Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Butterflies lose body fat during metamorphosis

22.03.2006


A group of scientists from Oregon have discovered that butterflies experience a great loss in body fat during metamorphosis. The details of their findings appear in the March issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, an American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology journal.



"The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is one on nature’s great mysteries," says William E. Connor of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. "Powerful chemical mediators are necessary to produce this transformation. We hypothesized that considerable energy would be necessary for metamorphosis to occur. It appears as though the larva is sleeping, and one might think that very little energy would be required in hibernation, but the reverse must be true since a great deal of metabolic activity is occurring in the butterfly chrysalis."

Because of this energy expenditure, Connor and his colleagues surmised that butterflies experience a great loss in body fat during metamorphosis. Using the Blue Morpho butterfly from the Butterfly Farm in Belize, the scientists analyzed the fatty acid composition and content of the butterflies, their diet, and their larva. They were able to do this easily because the larva feed solely on the leaves of the rain forest tree Pterocarpus, on which the butterfly lays its eggs.


On a daily basis, they measured the food consumption of the larva and then analyzed the fatty acid composition and content of the diet as well as the larva. Once the larva had transformed into butterflies, the researchers examined the fatty acid composition and content of the butterfly.

They found that both the diet and the tissues of the larva and butterfly had a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, the larva had a much higher total fatty acid content than the butterfly, indicating that the transformation from larva to butterfly drastically reduced the total fatty acid content.

"We were particularly impressed with how the caterpillar concentrated these polyunsaturated fatty acids and then transferred them to the butterfly," says Connor. "The polyunsaturated fatty acids can act as precursor substances for prostaglandin and other ferments that may be very necessary in the health of both the larva and the butterfly and, in particular, the transformation during metamorphosis. The mantra is that every organism has a specific dietary pattern which is important for its maturation and survival. Human beings are much in the same category."

Hoping to build on these initial findings, Connor and his colleagues are planning on looking at the Monarch butterfly next. Monarch larva feed exclusively on milkweed, and Connor has already started growing milkweed and analyzing it for this purpose. "It has very high polyunsaturated fatty acid composition, much like the leaves in Belize which the Blue Morpho caterpillar feeds on," explains Connor.

Nicole Kresge | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asbmb.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

nachricht Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>