Monday, November 04, 2019

six legs good

We human tend to think that we are important residents of our planet, and indeed in the last 200 years we have been causing some fairly significant environmental damage to it, but if you look at the evolution of animals since some of them first crawled onto dry land, we are insignificant. The big evolutionary success story of the last 400 million years is insects. Although right now we may be in the process of putting an end to that.

I was really looking for something about plants, and found some new papers about the co-evolution of insects with plants, and from that grew a feature with various recipes for the success of insects, some involving plants and others not so much. Anyhow, I learned a few interesting things which you can read about here:


Six-legged success stories

Current Biology Volume 29, issue 21, pages R1105-R1108, November 4, 2019


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Oh, and the strange-looking birds on the cover of the issue are the guineafowl from the paper by Damien Farine's group which I mentioned in my previous feature, Reading the hive mind.




The tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) has adapted to cope with the plant-produced insecticide nicotine, providing an example of a complex evolutionary relationship between plants and insects. (Photo: http://www.peakpx.com.)

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