- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Kids love bugs.
And they love books on bugs.
One of the bug books we bought our son during his childhood was “Insect World: A Child’s First Library of Learning,” published by Time-Life Books.
It includes such chapters as:
Why Do Butterflies Love Flowers?
Why Are a Dragon Fly’s Eyes So Big?
Why Do Ladybugs Spit Yellow Liquid When They’re Caught?
Why Do Bees Sting?
How Do Grasshoppers Jump?
An illustration in the back of the book depicts insects doing the wrong things. Titled “What’s Going On?,” the drawing shows a butterfly eating an insect (Not! It drinks nectar); a praying mantis eating grass (Not! It eats other insects), a grasshopper drinking sap (Not! It does eat grass, though), a honey bee spinning a web (Not! But it does make a wax hive) and a cicada drinking nectar (Not! But it does drink sap).
The diversity of insects continues to amaze us--from the huge Madagascar hissing cockroach to the tiny walnut twig beetle. Check out the Bohart Museum of Entomology's seven million specimens on the UC Davis campus or take a look (below) of this partial collection of UC Davis evolutionary ecologist Andrew Forbes, a post-doctoral scholar in professor Jay Rosenheim's lab.
On Thursday, Feb. 12, the eyes of the world will be focused on biodiversity. That's the 200th anniversary of the birth of naturalist Charles Darwin. The New York Times just published an article on him, "Darwinism Must Die So Evolution May Live." The San Francisco Chronicle explored "Eric Simons: Frolicking in Darwin's Footsteps." The BBC says "Scotland 'Inspired' Darwin's Work."
And at the 2008 meeting of the Entomological Society of America, scientists devoted an entire seminar to Darwin's fascinating life and his contributions to science.
Fortunately, Darwin (1809-1882) neglected the medical studies his parents so desperately wanted him to pursue and instead explored his passion.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Biodiversity creates biodiversity.
That point comes through loud and clear when you read the scientific paper on the apple maggot/parasitic wasp research led by UC Davis evolutionary ecologist Andrew Forbes.
The news embargo lifted at 11 a.m. today and the research will be published Friday, Feb. 6 in the journal Science.
When the apple maggot shifted hosts from the hawthorn to the apple, that triggered a cascading effect on the ecosystem.
A parasitic wasp (Diachasma alloeum) that attacks the apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) has “formed new incipient species as a result of specializing on diversifying fly hosts, including the recently derived apple-infesting race of R. pomonella,” Forbes said.
The apple maggot, native to
A host race is a group of organisms in the process of becoming a new species due to its close association with a particular host (plant or animal).
In this new study, Forbes and his co-authors showed that the wasp D. alloeum is undergoing the same evolutionary changes.
“The research shows the process of speciation in action and might tell us more about why certain groups of organisms are more diverse than others.” said Forbes, who received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and is now a postdoctoral researcher in professor
The research, titled “Sequential Sympatric Speciation Across Trophic Levels,” provides insight into what Forbes calls “the tangled bank of life.”
“As new species form, they create new opportunities for others to exploit which, in turn, begets ever more new species,” he said.
“And all this is happening right before our eyes in our own backyards.”
Forbes captured excellent images of the apple maggot fly and wasp. His image of a wasp emerging from an apple maggot pupa is particularly amazing./st1:personname>/st1:place>