Special Issue "Feature Papers 2012"

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A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Brian T. Forschler

Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, 413 Biological Sciences Building, Athens, GA 30602-2603, USA
Interests: termite behavior; field efficacy of termite baits; new chemistries for novel termite control tactics; determination of subterranean termite social structure using agonism, morphological characters, cuticular hydrocarbon analysis and genetic markers

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Myosin Gene Expression and Protein Abundance in Different Castes of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Coptotermes formosanus)
Insects 2012, 3(4), 1190-1199; doi:10.3390/insects3041190
Received: 13 September 2012 / Revised: 6 November 2012 / Accepted: 7 November 2012 / Published: 16 November 2012
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Abstract
The Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is an important worldwide pest, each year causing millions of dollars in structural damage and control costs. Termite colonies are composed of several phenotypically distinct castes. Termites utilize these multiple castes to efficiently perform [...] Read more.
The Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is an important worldwide pest, each year causing millions of dollars in structural damage and control costs. Termite colonies are composed of several phenotypically distinct castes. Termites utilize these multiple castes to efficiently perform unique roles within the colony. During the molting/caste differentiation process, multiple genes are believed to be involved in the massive reorganization of the body plan. The objective of this research was to analyze the muscle gene, myosin, to further understand the role it plays in C. formosanus development. We find that comparing worker vs. solider caste myosin gene expression is up-regulated in the soldier and a myosin antibody-reactive protein suggests changes in splicing. Comparison of body regions of mature soldier and worker castes indicates a greater level of myosin transcript in the heads. The differential expression of this important muscle-related gene is anticipated considering the large amount of body plan reorganization and muscle found in the soldier caste. These results have a direct impact on our understanding of the downstream genes in the caste differentiation process and may lead to new targets for termite control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
Open AccessArticle Neotenic Phenotype and Sex Ratios Provide Insight into Developmental Pathways in Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)
Insects 2012, 3(2), 538-552; doi:10.3390/insects3020538
Received: 16 April 2012 / Revised: 13 May 2012 / Accepted: 14 May 2012 / Published: 4 June 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (153 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several thousand Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) including worker, nymph, soldier, neotenic and alate castes were collected from three pine logs brought into the laboratory on dates five years apart. The neotenics, all nymphoid, were divided into three groups based on the extent of [...] Read more.
Several thousand Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) including worker, nymph, soldier, neotenic and alate castes were collected from three pine logs brought into the laboratory on dates five years apart. The neotenics, all nymphoid, were divided into three groups based on the extent of cuticle pigmentation and termed regular neotenics (RN), black-headed neotenics (BHN) or black neotenics (BN). All castes, from Log A, in 2008, provided a neutral sex ratio except BHN (N = 378) and BN (N = 51) which were exclusively male while the soldiers (N = 466) were female-biased. This information suggests that there is a sex-linked bifurcation along the path for termite development with a male-biased neotenic or female-biased soldier as the choice. In contrast, termites collected in 2004 from Log B provided sex ratios that included a female biased RN (N = 1017), a neutral soldier (N = 258) and male biased BHN (N = 99) and workers (N = 54). Log C, collected in 2009, provided female biased soldiers (N = 32), RNs (N = 18) and BHNs (N = 4) and only male BN (N = 5). Eight laboratory cultures, ranging in age from five to 14 years old, also were sampled and all castes sexed. The census included a 14-year old queen-right colony, an 8-year old polyandrous colony and six colonies provided nymphs and male-biased worker populations. Together these data indicate a flexible caste determination system providing a unique opportunity for a better understanding of the flexible developmental options available in R. flavipes that we discuss relative to the literature on Reticulitermes ontogeny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
Open AccessArticle Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius L.) Population Composition as Determined by Baited Traps
Insects 2012, 3(2), 442-452; doi:10.3390/insects3020442
Received: 17 April 2012 / Revised: 26 April 2012 / Accepted: 27 April 2012 / Published: 30 April 2012
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Abstract
Two established field populations of bed bugs were sampled using host-mimicking traps baited with a combination of CO2, heat and a synthetic kairomone. The proportion of first instar nymphs (between 52% and 78% of all captured insects) was significantly higher than reported [...] Read more.
Two established field populations of bed bugs were sampled using host-mimicking traps baited with a combination of CO2, heat and a synthetic kairomone. The proportion of first instar nymphs (between 52% and 78% of all captured insects) was significantly higher than reported in previous studies, which had employed different sampling methods. The proportion of adults was correspondingly much lower than previously reported, between 5% and 7% of total capture. As many as 120 bed bugs were captured in a single trap in one night; the variation in catches between sampling locations within the same room and between days at the same location indicates that multiple nights of trapping may be required to obtain an accurate representation of population structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
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Open AccessArticle Japanese Interest in “Hotaru” (Fireflies) and “Kabuto-Mushi” (Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles) Corresponds with Seasonality in Visible Abundance
Insects 2012, 3(2), 424-431; doi:10.3390/insects3020424
Received: 17 March 2012 / Revised: 31 March 2012 / Accepted: 2 April 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
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Abstract
Seasonal changes in the popularity of fireflies [usually Genji-fireflies (Luciola cruciata Motschulsky) in Japan] and Japanese rhinoceros beetles [Allomyrina dichotoma (Linne)] were investigated to examine whether contemporary Japanese are interested in visible emergence of these insects as seasonal events. The [...] Read more.
Seasonal changes in the popularity of fireflies [usually Genji-fireflies (Luciola cruciata Motschulsky) in Japan] and Japanese rhinoceros beetles [Allomyrina dichotoma (Linne)] were investigated to examine whether contemporary Japanese are interested in visible emergence of these insects as seasonal events. The popularity of fireflies and Japanese rhinoceros beetles was assessed by the Google search volume of their Japanese names, “Hotaru” and “Kabuto-mushi” in Japanese Katakana script using Google Trends. The search volume index for fireflies and Japanese rhinoceros beetles was distributed across seasons with a clear peak in only particular times of each year from 2004 to 2011. In addition, the seasonal peak of popularity for fireflies occurred at the beginning of June, whereas that for Japanese rhinoceros beetles occurred from the middle of July to the beginning of August. Thus seasonal peak of each species coincided with the peak period of the emergence of each adult stage. These findings indicated that the Japanese are interested in these insects primarily during the time when the two species are most visibly abundant. Although untested, this could suggest that fireflies and Japanese rhinoceros beetles are perceived by the general public as indicators or symbols of summer in Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Three Bed Bug Management Strategies in a Low-Income Apartment Building
Insects 2012, 3(2), 402-409; doi:10.3390/insects3020402
Received: 18 February 2012 / Revised: 22 February 2012 / Accepted: 20 March 2012 / Published: 2 April 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (84 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) infestations are currently controlled by a variety of non-chemical and chemical methods. There have been few studies on the comparative effectiveness of these control techniques. We evaluated three bed bug management strategies in an apartment building: [...] Read more.
Bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) infestations are currently controlled by a variety of non-chemical and chemical methods. There have been few studies on the comparative effectiveness of these control techniques. We evaluated three bed bug management strategies in an apartment building: (1) non-chemical methods only (n = 9); (2) insecticides only (n = 6); and (3) integrated pest management including both non-chemical methods and insecticides (n = 9). The apartments were one-bedroom units occupied by seniors or people with disabilities. Bed bug numbers in each apartment were determined by visual inspection and/or installing intercepting devices under bed and sofa legs. The median (min, max) bed bug counts in the non-chemical methods only, insecticides only, and integrated pest management (IPM) treatment were: 4 (1, 57), 19 (1, 250), and 14 (1, 219), respectively prior to the treatments. The apartments were retreated if found necessary during biweekly to monthly inspections. After 10 weeks, bed bugs were found to be eliminated from 67, 33, and 44% of the apartments in the three treatment groups, respectively. The final (after 10 weeks) median (min, max) bed bug counts in the non-chemical methods only, insecticides only, and IPM treatment were: 0 (0, 134), 11.5 (0, 58), and 1 (0, 38), respectively. There were no significant differences in the speed of bed bug count reduction or the final bed bug counts. Lack of resident cooperation partially contributed to the failure in eliminating bed bugs from some of the apartments. Results of this study suggest that non-chemical methods can effectively eliminate bed bugs in lightly infested apartments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
Open AccessArticle Individual Behavior of Workers of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) on Consecutive Days of Tunnel Construction
Insects 2012, 3(2), 367-377; doi:10.3390/insects3020367
Received: 20 February 2012 / Revised: 1 March 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 23 March 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (290 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the individual behavior of workers of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shirkai, on two consecutive days of tunnel construction. In each trial, a group of 30 termite workers was observed continuously during the first 60 min of construction of a new tunnel on two consecutive days. On each day, an average of 68% of individuals did not participate in tunnel construction, 19% spent < 25 min tunneling, and 13% spent ≥ 25 min tunneling. There were specific individuals that did most of the work in the construction of new tunnels on both days. An individual that spent at least 25 min tunneling on Day 1 was significantly more likely to spend at least 25 min tunneling on Day 2 than individuals that spent < 25 min tunneling on Day 1. When individuals were ranked based on the time spent tunneling on Day 1 and Day 2, there were individuals ranked as one of the top four excavators on both days in three of the four groups. These results indicate that there is evidence of task allocation by termite workers during the construction of a new tunnel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2012)
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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Review

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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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