Diving beetle mating, new research


This video says about itself:

Spotted Diving Beetles, Victoria Bug Zoo, March 2013

Spotted diving beetles, also known as sunburst diving beetles, sometimes carry their own oxygen supply in air bubbles when they dive. Their bright yellow spots also supposedly warn other animals that they taste bad. Their natural habitat is in fresh water pools around Mexico and the southwestern US.

From the BBC:

11 June 2014 Last updated at 02:05 GMT

Diving beetle‘s sticky underwater mating secret

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Scientists in Taiwan have revealed how a diving beetle hangs on to its mate underwater.

The micro-scale study revealed how bristles on male beetles’ legs attach to females.

Tiny suckers on these bristles stick to the females’ bodies.

As well as shedding light on evolution at the very tiny scale, understanding this could inspire the design of devices for underwater attachment in engineering.

The results are published in the Royal Society journal Interface.

The team, led by Dr Kai-Jung Chi from National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, directly measured the gripping force of the “attachment devices” on the leg bristles of two diving beetle species.

Microscopic images reveal that one of the species they studied – a more primitive insect – has a spatula-like attachment.

The other has evolved circular suckers on the end of each leg bristle, which look like a microscopic plungers.

While these tiny plungers created a stronger attachment, the more primitive bristles had some sticky, aquatic secrets.

Tiny channels between the hairs in the more primitive beetle appear to produce a sort of glue.

And, as grisly as it may sound, the fact that these bristles form a weaker attachment and can move around on the female’s body more freely means that the male beetle is able to “resist the female’s erratic swimming movements”, which she may employ to dislodge an unwanted suitor.

The researchers conclude that their mechanical experiments show that the “later-evolved suction-cup-shaped circular” bristles give male diving beetles a mating advantage.

And all of this detailed insight into aquatic copulation may inspire a future “underwater Velcro“.

About these ads

One thought on “Diving beetle mating, new research

  1. Pingback: White beetles reflecting light, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s