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Latest Manduca sexta Stories

Hornworm Caterpillar Uses Nicotine Breath
2013-12-31 11:46:33

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online While e-cigarettes may have been all the rage in 2013, one cool cat(erpillar) doesn’t even need a mechanical smoking device to puff out clouds of toxic nicotine. The tobacco hornworm caterpillar is able to exhale this predator-repelling breath by re-purposing the nicotine it eats while feeding on a tobacco plant, according to a study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nicotine actually acts as...

Olfactory Signals Help Female Moths Choose Best Egg-laying Sites
2013-06-03 11:00:17

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology Small changes in the composition of green leaf volatiles induced by herbivory guide ovipositing female moths to unattacked plants Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany, discovered that the ability of Manduca sexta moths to recognize changes in the profile of volatile compounds released by plants being attacked by Manduca caterpillars allows them to lay their eggs on plants that are less likely to be attacked...

Caterpillar Gets The Most From Food When Predator Is On The Hunt
2012-07-13 13:37:15

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online While other animals beef up metabolism and stop growing or developing during a defensive period, hornworm caterpillars slow or stop eating but actually keep up their weight and develop a little faster in the short term. Hornworm caterpillars ate 30 percent to 40 percent less when threatened by stink bugs but weighed the same as their non-threatened counterparts as indicated by Ian Kaplan, a Purdue University assistant professor of...

Tobacco Plants Advertise They Are Ready To Attack Leafhoppers
2012-05-23 10:25:32

Like blood-sucking insects, herbivores evaluate their host's readiness for defense Tobacco: actually pretty bad food for leafhoppers Empoasca sp. is not a typical pest of wild tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata). When this plant grows in its natural habitats in North America, however, it is attacked by tobacco hornworm larvae (Manduca sexta). This specialist insect is resistant to the toxic nicotine, which the plant produces as a defense against its enemies. When researchers from the Max...

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2009-03-05 10:05:00

Moths need just the essence of a flower's scent to identify it, according to new research from The University of Arizona in Tucson. Although a flower's odor can be composed of hundreds of chemicals, a moth uses just a handful to recognize the flower. It's like identifying a piece of music from hearing only the notes played by a few key instruments, said lead researcher Jeffrey A. Riffell. "The moth isn't paying attention to all the chemicals at the same time," Riffell said. "It's actually...

2008-02-04 16:30:01

Cornell University researchers have succeeded in implanting electronic circuit probes into tobacco hornworms as early pupae. The hornworms pass through the chrysalis stage to mature into long-lived moths whose muscles can be controlled with the implanted electronics. The research was showcased at MEMS 2008, an international academic conference on Micro-Electrico-Mechanical Systems that took place from January 13-17 in Tucson, AZ. The pupae insertion state was found to yield the best...

2007-09-15 06:00:55

By Richard Nunnally, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va. Sep. 15--Q:I grow tomatoes every year and find those big green worms on them. Some have white lumps on their backs. I've heard they are some kind of eggs. Is that true? If so, are they harmful? Answer: The worms you're seeing are tomato hornworms. They are common and enjoy eating the leaves of tomato plants. The white lumps are the egg cases for a parasitic wasp. This wasp stings the worm and deposits its eggs on the worm's back. As the...