Fevered Amorousness in Advance of Stormy Weather, in a Bug

An impending storm provokes sexual frenzy (of a sort) in the the curcurbit beetle, suggests this new study:

ana_cristina“Weather Forecasting by Insects: Modified Sexual Behaviour in Response to Atmospheric Pressure Changes,” Ana Cristina Pellegrino [pictured here], Maria Fernanda Gomes Villalba Penaflor, Cristiane Nardi, Wayne Bezner-Kerr, Christopher G. Guglielmo, Jose Maurıcio Simoes Bento, Jeremy N. McNeil, PLoS ONE, 2013. (Thanks to Tom Whipple for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Universidade Estadual do Centro-Oeste (UNICENTRO), Brazil, and the University of Western Ontario, Canada, report:

“There is some evidence that insects adjust their behaviours associated with flight, mating and foraging in response to changes in barometric pressure. We studied changes in different mating behaviours of three taxonomically unrelated insects, the curcurbit beetle, Diabrotica speciosa (Coleoptera), the true armyworm moth, Pseudaletia unipuncta (Lepidoptera) and the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Hemiptera), when subjected to natural or experimentally manipulated changes in atmospheric pressure…. it would initially seem somewhat surprising that D. speciosa males actually mated when placed in close proximity (,10 cm) of virgin females under decreasing pressure conditions. However, this modified behaviour could be a response to a perceived reduction in life expectancy.”

Here is graphical detail:


BONUS: Co-author Pellegrino’s thesis, on this subject.

BONUS: Co-author Bezner-Kerr has led trumpeter swans, in the air. As a trike pilot, he is said to be “legendary in the Trike Community, a superb pilot, and just an all around great guy.”