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Naruo Nikoh, Tsutomu Tsuchida, Taro Maeda, Katsushi Yamaguchi, Shuji Shigenobu, Ryuichi Koga, Takema Fukatsu
Members of the genus Rickettsiella are bacterial pathogens of insects and other arthropods. Recently, a novel facultative endosymbiont, " Candidatus Rickettsiella viridis," was described in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum , whose infection causes a striking host phenotype: red and green genetic color morphs exist in aphid populations, and upon infection with the symbiont, red aphids become green due to increased production of green polycyclic quinone pigments. Here we determined the complete genome sequence of the symbiont...
June 12, 2018: MBio
D Rodríguez-Morales, V Rico-Gray, J G García-Franco, H Ajuria-Ibarra, L T Hernández-Salazar, L E Robledo-Ospina, D Rao
Many animals use body coloration as a strategy to communicate with conspecifics, prey, and predators. Color is a trade-off for some species, since they should be visible to conspecifics but cryptic to predators and prey. Some flower-dwelling predators, such as crab spiders, are capable of choosing the color of flowers where they ambush flower visitors and pollinators. In order to avoid being captured, visitors evaluate flowers visually before landing. The crab spider Mecaphesa dubia is a polymorphic species (white/purple color morphs), which inhabits the flower heads of a dune plant, Palafoxia lindenii...
May 12, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Michael Forthman, Christiane Weirauch
The diversity of colour patterns and its importance in interactions with the environment make colouration in animals an intriguing research focus. Aposematic colouration is positively correlated with body size in certain groups of animals, suggesting that warning colours are more effective or that crypsis is harder to achieve in larger animals. Surprisingly, this relationship has not been recovered in studies investigating insects, which may have been confounded by a focus on aposematic taxa that are also gregarious...
May 9, 2018: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Florian M Steiner, Sándor Csősz, Bálint Markó, Alexander Gamisch, Lukas Rinnhofer, Clemens Folterbauer, Sarina Hammerle, Christian Stauffer, Wolfgang Arthofer, Birgit C Schlick-Steiner
Seed harvesting ants are ecosystem engineers that shape vegetation, nutrient cycles, and microclimate. Progress in ecological research is, however, slowed down by poor species delimitation. For example, it has not been resolved to date, how many species the European harvester ant Messor "structor" (Latreille, 1798) represents. Since its first description, splitting into additional taxa was often proposed but not accepted later on due to inconsistent support from morphology and ecology. Here, we took an iterative integrative-taxonomy approach - comparing multiple, independent data sets of the same sample - and used traditional morphometrics, Wolbachia symbionts, mitochondrial DNA, amplified fragment length polymorphism, and ecological niche modelling...
April 27, 2018: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Sha Chen, Xiangchu Yin, Xiaodan Lin, Chungkun Shih, Runzhi Zhang, Taiping Gao, Dong Ren
Extant stick and leaf insects commonly imitate twigs or leaves, with lateral lamellae used to enhance crypsis or achieve mimicry for protection. However, the origin and early evolution of such lateral expansions among Phasmatodea are unknown, because all known Mesozoic phasmatodeans hitherto lack preserved evidence of such structures. We report here the first Mesozoic stick insect, Elasmophasma stictum gen. et sp. nov., with well-preserved, thin, lateral lamellae on the thoracic pleura, the terga of abdominal segments I-X and the ventrolateral margins of all femora...
April 25, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Joanna R Hall, Roland Baddeley, Nicholas E Scott-Samuel, Adam J Shohet, Innes C Cuthill
Motion is generally assumed to "break" camouflage. However, although camouflage cannot conceal a group of moving animals, it may impair a predator's ability to single one out for attack, even if that discrimination is not based on a color difference. Here, we use a computer-based task in which humans had to detect the odd one out among moving objects, with "oddity" based on shape. All objects were either patterned or plain, and either matched the background or not. We show that there are advantages of matching both group-mates and the background...
September 2017: Behavioral Ecology: Official Journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology
Arianna Passarotto, Deseada Parejo, Vincenzo Penteriani, Jesús M Avilés
Owls show an astonishing variation in their degree of colour polymorphism, although the exact mechanisms driving such variation remain controversial. Here we address this fundamental question by considering information on all extant owls and recent advances in comparative methods in the frame of three mutually non-exclusive evolutionary scenarios. In addition, we study for the first time whether the evolution of influential ecological characters facilitated the evolution of colour polymorphism (or vice versa)...
May 2018: Oecologia
Lesley W Chan, Daniel E Morse, Michael J Gordon
Near- and sub-wavelength photonic structures are used by numerous organisms (e.g. insects, cephalopods, fish, birds) to create vivid and often dynamically-tunable colors, as well as create, manipulate, or capture light for vision, communication, crypsis, photosynthesis, and defense. This review introduces the physics of moth eye (ME)-like, biomimetic nanostructures and discusses their application to reduce optical losses and improve efficiency of various optoelectronic devices, including photodetectors, photovoltaics, imagers, and light emitting diodes...
May 8, 2018: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Eric J B von Wettberg, Peter L Chang, Fatma Başdemir, Noelia Carrasquila-Garcia, Lijalem Balcha Korbu, Susan M Moenga, Gashaw Bedada, Alex Greenlon, Ken S Moriuchi, Vasantika Singh, Matilde A Cordeiro, Nina V Noujdina, Kassaye Negash Dinegde, Syed Gul Abbas Shah Sani, Tsegaye Getahun, Lisa Vance, Emily Bergmann, Donna Lindsay, Bullo Erena Mamo, Emily J Warschefsky, Emmanuel Dacosta-Calheiros, Edward Marques, Mustafa Abdullah Yilmaz, Ahmet Cakmak, Janna Rose, Andrew Migneault, Christopher P Krieg, Sevgi Saylak, Hamdi Temel, Maren L Friesen, Eleanor Siler, Zhaslan Akhmetov, Huseyin Ozcelik, Jana Kholova, Canan Can, Pooran Gaur, Mehmet Yildirim, Hari Sharma, Vincent Vadez, Kassahun Tesfaye, Asnake Fikre Woldemedhin, Bunyamin Tar'an, Abdulkadir Aydogan, Bekir Bukun, R Varma Penmetsa, Jens Berger, Abdullah Kahraman, Sergey V Nuzhdin, Douglas R Cook
Domesticated species are impacted in unintended ways during domestication and breeding. Changes in the nature and intensity of selection impart genetic drift, reduce diversity, and increase the frequency of deleterious alleles. Such outcomes constrain our ability to expand the cultivation of crops into environments that differ from those under which domestication occurred. We address this need in chickpea, an important pulse legume, by harnessing the diversity of wild crop relatives. We document an extreme domestication-related genetic bottleneck and decipher the genetic history of wild populations...
February 13, 2018: Nature Communications
Günter Köhler, Jörg Samietz, Holger Schielzeth
Many animals show altitudinal clines in size, shape and body colour. Increases in body size and reduction in the length of body appendices in colder habitats are usually attributed to improved heat conservation at lower surface-to-volume ratios (known as Bergmann's and Allen's rule, respectively). However, the patterns are more variable and sometimes reversed in small ectotherms that are affected by shortened growing seasons. Altitude can also affect colouration. The thermal melanism hypothesis predicts darker colours under cooler conditions because of a thermoregulatory advantage...
2017: PloS One
Robert J Ward, Richard A Griffiths, John W Wilkinson, Nina Cornish
A fifth of reptiles are Data Deficient; many due to unknown population status. Monitoring snake populations can be demanding due to crypsis and low population densities, with insufficient recaptures for abundance estimation via Capture-Mark-Recapture. Alternatively, binomial N-mixture models enable abundance estimation from count data without individual identification, but have rarely been successfully applied to snake populations. We evaluated the suitability of occupancy and N-mixture methods for monitoring an insular population of grass snakes (Natrix helvetica) and considered covariates influencing detection, occupancy and abundance within remaining habitat...
December 22, 2017: Scientific Reports
Martin Šigut, Martin Kostovčík, Hana Šigutová, Jiří Hulcr, Pavel Drozd, Jan Hrček
Understanding interactions between herbivores and parasitoids is essential for successful biodiversity protection and monitoring and for biological pest control. Morphological identifications employ insect rearing and are complicated by insects' high diversity and crypsis. DNA barcoding has been successfully used in studies of host-parasitoid interactions as it can substantially increase the recovered real host-parasitoid diversity distorted by overlooked species complexes, or by species with slight morphological differences...
2017: PloS One
Maren Wellenreuther
Animals display incredibly diverse colour patterns, a testament to evolution's endless innovation in shaping life. In many species, the interplay between males and females in the pursuit of mates has driven the evolution of a myriad of colour forms, from the flashy peacock tail feathers to the tiniest colour markings in damselflies. In others, colour provides crypsis by allowing to blend into the background and to escape the eyes of predators. While the obvious benefits of this dazzling diversity for reproduction and survival seem straightforward, its maintenance is not...
November 2017: Molecular Ecology
Amy Eacock, Hannah M Rowland, Nicola Edmonds, Ilik J Saccheri
Camouflage, and in particular background-matching, is one of the most common anti-predator strategies observed in nature. Animals can improve their match to the colour/pattern of their surroundings through background selection, and/or by plastic colour change. Colour change can occur rapidly (a few seconds), or it may be slow, taking hours to days. Many studies have explored the cues and mechanisms behind rapid colour change, but there is a considerable lack of information about slow colour change in the context of predation: the cues that initiate it, and the range of phenotypes that are produced...
2017: PeerJ
Olivier Penacchio, Julie M Harris, P George Lovell
Countershading is a ubiquitous patterning of animals whereby the side that typically faces the highest illumination is darker. When tuned to specific lighting conditions and body orientation with respect to the light field, countershading minimizes the gradient of light the body reflects by counterbalancing shadowing due to illumination, and has therefore classically been thought of as an adaptation for visual camouflage. However, whether and how crypsis degrades when body orientation with respect to the light field is non-optimal has never been studied...
October 20, 2017: Scientific Reports
Yang Niu, Zhe Chen, Martin Stevens, Hang Sun
The efficacy of camouflage through background matching is highly environment-dependent, often resulting in intraspecific colour divergence in animals to optimize crypsis in different visual environments. This phenomenon is largely unexplored in plants, although several lines of evidence suggest they do use crypsis to avoid damage by herbivores. Using Corydalis hemidicentra, an alpine plant with cryptic leaf colour, we quantified background matching between leaves and surrounding rocks in five populations based on an approximate model of their butterfly enemy's colour perception...
October 11, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
S Tharanga Aluthwattha, Rhett D Harrison, Kithsiri B Ranawana, Cheng Xu, Ren Lai, Jin Chen
It is widely believed that aposematic signals should be conspicuous, but in nature, they vary from highly conspicuous to near cryptic. Current theory, including the honest signal or trade-off hypotheses of the toxicity-conspicuousness relationship, cannot explain why adequately toxic species vary substantially in their conspicuousness. Through a study of similarly toxic Danainae (Nymphalidae) butterflies and their mimics that vary remarkably in their conspicuousness, we show that the benefits of conspicuousness vary along a gradient of predation pressure...
September 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Changku Kang, Reza Zahiri, Thomas N Sherratt
Many cryptic prey have also evolved hidden contrasting colour signals which are displayed to would-be predators. Given that these hidden contrasting signals may confer additional survival benefits to the prey by startling/intimidating predators, it is unclear why they have evolved in some species, but not in others. Here, we have conducted a comparative phylogenetic analysis of the evolution of colour traits in the family Erebidae (Lepidoptera), and found that the hidden contrasting colour signals are more likely to be found in larger species...
August 30, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Gareth J Tate, Arjun Amar
Colour polymorphism may be maintained within a population by disruptive-selection. One hypothesis proposes that different morphs are adapted to different ambient light conditions, with lighter morphs having a selective advantage in bright conditions and darker morphs having advantages in darker conditions. The mechanism for this advantage is proposed to be through enhanced crypsis via background-matching. We explore this hypothesis in a polymorphic raptor, the black sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus, which exhibits a discrete dark and white-morph...
August 22, 2017: Scientific Reports
Henrique M Rodrigues, Julio Rivera, Neil Reid, Gavin J Svenson
We present the description of a new genus and new species of praying mantis, Hondurantemna chespiritoigen. n. & sp. n. This species of cryptic mantis, collected in National parks in Mexico and Honduras, remained unknown despite its considerable body size. Based on a phylogenetic analysis with molecular data and traditional morphological analysis, we place this new genus within Antemninae, a monotypic Mantidae subfamily. We update the subfamily concept for Antemninae and provide a key to the two genera. We describe the external morphology of immatures and adults of the new species as well as the genital complexes of both sexes and the ootheca of Antemna rapax...
2017: ZooKeys
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