Mating mix-up with wrong fly lowers libido for Mr. Right

Link

Mating mix-up with wrong fly lowers libido for Mr. Right. Duke Today, March 16, 2017. If you’ve ever suffered a nightmare date and were hesitant to try again, fruit flies can relate. Female flies that have been coerced into sex by invasive males of the wrong species are less likely to reproduce with their own kind later. Invasive species are known to threaten native biodiversity by bringing in diseases, preying on resident species or outcompeting them for food. But these results show invasives pose a risk through unwelcome advances, too.

Seeing nano

Link

Seeing nano. Duke Research blog, Jan. 9, 2017. Take pictures at more than 300,000 times magnification with electron microscopes at Duke.

Breakneck bite

Link

Breakneck bite. 1,100 words, Aug. 1, 2016The jaws of trap-jaw ants can generate forces hundreds of times their body weight and snap shut at speeds reaching 145 miles per hour — over 2,000 times faster than the blink of an eye. Duke biologists are using 3-D X-ray imaging to peer inside the insects’ heads and study the internal structures that power their impressive mandibles.

Same switches program taste and smell in fruit flies

Link

Same switches program taste and smell in fruit flies. Duke Today, Feb. 3, 2016. A Duke study helps explain how fruit flies get their keen sense of smell. Researchers have identified a set of genetic control switches that interact early in a fly’s development to generate dozens of types of specialized nerve cells for smell. The findings could reveal how the nervous systems of other animals — including humans, whose brains have billions of neurons — produce a dazzling array of cell types from just a few genes.

How an insect pest switches from sluggish super breeder to flying invasion machine

Link

How an insect pest switches from sluggish super breeder to flying invasion machine. Duke Today, March 18, 2015. Each year, the rice crop in Asia faces a big threat from a sesame seed-sized insect called the brown planthopper. Now, a study in the journal Nature reveals the molecular switch that enables some planthoppers to develop short wings and others long based on environmental conditions such as day length and temperature — a major factor in their ability to invade new rice fields.

Communal living of the insect kind

Link

Communal living of the insect kind. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, November 16, 2011. The social lives of ants, wasps and bees have long been a puzzle to scientists. How did complex insect societies — colonies ruled by a queen and many workers — come to be? A new model adds to discontent with old ideas.

Coping with climate change

Link

Coping with climate change. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, May 11, 2011. Can we predict which species will be able to move far or fast enough to keep up with rising global temperatures? A new study says the secrets to success in the face of a warming world are still elusive.

Ants forecast forests’ future

Link

Ants forecast forests’ future. Raleigh News and Observer, June 28, 2010. Ants and other insects may not be the first things you spot on a walk in the woods, but N.C. State biologist Rob Dunn believes they have something important to say about the future of forests under climate change.