Color insects reflects the level of toxicity


08/02/2012

A study conducted by the University of Exter and Liverpool, points directly to the fact that the differences between the alarms animals which appear in the external terms, show how individuals are poisonous to predators. For example, the color of ladybirds indicates the degree of satiety and toxicity, as reported by an international team of scientists.

Published in Functional Ecology, the study shows that the red ladybugs more toxic than their brethren pale colors. The analysis indicates that this change is directly related to insect feeding in the early stages of life: the better it eats, the more brightly colored insect acquires and becomes more dangerous for predators.

Environmentalists have long believed that there are no individual differences between external alarms among animals of the same species. Later, scientists identified the external differences of individuals, but never found out whether they were related to levels of toxicity.

In the current analysis, the researchers undertook a study in detail of this fact, by growing in laboratory conditions, the two groups semitochechnyh ladybirds. For one group, they used a meager diet, while the other group was fed insects "wonderfully." They then analyzed the effect of different types of food for adult ladybirds, namely, the color of the insect body, which serves as an alarm, protective levels of toxic chemicals, and the relationship between the signals and the defense.

So, ladybugs, fed well, had more saturated color of the wings compared to the second group of insects that meager ration. In brighter ladybirds were also observed higher levels of this protective chemical substances as precoccinelline, which makes them toxic to birds. Thus, the analysis showed that the fed ladybugs have a more vivid tale signs and contain more toxic chemicals, and thus better protected from being eaten by predators.

The main author of the study, Dr. John Blount (Jon Blount) from the Centre for Ecology and Environment of the University of Exter, said: "The alarms are expressed in physical appearance of the animals, tell us much more about their degree of security than previously anticipated. Creating alarms and chemical protection is vital for the insects, as due to insufficient, they produce relatively low levels of chemicals. This in turn allows you to quickly detect predators of insects, despite their unattractive appearance. Nevertheless, a more abundant food sources ladybugs produce a sufficient amount of protective chemicals and become more bright. "

Although the differences in the color of ladybirds are imperceptible to the human eye, they are easily and quickly recognized the birds. In this analysis, the research team studied the formation of pigmentation on the body of a ladybug from a biochemical point of view, and to identify the relationship between the levels of pigment and bright appearance, using a typical predator insects - starling.

Since scientists know very little about the life of these interesting insects such as ladybugs, they have no understanding of what the insects of the species, but a paler color escape from predators. Perhaps they are more securely hidden than their bright counterparts, as suggested by the researchers.

Original: Physorg


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