bugs

Alex Wild / http://www.myrmecos.neT

New research from Indiana University scientists shines a light on what makes certain insects male or female. The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Communications, examined what happened when researchers suppressed the so-called “doublesex” master gene, which assigns traits to different sexes of the same species.

IU Scientists Win Prize For 3-D Dung Beetle Image

Dec 8, 2016
Eduardo Zattara/Armin Moczek/Jim Powers/Jonathan Cherry/Matthew Curtis / Indiana University

Biologists studying dung beetles at Indiana University have won an award celebrating a 3-D image illustrating their work.

The researchers' winning picture displays the metamorphosis of an adolescent beetle’s nervous system.

Three scientists were behind the colorful, award-winning image, which last month was declared a winner in the Federation for American Societies for Experimental Biology’s BioArt competition.

Psycho Delia / https://www.flickr.com/photos/24557420@N05/

Indianapolis is enlisting its residents to help count bees, butterflies and other bugs as part of a crowdsourcing science initiative. The “City-Wide Pollinator Count” aims to tell scientists more about where the bees are…and aren’t.

Crowdsourcing data has proved a valuable tool for scientists. Initiatives such as the Great World Wide Star Count and Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Backyard Bird Count catalog information scientists would otherwise never be able to access.

John Flannery / https://www.flickr.com/photos/drphotomoto/

It took 93 people 10 years to complete, but a team led by Purdue University scientists has finally sequenced the deer tick genome, an achievement that may uncover better ways to prevent illnesses such as Lyme Disease.

Ticks transmit a huge number of pathogens and parasites that kill thousands of humans and animals each year. But partly because of its long, complicated genome, the tick is also a somewhat neglected area of study.

  Bugs seem to be one of the biggest nuisances sometimes, especially in the winter months when ladybugs seem to infest our homes.  But these two books shed a more positive light on the intricacies of bug life - this time in print form as compared to the Disney movies we all have seen in the past. Purdue's own Tom Turpin provides short stories describing specific species and their day-to-day lives, while Gilbert Waldbauer describes the close ties bugs have with all parts of the ecosystem (especially, but more indirectly, with humans).

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Termites have long been seen as unique in the animal kingdom – Think about it: how many other species can you name that digest wood? But until a few years ago, it wasn’t affordable to sequence a termite’s entire genome.

Now that the price has come down, Purdue entomology professor Mike Scharf and about 60 colleagues worldwide have developed a gene map and are looking for weak spots in the bugs’ genetic code.

“We can target those particular things in a more efficient way to eventually get better termiticides,” Scharf says.