Research Publication Title

Co-evolution of Sensory Systems in Divergent Insects: Smoky Winged Beetle Bandit and Emerald Ash Borer

Major

Biology

Faculty Mentor(s)

Nathan P Lord

Keywords

entymology, emerald ash borer, wasp, biology, co-evolution

Abstract

The invasive species Agrilus planipennis (Emerald Ash Borer; EAB) presents a major threat to the ecological health of United States forests, specifically those of the east coast. This species of beetle, introduced from China, bores into the bark of ash trees, eventually causing their death. It has been observed that these beetles are preyed upon by a solitary wasp, Cerceris fumipennis, also known as the “Smoky Winged Beetle Bandit.” This wasp is known to prey on exclusively on one family of beetles (Buprestidae; jewel beetles), however, it is not fully understood why these wasps are choosing to attack this family (including EAB) specifically. We hypothesize that the wasps’ preference for jewel beetles may in part be a result of the beetle’s anatomy. More specifically, the centralized nervous systems of members of Buprestidae may lessen the wasp’s challenge of the paralyzing their prey. Here we investigate the distribution of nerve ganglia of these beetles, and provide a review of what is currently known about Cerceris wasps and prey selection. This serves as the foundation of future studies on the co-evolution of visual and chemosensory systems of two highly divergent insect lineages.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Co-evolution of Sensory Systems in Divergent Insects: Smoky Winged Beetle Bandit and Emerald Ash Borer

The invasive species Agrilus planipennis (Emerald Ash Borer; EAB) presents a major threat to the ecological health of United States forests, specifically those of the east coast. This species of beetle, introduced from China, bores into the bark of ash trees, eventually causing their death. It has been observed that these beetles are preyed upon by a solitary wasp, Cerceris fumipennis, also known as the “Smoky Winged Beetle Bandit.” This wasp is known to prey on exclusively on one family of beetles (Buprestidae; jewel beetles), however, it is not fully understood why these wasps are choosing to attack this family (including EAB) specifically. We hypothesize that the wasps’ preference for jewel beetles may in part be a result of the beetle’s anatomy. More specifically, the centralized nervous systems of members of Buprestidae may lessen the wasp’s challenge of the paralyzing their prey. Here we investigate the distribution of nerve ganglia of these beetles, and provide a review of what is currently known about Cerceris wasps and prey selection. This serves as the foundation of future studies on the co-evolution of visual and chemosensory systems of two highly divergent insect lineages.