Current Moth News and Events

Current Moth News and Events, Moth News Articles.
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Micro-climate moulds and reshapes northern insect communities, herbivory and predation
Climate and changes in it have direct impacts on species of plant and animals - but climate may also shape more complex biological systems like food webs. Now a research group from the University of Helsinki has investigated how micro-climate shapes each level of the ecosystem, from species' abundances in predator communities to parasitism rates in key herbivores, and ultimately to damage suffered by plants. The results reveal how climate change may drastically reshape northern ecosystems. (2021-01-14)

Smellicopter: an obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth antenna to seek out smells
A University of Washington-led team has developed Smellicopter: an autonomous drone that uses a live antenna from a moth to navigate toward smells. Smellicopter can also sense and avoid obstacles as it travels through the air. (2020-12-07)

Moths strike out in evolutionary arms race with sophisticated wing design
Ultra-thin, super-absorbent and extraordinarily designed to detract attention, the wings of moths could hold the key for developing technological solutions to survive in a noisy world. (2020-11-23)

Death from below: the first video of a parasitic wasp attacking caterpillar underwater
A previously unknown species of Japanese parasitic wasp was observed and filmed to dive underwater to parasitize moth caterpillars. This is the first known case of such behaviour for the subfamily Microgastrinae. The unique video is featured in the original description of the species, named Microgaster godzilla, because its emergence out of the water reminded the scientists of the Japanese iconic fictional monster Godzilla. The study was published in the open-access Journal of Hymenoptera Research. (2020-11-04)

Nature-inspired design--Mimicking moth eyes to produce transparent anti-reflective coatings
The eyes of moths have a biological nanostructure that grants them anti-reflective properties. Though researchers have managed to mimic this structure to produce anti-reflective coatings, current techniques are not easily scalable. Now, researchers from Japan have devised a strategy to produce large area moth-eye transparent films that greatly reduce reflectance and improve transmittance. These films could be used to better the visibility of screens and enhance the performance of solar panels. (2020-11-04)

University of Guam part of international effort to understand cycad pollinators
The Guam team's 2017 discovery of the new Cycadophila samara beetle and its pollination of cycads is now contributing to an international effort to more fully understand the intimate relationship between plant and insect. (2020-10-13)

Airdropping sensors from moths
University of Washington researchers have created a sensor system that can ride aboard a small drone or an insect, such as a moth, until it gets to its destination. (2020-10-07)

Silk offers homemade solution for COVID-19 prevention
A University of Cincinnati biology study found that silk fabric performs similarly to surgical masks when used in conjunction with respirators but has the added advantages of being washable and repelling water, which would translate to helping to keep a person safer from the airborne virus. (2020-09-22)

Diamondback moth uses plant defense substances as oviposition cues
Researchers showed that isothiocyanates produced by cruciferous plants to fend off pests serve as oviposition cues. The scientists identified two olfactory receptors whose sole function is to detect these defense substances and to guide female moths to the ideal sites to lay their eggs. They uncovered the molecular mechanism that explains why some insects that specialize in feeding on certain host plants are attracted by substances that are supposed to keep pests away. (2020-09-10)

Air pollution renders flower odors unattractive to moths
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and the University of Virginia, USA, showed that tobacco hawkmoths lost attraction to the scent of their preferred flowers when that scent had been altered by ozone. This oxidizing pollutant thus disturbs the chemical communication between a plant and its pollinator. However, when given the chance, hawkmoths quickly learn that an unpleasantly polluted scent may lead to nutritious nectar. (2020-09-04)

Scientists discover earliest fossil evidence of an insect lichen mimic
Scientists have uncovered the earliest known evidence of an insect mimicking a lichen as a survival strategy, according to new findings published today in eLife. (2020-09-01)

Reduce insecticide spraying by using ant pheromones to catch crop pests
Scientists at Bath have developed a molecular sponge that soaks up the pheromones of ants and releases them slowly to attract the pests to an insecticide trap. (2020-08-27)

Nanostructures modeled on moth eyes effective for anti-icing
Researchers have been working for decades on improving the anti-icing performance of functional surfaces and work published in AIP Advances investigates a unique nanostructure, modeled on moth eyes, that has anti-icing properties. Moth eyes are of interest because they have a distinct ice-phobic and transparent surface. The researchers fabricated the moth eye nanostructure on a quartz substrate that was covered with a paraffin layer to isolate it from a cold and humid environment. (2020-08-04)

Lyin' eyes: Butterfly, moth eyespots may look the same, but likely evolved separately
The iconic eyespots that some moths and butterflies use to ward off predators likely evolved in distinct ways, providing insights into how these insects became so diverse. (2020-05-06)

New species of moths discovered in the Alps named after three famous alpinists
During a genetic project of the Tyrolean State Museums in Innsbruck, Austrian entomologist and head of the Natural Science Collections Peter Huemer used an integrative research approach to study four long-known, yet controversial European moths. It turned out that he was not dealing with four, but seven species. Those three previously unknown moths were described in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Alpine Entomology under the names of legendary alpinists Reinhold Messner, Peter Habeler and David Lama. (2020-04-27)

Spores, please!
Black poplar leaves infected by fungi are especially susceptible to attack by gypsy moth caterpillars. A research team at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology found that young larvae that fed on leaves covered with fungal spores grew faster and pupated earlier than those feeding only on leaf tissue. The results shed new light on the co-evolution of plants and insects, in which microorganisms play a much greater role than previously assumed. (2020-04-20)

Book on plants in the Murmansk region (Russia) scores 4/19 correct insect identifications
Mistakes can occur in any environment, but what if the records we read about are actually incorrect? The case of unqualified scientists publishing false records of insects in the Murmansk oblast of Russia is described in the recent paper in the open-access journal Arctic Environmental Research. (2020-03-04)

Deaf moths evolved noise-cancelling scales to evade prey
Some species of deaf moths can absorb as much as 85 per cent of the incoming sound energy from predatory bats -- who use echolocation to detect them. The findings, published in Royal Society Interface today, reveal the moths, who are unable to hear the ultrasonic calls of bats, have evolved this clever defensive strategy to help it survive. (2020-02-25)

Climate warming disrupts tree seed production
Research involving the University of Liverpool has revealed the effect of climate warming on the complex interactions between tree masting and the insects that eat their seeds. (2020-02-12)

First release of genetically engineered moth could herald new era of crop protection
For decades, the agriculture industry has been trying to find biological and environmentally friendly ways to manage the diamondback moth, which is widely resistant to insecticides. To combat this, a newly engineered strain of an insect pest performs well in US field trials conducted by Cornell University. Results show promise for future biotech crop protection applications and a potential solution to a global, multi-billion dollar agricultural pest. (2020-01-29)

Animals reduce the symmetry of their markings to improve camouflage
Some forms of camouflage have evolved in animals to exploit a loophole in the way predators perceive their symmetrical markings. The University of Bristol findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B today, describe how animals have evolved to mitigate this defensive disadvantage in their coloration. (2020-01-14)

Moths' flight data helps drones navigate complex environments
The flight navigation strategy of moths can be used to develop programs that help drones to navigate unfamiliar environments, report Ioannis Paschalidis at Boston University, Thomas Daniel at University of Washington, and colleagues, in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology. (2020-01-09)

Predatory lacewings do not care whether their prey detoxifies plant defenses or not
A new study shows that herbivores and their predators have evolved efficient strategies to deal with toxic plant secondary metabolites. Caterpillars of the diamondback moth deploy a specific gut enzyme to render the toxic substances of their host plant harmless. Without the activity of this enzyme, growth, survival and reproduction are impaired. Nevertheless, predatory lacewing larvae feed on poisoned caterpillars without serious negative consequences, because they have their own detoxification mechanism. (2019-12-19)

Moths and perhaps other animals rely on precise timing of neural spikes
By capturing and analyzing nearly all of the brain signals sent to the wing muscles of hawk moths (Manduca sexta), researchers have shown that precise timing within rapid sequences of neural signal spikes is essential to controlling the flight muscles necessary for the moths to eat. (2019-12-17)

Lazy moths taste disgusting
Researchers have noticed that some moths are nonchalant when attacked by predatory bats. Their new study illuminates the reasons for this counterintuitive behavior. Research revealed that less appetizing moths are more nonchalant when attacked by bats, whereas more palatable moths employ midair evasive maneuvers. By estimating the palatability of moth species, the researchers could predict their evasive/nonchalant behaviors. The technique may be applicable to rare or even extinct species. (2019-12-16)

Research explores how grape pests sniff out berries
A new study, published Nov. 21 in the Journal of Chemical Ecology, investigates how these pests find their target amid a sea of other plants in the landscape. (2019-12-10)

Antibiotics: New substances break bacterial resistance
Researchers at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new, promising class of active ingredients against resistant bacteria. In initial tests in cell cultures and insects, the substances were at least as effective as common antibiotics. The new compounds target a special enzyme that only appears in bacteria in this specific form and that was not previously the target of other antibiotics. The team reported on its work in the journal ''Antibiotics''. (2019-11-11)

Scientists identify British butterflies most threatened by climate change
Many British butterflies and moths have been responding to warmer temperatures by emerging earlier in the year and for the first time scientists have identified why this is creating winners and losers among species. (2019-10-24)

Evolving alongside other bacteria keeps hospital bug potent
Bacteria that evolve in natural environments -- rather than laboratory tests -- may become resistant to phage treatments without losing their virulence, new research shows. (2019-10-23)

Industrial melanism linked to same gene in 3 moth species
The rise of dark forms of many species of moth in heavily polluted areas of 19th and 20th century Britain, known as industrial melanism, was a highly visible response to environmental change. But did the different species rely on the same gene to adapt? New research by the University of Liverpool reveals that three species of moth, including the famous peppered moth, indeed did. (2019-10-17)

Secrets to climate change adaptation uncovered in the European corn borer moth
Biologists have found two genes that may permit some insect species to survive climate change by adjusting their biological annual clocks while others succumb. The researchers looked at the European corn borer moth and pinpointed variation in two circadian clock genes -- per and Pdfr -- that enable different populations of the moth to adapt their transitions to longer or shorter winters. (2019-10-10)

First maps of areas suitable for spotted lanternfly's establishment in US and world
Maps identifying the areas suitable for establishment of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) in the United States and other countries have been published in the Journal of Economic Entomology by Agricultural Research Service scientists. (2019-10-03)

Green tea could hold the key to reducing antibiotic resistance
Scientists at the University of Surrey have discovered that a natural antioxidant commonly found in green tea can help eliminate antibiotic resistant bacteria. (2019-09-23)

A map of the brain can tell what you're reading
UC Berkeley neuroscientists have created interactive maps that can predict where different categories of words activate the brain. Their latest map is focused on what happens in the brain when you read stories. (2019-08-19)

Non-native invasive insects, diseases decreasing carbon stored in US forests
A first-of-its-kind study by a team that included the United States Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and Purdue University scientists finds that non-native invasive insects and diseases are reducing the amount of carbon stored in trees across the United States. (2019-08-13)

Quantum dots capture speciation in sandplain fynbos on the West Coast of South Africa
With a tongue up to 7 cm long, the long-tongue fly Moegistorhynchus longirostris often battle to fly, especially in the wind. Researchers from Stellenbosch University in South Africa were able to show conclusively that long- and short-tubed flowers place and receive pollen on different parts of the fly's long tongue: short tubed flowers mostly midway and long-tubed flowers on or near the head. This indicates a barrier to the flow of genes. (2019-08-05)

Caterpillars of the peppered moth perceive color through their skin
It is difficult to distinguish caterpillars of the peppered moth from a twig. The caterpillars not only mimic the form but also the color of a twig. In a new study, researchers of Liverpool University in the UK and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany demonstrate that the caterpillars can sense the twig's color with their skin. (2019-08-02)

Species on the move
A total of 55 animal species in the UK have been displaced from their natural ranges or enabled to arrive for the first time on UK shores because of climate change over the last 10 years (2008-2018) -- as revealed in a new study published today by scientists at international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London). (2019-07-18)

Effectiveness of using natural enemies to combat pests depends on surroundings
A new study of cabbage crops in New York -- a state industry worth close to $60 million in 2017, according to the USDA -- reports for the first time that the effectiveness of releasing natural enemies to combat pests depends on the landscape surrounding the field. (2019-07-15)

Caterpillars turn anti-predator defense against sticky toxic plants
A moth caterpillar has evolved to use acids, usually sprayed at predators as a deterrent, to disarm the defenses of their food plants, according to a study publishing July 10, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by David Dussourd from the University of Central Arkansas and colleagues. (2019-07-10)

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