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27 juin 2016

Debris-carrying camouflage among diverse lineages of Cretaceous insects [Science Advances]

Insects have evolved diverse methods of camouflage that have played an important role in their evolutionary success. Debris-carrying, a behavior of actively harvesting and carrying exogenous materials, is among the most fascinating and complex behaviors because it requires not only an ability to recognize, collect, and carry materials but also evolutionary adaptations in related morphological characteristics. However, the fossil record of such behavior is extremely scarce, and only a single Mesozoic example from Spanish amber has been recorded ; therefore, little is known about the early evolution of this complicated behavior and its underlying anatomy. We report a diverse insect assemblage of exceptionally preserved debris carriers from Cretaceous Burmese, French, and Lebanese ambers, including the earliest known chrysopoid larvae (green lacewings), myrmeleontoid larvae (split-footed lacewings and owlflies), and reduviids (assassin bugs).(...)

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24 juin 2016

Drosophila females trade off good nutrition with high quality oviposition sites when choosing foods [Journal of Experimental Biology]

Animals, from insects to human, select foods to regulate their acquisition of key nutrients in amounts and balances maximising fitness. In species where the nutrition of juveniles depends on parents, adults must make challenging foraging decisions that simultaneously address their own nutrient needs as well as those of the progeny. Here we examined how fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster, a species where individuals eat and lay eggs in decaying fruits, integrate feeding decisions (individual nutrition) and oviposition decisions (offspring nutrition) when foraging.(...)

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23 juin 2016

Looking beyond the mountain : dispersal barriers in a changing world [Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment]

Julien Cote

Dispersal barriers have demographic, evolutionary, and ecosystem-wide consequences. With ongoing changes in the environment, some dispersal barriers will likely disappear while new ones will appear, and it is crucial to understand these dynamics to forecast species’ distributions and adaptive potential. Here we review recent literature on the ecological and evolutionary aspects of dispersal to highlight key dynamics of dispersal barriers in the face of global change. After defining dispersal barriers, we explain that a better understanding of their dynamics requires identifying the barrier types that are most susceptible to change and predicting species’ responses. This knowledge is a prerequisite for designing management strategies to increase or reduce connectivity, and maintain adaptive potential. Our intent is to motivate researchers to explicitly consider dispersal barriers in order to better forecast the dynamics of species and ecosystems subject to global change.

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23 juin 2016

Honeybee economics : optimisation of foraging in a variable world [Scientific Reports]

In honeybees fast and efficient exploitation of nectar and pollen sources is achieved by persistent endothermy throughout the foraging cycle, which means extremely high energy costs. The need for food promotes maximisation of the intake rate, and the high costs call for energetic optimisation. Experiments on how honeybees resolve this conflict have to consider that foraging takes place in a variable environment concerning microclimate and food quality and availability. Here we report, in simultaneous measurements of energy costs, gains, and intake rate and efficiency, how honeybee foragers manage this challenge in their highly variable environment.(...)

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23 juin 2016

Male care and life history traits in mammals [Nature communications]

Male care has energetic and opportunity costs, and is more likely to evolve when males gain greater certainty of paternity or when future mating opportunities are scarce. However, little is known about the substantial benefits that males may provide to females and offspring. Using phylogenetic comparative methods and a sample of over 500 mammalian species, we show that mammals in which males carry the offspring have shorter lactation periods, which leads to more frequent breeding events.(...)

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