Matching Items (4)

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Population and colony structure and morphometrics in the queen dimorphic little black ant, Monomorium sp. AZ-02, with a review of queen phenotypes in the genus Monomorium

Description

The North American little black ant, Monomorium sp. AZ-02 (subfamily Myrmicinae), displays a dimorphism that consists of alate (winged) and ergatoid (wingless) queens. Surveys at our field site in southcentral

The North American little black ant, Monomorium sp. AZ-02 (subfamily Myrmicinae), displays a dimorphism that consists of alate (winged) and ergatoid (wingless) queens. Surveys at our field site in southcentral Arizona, USA, demonstrated that only one queen phenotype (alate or ergatoid) occurred in each colony during the season in which reproductive sexuals were produced. A morphometric analysis demonstrated that ergatoid queens retained all specialized anatomical features of alate queens (except for wings), and that they were significantly smaller and had a lower mass than alate queens. Using eight morphological characters, a discriminant analysis correctly categorized all queens (40 of 40) of both phenotypes. A molecular phylogeny using 420 base pairs of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase I demonstrated that alate and ergatoid queens are two alternative phenotypes within the species; both phenotypes were intermixed on our phylogeny, and both phenotypes often displayed the same haplotype. A survey of the genus Monomorium (358 species) found that wingless queens (ergatoid queens, brachypterous queens) occur in 42 of 137 species (30.6%) in which the queen has been described. These wingless queen species are geographically and taxonomically widespread as they occur on several continents and in eight species groups, suggesting that winglessness probably arose independently on many occasions in the genus.

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Date Created
  • 2017-07-17

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The Effects of Nitrogen Fertilization of Wheatgrass on the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata)

Description

Locusts are a major crop pest in many parts of the world and different species are endemic to different countries. In Latin America, the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata) is

Locusts are a major crop pest in many parts of the world and different species are endemic to different countries. In Latin America, the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata) is the predominant species found mostly in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil with Argentina being the most affected. Several control and management practices, including biological control, have been implemented in these countries in the past to control the locusts and reduce their impact on crop and vegetation, however, effective long-term control and management practices will require a detail understanding of how the predominant locust species in this region responds to resource variation. Research has shown that there is strong evidence that locusts, and many other organisms, will actively balance dietary macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and lipids) to optimize growth, survival, and/or reproduction. A study by Cease et. al, 2017, on the dietary preferences of the Mongolian locust (Oedaleus asiaticus) showed that it prefers diets that are high in carbohydrates over diets that are high in protein, in this case locusts self-selected a 1:2 ratio of protein:carbohydrate. This and many other studies provide vital insight into the nutritional and feeding preferences of these locust species but the effects that this difference in protein: carbohydrate preferences has on growth, egg production, flight potential, and survival has yet to be fully explored, hence, this study investigates the effects that nitrogen fertilization of wheatgrass will have on the growth, egg production, survival, and flight muscle mass of the South American locust in a controlled, laboratory environment.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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What drives host plant choice? Linking Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera) host plant preference to water content, leaf thickness, and plant nutrient content

Description

Host plant choice by herbivorous insects can be driven by a variety of factors including plant nutrient composition and mechanical properties. In this study, I investigated the role of plant

Host plant choice by herbivorous insects can be driven by a variety of factors including plant nutrient composition and mechanical properties. In this study, I investigated the role of plant protein and carbohydrate composition, water content, and leaf thickness on plant preference for the Australian Plague Locust (Chortoicetes terminifera). For this, I used four economically important cereal crop species: barley Hordeum vulgare, wheat Triticum aestivum L., rye Secale cereale, and corn Zea mays. Using a full factorial design, I gave the choice to the locusts between two plant species then I measured 1) visual preference by pairing, 2) surface area consumed, and 3) dry mass consumed. For each leaf, I measured protein content, carbohydrate content, foliar wet mass, and Specific Leaf Area (SLA, a measure of plant thickness). I found plant nutrient content was not a good predictor of host plant choice in the short term, however, leaf thickness had a significant relationship with dry amount of leaf consumed and defoliation. Overall locusts preferred plants that were thinner. I discuss these results in light of our current knowledge of the nutritional ecology of this important cereal crop pest.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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The Metagenomic Analysis of the Gut Microbiome of the South American Locust (Schistocerca cancellata)

Description

Locusts are generalist herbivores meaning that they are able to consume a variety of plants. Because of their broad diet, and ability to respond rapidly to a favorable environment with

Locusts are generalist herbivores meaning that they are able to consume a variety of plants. Because of their broad diet, and ability to respond rapidly to a favorable environment with giant swarms of voracious insects, they are dangerous pests. Their potential impacts on humans increase dramatically when individuals switch from their solitarious phase to their gregarious phase where they congregate and begin marching and eventually swarming together. These swarms, often billions strong, can consume the vegetation of enormous swaths of land and can travel hundreds of kilometers in a single day producing a complex threat to food security. To better understand the biology of these important pests we explored the gut microbiome of the South American locust (Schistocerca cancellata). We hypothesized generally that the gut microbiome in this species would be critically important as has been shown in many other species. We extracted and homogenized entire guts from male S. cancellata, and then extracted gut microbiome genomic DNA. Genomic DNA was then confirmed on a gel. The initial extractions were of poor quality for sequencing, but subsequent extractions performed by collaborators during troubleshooting at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville proved more useful and were used for PCR. This resulted in the detections of the following bacterial genera in the gut of S. cancellata: Enterobacter, Enterococcus, Serratia, Pseudomonas, Actinobacter, and Weisella. With this data, we are able to speculate about the physiological roles that they hold within the locust gut generating hypotheses for further testing. Understanding the microbial composition of this species’ gut may help us better understand the locust in general in an effort to more sustainably manage them.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05