Micromoths (2)

Following my last post I went looking for Knopper galls on the oaks near the Old Manse here on Raasay but as usual there were no acorns – so no galls (and yes, I know these are caused by a gall wasp not a moth)  However, in the beech hedge there was a green-island leaf mine:

Phyllonorycter maestingella on Beech

Phyllonorycter maestingella on Fagus sylvatica

I was interested to see that the green-island effect induced by leaf-miners is mediated by bacterial symbionts, at least in the closely related Phyllonorycter blancardella:                            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20356892

“Curing leaf-miners of their symbiotic partner resulted in the absence of green-island formation on leaves, increased compensatory larval feeding and higher insect mortality. Our results suggest that bacteria impact green-island induction through manipulation of cytokinin levels.”

On another note, the 1952 paper referred to in the last post does not appear to have any micromoths in it.


3 Responses to “Micromoths (2)”

  1. Ro Scott Says:

    Wow! That’s really interesting. But how did they get the caterpillars to take the antibiotics???

  2. Stephen Says:

    “Emerging females were kept with males for 3 days in Petri dishes containing either 40 per cent glucose solution, or 1 per cent antibiotic and 40 per cent glucose solution………”
    See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894905/

  3. Stephen Says:

    This one continues the story: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26442762. “we studied the co-occurrence between Wolbachia and the green-island phenotype in 133 moth specimens belonging to 74 species of Lepidoptera including 60 Gracillariidae leaf miners. Using a combination of molecular phylogenies and ecological data (occurrence of green-islands), we show that the acquisitions of the green-island phenotype and Wolbachia infections have been associated through the evolutionary diversification of Gracillariidae. We also found intraspecific variability in both green-island formation and Wolbachia infection, with some species being able to form green-islands without being infected by Wolbachia.”

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