in Borneo suggests that species with more competition among males for matings are less likely to go extinct, according to research led by scientists from Queen Mary University of London and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. (2019-07-30)

The first bioluminescent click beetle discovered in Asia represents a new subfamily
The first record of a luminescent click beetle in Asia, representing a new to science subfamily, is reported from southwest China by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, (Kunming), Tianjin New Wei San Industrial Company, Ltd. (Tianjing, China) and the Palacký University (Olomouc, Czech Republic). Molecular analysis provided new evidence for the multiple origin of bioluminescence in the family of click beetles. The study is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys. (2019-07-23)

Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom
Bark beetles are currently responsible for killing an unprecedented number of trees in forests across Europe and North America. Why the beetle populations first explode to decline naturally after a few years is largely unknown. Researchers are therefore urging to step up research into the dynamics of bark beetle populations. They believe that more needs to be done also in view of climate change. (2019-07-01)

(Not only) the wind shows the way
When the South African dung beetle rolls its dung ball through the savannah, it must know the way as precisely as possible. Scientists have now discovered that it does not orient itself solely on the position of the sun. (2019-06-25)

Dung beetles get wind
Researchers have shown for the first time that these insects use different directional sensors to achieve the highest possible navigational precision in different conditions. (2019-06-25)

Dung beetles use wind compass when the sun is high
Researchers have shown for the first time that an animal uses different directional sensors to achieve the highest possible navigational precision in different conditions. When the sun is high, dung beetles navigate using the wind. (2019-06-25)

Cities are key to saving monarch butterflies
Monarch butterflies are at risk of disappearing from most of the US, and to save them, we need to plant milkweed for them to lay their eggs on. In two new studies, scientists found that one of the most important places for us to plant milkweed is in cities -- even though cities make up just 3% of US landmass, they have the potential to support 30% of the milkweed Monarchs need. (2019-06-21)

New research shows importance of climate on spruce beetle flight
If the climate continues warming as predicted, spruce beetle outbreaks in the Rocky Mountains could become more frequent. (2019-06-19)

Threatened beetles benefit from forest thinning
Wood-living beetles that use oak trees are a species-rich and threatened animal group in modern forestry and agriculture in southern Sweden. New research from the University of Gothenburg shows that management with conservation thinning can be an effective way to promote these beetles in the long term. (2019-05-28)

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