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Insects, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2012), Pages 1-366

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Curious Connection Between Insects and Dreams
Insects 2012, 3(1), 1-17; doi:10.3390/insects3010001
Received: 2 November 2011 / Revised: 17 November 2011 / Accepted: 2 December 2011 / Published: 21 December 2011
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Abstract
A majority of humans spend their waking hours surrounded by insects, so it should be no surprise that insects also appear in humans’ dreams as we sleep. Dreaming about insects has a peculiar history, marked by our desire to explain a dream’s [...] Read more.
A majority of humans spend their waking hours surrounded by insects, so it should be no surprise that insects also appear in humans’ dreams as we sleep. Dreaming about insects has a peculiar history, marked by our desire to explain a dream’s significance and by the tactic of evoking emotions by injecting insects in dream-related works of art, film, music, and literature. I surveyed a scattered literature for examples of insects in dreams, first from the practices of dream interpretation, psychiatry, and scientific study, then from fictional writings and popular culture, and finally in the etymology of entomology by highlighting insects with dream-inspired Latinate names. A wealth of insects in dreams, as documented clinically and culturally, attests to the perceived relevance of dreams and to the ubiquity of insects in our lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects in Pop Culture, Art, and Music)
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Open AccessArticle Resistance of Wood Wool Cement Board to the Attack of Philippine Termites
Insects 2012, 3(1), 18-24; doi:10.3390/insects3010018
Received: 28 October 2011 / Revised: 14 November 2011 / Accepted: 18 November 2011 / Published: 28 December 2011
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Abstract
The resistance of yemane (Gmelina arborea Roxb.)-based wood wool cement board (WWCB) against Philippine termites was evaluated under laboratory and field conditions. Tests were conducted following the FPRDI standard procedures in determining the resistance of WWCB against subterranean and [...] Read more.
The resistance of yemane (Gmelina arborea Roxb.)-based wood wool cement board (WWCB) against Philippine termites was evaluated under laboratory and field conditions. Tests were conducted following the FPRDI standard procedures in determining the resistance of WWCB against subterranean and drywood termites. Results of the laboratory tests showed that WWCB was resistant to both Microcerotermes losbañosensis Oshima and Cryptotermes dudleyi Banks. Under field conditions, WWCB was highly resistant to subterranean termites. There was no remarkable termite damage except for the normal nibbling or initial termite feeding on the board during the 8-year exposure period. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of a Localized Treatment Technique Using Three Ready-to-Use Products Against the Drywood Termite Incisitermes snyderi (Kalotermitidae) in Naturally Infested Lumber
Insects 2012, 3(1), 25-40; doi:10.3390/insects3010025
Received: 30 November 2011 / Revised: 9 December 2011 / Accepted: 31 December 2011 / Published: 3 January 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (138 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Twenty-one boards infested with drywood termites were examined for activity using a Termatrac® motion detector. Termite galleries were identified using a Resistograph drill and treated with one of three ready-to-use (RTU) products. Results indicated that the Termatrac was excellent at locating termite [...] Read more.
Twenty-one boards infested with drywood termites were examined for activity using a Termatrac® motion detector. Termite galleries were identified using a Resistograph drill and treated with one of three ready-to-use (RTU) products. Results indicated that the Termatrac was excellent at locating termite activity but provided 9.5% false negatives. The Resistograph located termite galleries with an average of 4.6 ± 2.7 holes drilled to find at least one gallery in a board. Treatments included three formulations and two active ingredients; a foam (imidacloprid), a dry (fipronil) and an experimental formulation in a pressurized can (fipronil). All treatments provided evidence for a reduction in mean termite populations per board compared to the control. Two treatments provided evidence of elimination of infestation but no formulation eliminated infestations in every board that was treated. The concept of local treatment for drywood termite control is discussed relative to our results. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reticulitermes nelsonae, a New Species of Subterranean Termite (Rhinotermitidae) from the Southeastern United States
Insects 2012, 3(1), 62-90; doi:10.3390/insects3010062
Received: 2 December 2011 / Revised: 17 December 2011 / Accepted: 31 December 2011 / Published: 6 January 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Reticulitermes nelsonae, a new species of Rhinotermitidae (Isoptera) is described based on specimens from Sapelo Island, GA, Thomasville, GA, Havelock, NC, and Branford, FL. Adult (alate) and soldier forms are described. Diagnostic characters are provided and incorporated into a supplemental couplet [...] Read more.
Reticulitermes nelsonae, a new species of Rhinotermitidae (Isoptera) is described based on specimens from Sapelo Island, GA, Thomasville, GA, Havelock, NC, and Branford, FL. Adult (alate) and soldier forms are described. Diagnostic characters are provided and incorporated into a supplemental couplet of a dichotomous key to the known species of Reticulitermes found in Georgia, USA. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ant Larval Demand Reduces Aphid Colony Growth Rates in an Ant-Aphid Interaction
Insects 2012, 3(1), 120-130; doi:10.3390/insects3010120
Received: 13 December 2011 / Revised: 6 January 2012 / Accepted: 11 January 2012 / Published: 2 February 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services. Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is [...] Read more.
Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services. Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is costly. Through these mechanisms, ant attendance can reduce aphid colony growth rates. However, it is unknown whether demand from within the ant colony can affect the ant-aphid interaction. In a factorial experiment, we tested whether the presence of larvae in Lasius niger ant colonies affected the growth rate of Aphis fabae colonies. Other explanatory variables tested were the origin of ant colonies (two separate colonies were used) and previous diet (sugar only or sugar and protein). We found that the presence of larvae in the ant colony significantly reduced the growth rate of aphid colonies. Previous diet and colony origin did not affect aphid colony growth rates. Our results suggest that ant colonies balance the flow of two separate resources from aphid colonies- renewable sugars or a protein-rich meal, depending on demand from ant larvae within the nest. Aphid payoffs from the ant-aphid interaction may change on a seasonal basis, as the demand from larvae within the ant colony waxes and wanes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessArticle Near-Optimal Foraging in the Pacific Cicada Killer Sphecius convallis Patton (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae)
Insects 2012, 3(1), 133-140; doi:10.3390/insects3010133
Received: 1 January 2012 / Revised: 21 January 2012 / Accepted: 1 February 2012 / Published: 10 February 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study evaluated foraging effectiveness of Pacific cicada killers (Sphecius convallis) by comparing observed prey loads to that predicted by an optimality model. Female S. convallis preyed exclusively on the cicada Tibicen parallelus, resulting in a mean loaded flight [...] Read more.
This study evaluated foraging effectiveness of Pacific cicada killers (Sphecius convallis) by comparing observed prey loads to that predicted by an optimality model. Female S. convallis preyed exclusively on the cicada Tibicen parallelus, resulting in a mean loaded flight muscle ratio (FMR) of 0.187 (N = 46). This value lies just above the marginal level, and only seven wasps (15%) were below 0.179. The low standard error (0.002) suggests that S. convallis is the most ideal flying predator so far examined in this respect. Preying on a single species may have allowed stabilizing selection to adjust the morphology of females to a nearly ideal size. That the loaded FMR is slightly above the marginal level may provide a small safety factor for wasps that do not have optimal thorax temperatures or that have to contend with attempted prey theft. Operational FMR was directly related to wasp body mass. Smaller wasps were overloaded in spite of provisioning with smaller cicadas, while larger wasps were underloaded despite provisioning with larger cicadas. Small wasps may have abandoned larger cicadas because of difficulty with carriage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
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Open AccessArticle Phylogenetic Analysis of Fusarium solani Associated with the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis
Insects 2012, 3(1), 141-160; doi:10.3390/insects3010141
Received: 21 December 2011 / Revised: 1 February 2012 / Accepted: 8 February 2012 / Published: 10 February 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (423 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Culture-independent analysis of the gut of a wood-boring insect, Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), revealed a consistent association between members of the fungal Fusarium solani species complex and the larval stage of both colony-derived and wild A. glabripennis populations. Using the translation elongation [...] Read more.
Culture-independent analysis of the gut of a wood-boring insect, Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), revealed a consistent association between members of the fungal Fusarium solani species complex and the larval stage of both colony-derived and wild A. glabripennis populations. Using the translation elongation factor 1-alpha region for culture-independent phylogenetic and operational taxonomic unit (OTU)-based analyses, only two OTUs were detected, suggesting that genetic variance at this locus was low among A. glabripennis-associated isolates. To better survey the genetic variation of F. solani associated with A. glabripennis, and establish its phylogenetic relationship with other members of the F. solani species complex, single spore isolates were created from different populations and multi-locus phylogenetic analysis was performed using a combination of the translation elongation factor alpha-1, internal transcribed spacer, and large subunit rDNA regions. These analyses revealed that colony-derived larvae reared in three different tree species or on artificial diet, as well as larvae from wild populations collected from three additional tree species in New York City and from a single tree species in Worcester, MA, consistently harbored F. solani within their guts. While there is some genetic variation in the F. solani carried between populations, within-population variation is low. We speculate that F. solani is able to fill a broad niche in the A. glabripennis gut, providing it with fungal lignocellulases to allow the larvae to grow and develop on woody tissue. However, it is likely that many F. solani genotypes could potentially fill this niche, so the relationship may not be limited to a single member of the F. solani species complex. While little is known about the role of filamentous fungi and their symbiotic associations with insects, this report suggests that larval A. glabripennis has developed an intimate relationship with F. solani that is not limited by geographic location or host tree. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessArticle Generation of Nutrients and Detoxification: Possible Roles of Yeasts in Leaf-Cutting Ant Nests
Insects 2012, 3(1), 228-245; doi:10.3390/insects3010228
Received: 14 January 2012 / Revised: 12 February 2012 / Accepted: 13 February 2012 / Published: 17 February 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The possible roles played by yeasts in attine ant nests are mostly unknown. Here we present our investigations on the plant polysaccharide degradation profile of 82 yeasts isolated from fungus gardens of Atta and Acromyrmex species to demonstrate that yeasts found in [...] Read more.
The possible roles played by yeasts in attine ant nests are mostly unknown. Here we present our investigations on the plant polysaccharide degradation profile of 82 yeasts isolated from fungus gardens of Atta and Acromyrmex species to demonstrate that yeasts found in ant nests may play the role of making nutrients readily available throughout the garden and detoxification of compounds that may be deleterious to the ants and their fungal cultivar. Among the yeasts screened, 65% exhibited cellulolytic enzymes, 44% exhibited pectinolytic activity while 27% and 17% possess enzyme systems for the degradation of protease and amylase, respectively. Galacturonic acid, which had been reported in previous work to be poorly assimilated by the ant fungus and also to have a negative effect on ants’ survival, was assimilated by 64% and 79% of yeasts isolated from nests of A. texana and Acromyrmex respectively. Our results suggest that yeasts found in ant nests may participate in generation of nutrients and removal of potentially toxic compounds, thereby contributing to the stability of the complex microbiota found in the leaf-cutting ant nests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessArticle Distribution of the Primary Endosymbiont (Candidatus Uzinura Diaspidicola) Within Host Insects from the Scale Insect Family Diaspididae
Insects 2012, 3(1), 262-269; doi:10.3390/insects3010262
Received: 29 December 2011 / Revised: 15 February 2012 / Accepted: 20 February 2012 / Published: 29 February 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It has long been known that armored scale insects harbor endosymbiotic bacteria inside specialized cells called bacteriocytes. Originally, these endosymbionts were thought to be fungal symbionts but they are now known to be bacterial and have been named Uzinura diaspidicola. Bacteriocyte and [...] Read more.
It has long been known that armored scale insects harbor endosymbiotic bacteria inside specialized cells called bacteriocytes. Originally, these endosymbionts were thought to be fungal symbionts but they are now known to be bacterial and have been named Uzinura diaspidicola. Bacteriocyte and endosymbiont distribution patterns within host insects were visualized using in situ hybridization via 16S rRNA specific probes. Images of scale insect embryos, eggs and adult scale insects show patterns of localized bacteriocytes in embryos and randomly distributed bacteriocytes in adults. The symbiont pocket was not found in the armored scale insect eggs that were tested. The pattern of dispersed bacteriocytes in adult scale insects suggest that Uzinura and Blattabacteria may share some homologous traits that coincide with similar life style requirements, such as dispersal in fat bodies and uric acid recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessCommunication Fungiculture or Termite Husbandry? The Ruminant Hypothesis
Insects 2012, 3(1), 307-323; doi:10.3390/insects3010307
Received: 5 January 2012 / Revised: 3 March 2012 / Accepted: 7 March 2012 / Published: 16 March 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a new perspective for the role of Termitomyces fungi in the mutualism with fungus-growing termites. According to the predominant view, this mutualism is as an example of agriculture with termites as farmers of a domesticated fungus crop, which is used [...] Read more.
We present a new perspective for the role of Termitomyces fungi in the mutualism with fungus-growing termites. According to the predominant view, this mutualism is as an example of agriculture with termites as farmers of a domesticated fungus crop, which is used for degradation of plant-material and production of fungal biomass. However, a detailed study of the literature indicates that the termites might as well be envisioned as domesticates of the fungus. According to the “ruminant hypothesis” proposed here, termite workers, by consuming asexual fruiting bodies not only harvest asexual spores, but also lignocellulolytic enzymes, which they mix with foraged plant material and enzymes of termite and possibly bacterial origin. This mixture is the building material of the fungus garden and facilitates efficient degradation of plant material. The fungus garden thus functions as an external rumen for termites and primarily the fungi themselves benefit from their own, and gut-derived, lignocellulolytic enzymes, using the termites to efficiently mix these with their growth substrate. Only secondarily the termites benefit, when they consume the degraded, nitrogen-enriched plant-fungus mixture a second time. We propose that the details of substrate use, and the degree of complementarity and redundancy among enzymes in food processing, determine selection of horizontally transmitted fungal symbionts at the start of a colony: by testing spores on a specific, mechanically and enzymatically pre-treated growth substrate, the termite host has the opportunity to select specific fungal symbionts. Potentially, the gut-microbiota thus influence host-fungus specificity, and the selection of specific fungal strains at the start of a new colony. We argue that we need to expand the current bipartite insect-biased view of the mutualism of fungus-growing termites and include the possible role of bacteria and the benefit for the fungi to fully understand the division of labor among partners in substrate degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Evolutionary Innovation of Nutritional Symbioses in Leaf-Cutter Ants
Insects 2012, 3(1), 41-61; doi:10.3390/insects3010041
Received: 3 December 2011 / Revised: 16 December 2011 / Accepted: 20 December 2011 / Published: 6 January 2012
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (296 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fungus-growing ants gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass through their association with a mutualistic fungus they grow for food. This 50 million-year-old obligate mutualism likely facilitated some of these species becoming dominant Neotropical herbivores that can achieve immense colony sizes. [...] Read more.
Fungus-growing ants gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass through their association with a mutualistic fungus they grow for food. This 50 million-year-old obligate mutualism likely facilitated some of these species becoming dominant Neotropical herbivores that can achieve immense colony sizes. Recent culture-independent investigations have shed light on the conversion of plant biomass into nutrients within ant fungus gardens, revealing that this process involves both the fungal cultivar and a symbiotic community of bacteria including Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pantoea species. Moreover, the genome sequences of the leaf-cutter ants Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior have provided key insights into how this symbiosis has shaped the evolution of these ants at a genetic level. Here we summarize the findings of recent research on the microbial community dynamics within fungus-growing ant fungus gardens and discuss their implications for this ancient symbiosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessReview Polydnaviruses of Parasitic Wasps: Domestication of Viruses To Act as Gene Delivery Vectors
Insects 2012, 3(1), 91-119; doi:10.3390/insects3010091
Received: 22 November 2011 / Revised: 7 January 2012 / Accepted: 16 January 2012 / Published: 31 January 2012
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Symbiosis is a common phenomenon in which associated organisms can cooperate in ways that increase their ability to survive, reproduce, or utilize hostile environments. Here, we discuss polydnavirus symbionts of parasitic wasps. These viruses are novel in two ways: (1) they have [...] Read more.
Symbiosis is a common phenomenon in which associated organisms can cooperate in ways that increase their ability to survive, reproduce, or utilize hostile environments. Here, we discuss polydnavirus symbionts of parasitic wasps. These viruses are novel in two ways: (1) they have become non-autonomous domesticated entities that cannot replicate outside of wasps; and (2) they function as a delivery vector of genes that ensure successful parasitism of host insects that wasps parasitize. In this review we discuss how these novelties may have arisen, which genes are potentially involved, and what the consequences have been for genome evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessReview Insect Sex Determination Manipulated by Their Endosymbionts: Incidences, Mechanisms and Implications
Insects 2012, 3(1), 161-199; doi:10.3390/insects3010161
Received: 25 November 2011 / Revised: 14 January 2012 / Accepted: 2 February 2012 / Published: 10 February 2012
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The sex-determining systems of arthropods are surprisingly diverse. Some species have male or female heterogametic sex chromosomes while other species do not have sex chromosomes. Most species are diploids but some species, including wasps, ants, thrips and mites, are haplodiploids (n in [...] Read more.
The sex-determining systems of arthropods are surprisingly diverse. Some species have male or female heterogametic sex chromosomes while other species do not have sex chromosomes. Most species are diploids but some species, including wasps, ants, thrips and mites, are haplodiploids (n in males; 2n in females). Many of the sexual aberrations, such as sexual mosaics, sex-specific lethality and conversion of sexuality, can be explained by developmental defects including double fertilization of a binucleate egg, loss of a sex chromosome or perturbation of sex-determining gene expression, which occur accidentally or are induced by certain environmental conditions. However, recent studies have revealed that such sexual aberrations can be caused by various groups of vertically-transmitted endosymbiotic microbes such as bacteria of the genera Wolbachia, Rickettsia, Arsenophonus, Spiroplasma and Cardinium, as well as microsporidian protists. In this review, we first summarize the accumulated data on endosymbiont-induced sexual aberrations, and then discuss how such endosymbionts affect the developmental system of their hosts and what kinds of ecological and evolutionary effects these endosymbionts have on their host populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessReview Associations of Conifer-Infesting Bark Beetles and Fungi in Fennoscandia
Insects 2012, 3(1), 200-227; doi:10.3390/insects3010200
Received: 10 January 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2012 / Accepted: 17 January 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (350 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytinae) have a widespread association with fungi, especially with ophiostomatoid fungi (Ascomycota) that cause blue staining of wood, and in some cases, serious tree diseases. In Fennoscandia, most studies of these fungi have focused on economically important bark beetle [...] Read more.
Bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytinae) have a widespread association with fungi, especially with ophiostomatoid fungi (Ascomycota) that cause blue staining of wood, and in some cases, serious tree diseases. In Fennoscandia, most studies of these fungi have focused on economically important bark beetle species and this is likely to have led to a biased view of the fungal biodiversity in the region. Recently, the associations between fungi and bark beetles in Fennoscandia have been shown to be more diverse than previously thought. Furthermore, they form complex and dynamic associations that are only now beginning to emerge. This review examines the current knowledge of the rather poorly known interactions between bark beetles, fungi and their conifer host trees in Fennoscandia. The diversity of ophiostomatoid species is discussed and the possible factors that influence the assemblages of fungal associates are considered for all species that are known to occur in the region. For many ophiostomatoid species found in Fennoscandia, little or nothing is known regarding their pathogenicity, particularly if they were to be transferred to new environments. We, therefore, draw attention to the possible threats of timber trade and climate change-induced invasions of new habitats by bark beetles and the fungi that can be moved along with them. Full article
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Open AccessReview Modification of Insect and Arachnid Behaviours by Vertically Transmitted Endosymbionts: Infections as Drivers of Behavioural Change and Evolutionary Novelty
Insects 2012, 3(1), 246-261; doi:10.3390/insects3010246
Received: 29 January 2012 / Revised: 17 February 2012 / Accepted: 21 February 2012 / Published: 29 February 2012
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (134 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vertically acquired, endosymbiotic bacteria such as those belonging to the Rickettsiales and the Mollicutes are known to influence the biology of their arthropod hosts in order to favour their own transmission. In this study we investigate the influence of such reproductive parasites [...] Read more.
Vertically acquired, endosymbiotic bacteria such as those belonging to the Rickettsiales and the Mollicutes are known to influence the biology of their arthropod hosts in order to favour their own transmission. In this study we investigate the influence of such reproductive parasites on the behavior of their insects and arachnid hosts. We find that changes in host behavior that are associated with endosymbiont infections are not restricted to characteristics that are directly associated with reproduction. Other behavioural traits, such as those involved in intraspecific competition or in dispersal may also be affected. Such behavioural shifts are expected to influence the level of intraspecific variation and the rate at which adaptation can occur through their effects on effective population size and gene flow amongst populations. Symbionts may thus influence both levels of polymorphism within species and the rate at which diversification can occur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
Open AccessReview Phylogeography of Saproxylic and Forest Floor Invertebrates from Tallaganda, South-eastern Australia
Insects 2012, 3(1), 270-294; doi:10.3390/insects3010270
Received: 3 January 2012 / Revised: 21 February 2012 / Accepted: 22 February 2012 / Published: 29 February 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (917 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The interaction between physiogeographic landscape context and certain life history characteristics, particularly dispersal ability, can generate predictable outcomes for how species responded to Pleistocene (and earlier) climatic changes. Furthermore, the extent to which impacts of past landscape-level changes ‘scale-up’ to whole communities [...] Read more.
The interaction between physiogeographic landscape context and certain life history characteristics, particularly dispersal ability, can generate predictable outcomes for how species responded to Pleistocene (and earlier) climatic changes. Furthermore, the extent to which impacts of past landscape-level changes ‘scale-up’ to whole communities has begun to be addressed via comparative phylogeographic analyses of co-distributed species. Here we present an overview of a body of research on flightless low-mobility forest invertebrates, focusing on two springtails and two terrestrial flatworms, from Tallaganda on the Great Dividing Range of south-eastern Australia. These species are distantly-related, and represent contrasting trophic levels (i.e., slime-mold-grazers vs. higher-level predators). However, they share an association with the dead wood (saproxylic) habitat. Spatial patterns of intraspecific genetic diversity partly conform to topography-based divisions that circumscribe five ‘microgeographic regions’ at Tallaganda. In synthesizing population processes and past events that generated contemporary spatial patterns of genetic diversity in these forest floor invertebrates, we highlight cases of phylogeographic congruence, pseudo-congruence, and incongruence. Finally, we propose conservation-oriented recommendations for the prioritisation of areas for protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogeographic Syntheses)
Open AccessReview Selective Capture of Transcribed Sequences: A Promising Approach for Investigating Bacterium-Insect Interactions
Insects 2012, 3(1), 295-306; doi:10.3390/insects3010295
Received: 14 December 2011 / Revised: 17 February 2012 / Accepted: 21 February 2012 / Published: 2 March 2012
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Abstract
Bacterial interactions with eukaryotic hosts are complex processes which vary from pathogenic to mutualistic. Identification of bacterial genes differentially expressed in the host, promises to unravel molecular mechanisms driving and maintaining such interactions. Several techniques have been developed in the past 20 [...] Read more.
Bacterial interactions with eukaryotic hosts are complex processes which vary from pathogenic to mutualistic. Identification of bacterial genes differentially expressed in the host, promises to unravel molecular mechanisms driving and maintaining such interactions. Several techniques have been developed in the past 20 years to investigate bacterial gene expression within their hosts. The most commonly used techniques include in-vivo expression technology, signature-tagged mutagenesis, differential fluorescence induction, and cDNA microarrays. However, the limitations of these techniques in analyzing bacterial in-vivo gene expression indicate the need to develop alternative tools. With many advantages over the other methods for analyzing bacterial in-vivo gene expression, selective capture of transcribed sequences (SCOTS) technique has the prospect of becoming an elegant tool for discovery of genes involved in the bacterium-host interaction. Here, we summarize the advances in SCOTS technique, including its current and potential applications in bacterial gene expression studies under a variety of conditions from in-vitro to in-vivo and from mammals to insects. Full article
Open AccessReview Molecular Mechanisms of Transcription Activation by Juvenile Hormone: A Critical Role for bHLH-PAS and Nuclear Receptor Proteins
Insects 2012, 3(1), 324-338; doi:10.3390/insects3010324
Received: 21 February 2012 / Revised: 15 March 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 22 March 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (280 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Juvenile hormone (JH) is responsible for controlling many biological processes. In several insect species JH has been implicated as a key regulator of developmental timing, preventing the premature onset of metamorphosis during larval growth periods. However, the molecular basis of JH action [...] Read more.
Juvenile hormone (JH) is responsible for controlling many biological processes. In several insect species JH has been implicated as a key regulator of developmental timing, preventing the premature onset of metamorphosis during larval growth periods. However, the molecular basis of JH action is not well-understood. In this review, we highlight recent advances which demonstrate the importance of transcription factors from the bHLH-PAS and nuclear receptor families in mediating the response to JH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
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Open AccessReview Ecological and Evolutionary Determinants of Bark Beetle —Fungus Symbioses
Insects 2012, 3(1), 339-366; doi:10.3390/insects3010339
Received: 16 February 2012 / Revised: 1 March 2012 / Accepted: 15 March 2012 / Published: 22 March 2012
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Abstract
Ectosymbioses among bark beetles (Curculionidae, Scolytinae) and fungi (primarily ophiostomatoid Ascomycetes) are widespread and diverse. Associations range from mutualistic to commensal, and from facultative to obligate. Some fungi are highly specific and associated only with a single beetle species, while others can [...] Read more.
Ectosymbioses among bark beetles (Curculionidae, Scolytinae) and fungi (primarily ophiostomatoid Ascomycetes) are widespread and diverse. Associations range from mutualistic to commensal, and from facultative to obligate. Some fungi are highly specific and associated only with a single beetle species, while others can be associated with many. In addition, most of these symbioses are multipartite, with the host beetle associated with two or more consistent partners. Mycangia, structures of the beetle integument that function in fungal transport, have evolved numerous times in the Scolytinae. The evolution of such complex, specialized structures indicates a high degree of mutual dependence among the beetles and their fungal partners. Unfortunately, the processes that shaped current day beetle-fungus symbioses remain poorly understood. Phylogeny, the degree and type of dependence on partners, mode of transmission of symbionts (vertical vs. horizontal), effects of the abiotic environment, and interactions among symbionts themselves or with other members of the biotic community, all play important roles in determining the composition, fidelity, and longevity of associations between beetles and their fungal associates. In this review, I provide an overview of these associations and discuss how evolution and ecological processes acted in concert to shape these fascinating, complex symbioses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)

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Open AccessCorrection Correction: Lim and Forschler, Reticulitermes nelsonae, a New Species of Subterranean Termite (Rhinotermitidae) from the Southeastern United States. Insects 2012, 3, 62-90.
Insects 2012, 3(1), 131-132; doi:10.3390/insects3010131
Received: 1 February 2012 / Accepted: 2 February 2012 / Published: 3 February 2012
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Abstract
Following publication of our article [1], we found errors in Table 4b. These errors do not make any difference to the main findings and conclusions reported in our paper. The numbers in the column for the range of mean ± 1 standard [...] Read more.
Following publication of our article [1], we found errors in Table 4b. These errors do not make any difference to the main findings and conclusions reported in our paper. The numbers in the column for the range of mean ± 1 standard deviation for hind wings were incorrect. We wish to apologize for the mistake made and inconveniences caused. [...] Full article

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