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Latest Manduca Stories

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...

Biological Pest Control Using Predators Of Insect Eggs And Larvae Increases Plant Fitness
2012-10-16 15:15:40

To solve the acute, global problem of securing food resources for a continuously growing population, we must work constantly to increase the sustainability and effectiveness of modern agricultural techniques. These efforts depend on new insights from plant ecology, particularly from work on native plants that grow in the primordial agricultural niche. Based on field studies on wild tobacco plants in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA, researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical...

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2011-04-26 10:18:02

A plant's sugary offering betrays caterpillars to predatory ants Trichomes, hair-like projections on leaves, are part of a plant's defense against herbivores: they can be obstacles, traps, or reservoirs for toxic substances. The hairs of wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata contain primarily acyl sugars, which are composed of the common sugar, sucrose, bound to branched chain aliphatic acids, compounds that give baby vomit its distinctive odor. Tiny, freshly hatched caterpillars consume these...

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2011-04-17 07:39:46

Scientists assemble genes involved in regulating olfaction in the antennae of a moth Insects have a highly sensitive sense of smell. Extremely low concentrations of odor molecules in the air are sufficient to be detected by receptor neurons on their antennae. Specific proteins, so-called receptor proteins, expressed in these neurons recognize the odors. The odor molecules bind to the receptors and produce chemical and electrical signals that are processed in the insect brain and eventually...

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2010-08-26 23:34:48

The dilemma for tobacco hornworm larvae: By feeding on tobacco leaves they unintentionally and rapidly transform plant substances into attractant signals that betray their location to their own natural enemies -- with lethal consequencesPlants have developed a sophisticated defense system. They can not only directly fend off herbivores by producing toxins, but also do so indirectly by emitting odorant molecules into the atmosphere that are perceived by predatory insects; these predators are...

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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...


Latest Manduca Reference Libraries

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2005-07-14 00:56:38

Hawk moths (or Sphinx moths) are moths in the family Sphingidae. They are some of the fastest flying insects, capable of flying at over 30 miles per hour (50 km/h). They have a wingspan of 35-150 millimeters. Some hawk moths, like the hummingbird hawk moth, hover in midair while they feed on nectar from flowers and are sometimes mistaken for hummingbirds, even in continents where hummingbirds are not found. The larvae of most species of hawk moth have a "horn" at the posterior end. Because...

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Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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