Male Moth's Sperm Protects Females

on of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell, with carrying out the outdoor moth-spider tests. Also a wife-and-husband team, Rossini and González are graduate students in that department. The study appears in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) journal as "Sexually Transmitted Chemical Defense in a Moth (Utetheisa ornatrix)." It was supported in part by a National Institutes of Health grant and by Johnson & Johnson Fellowships in Chemical Ecology to Rossini and González.

Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.

-- PNAS journal online: http://www.pnas.org/

-- Cornell Institute for Research in Chemical Ecology: http://www.cfe.cornell.e du/circe/aboutcirce.html

Ornatrix Tricks

Five Fun Facts about a Bad-tasting Moth

(Source: Cornell University Section of Neurobiology and Behavior)

  • Not a pest: As a chemically laden insect most predators can't eat, it's a good thing Utetheisa ornatrix is not an agricultural nuisance. The rattlebox moth, also known as the ornate moth for its elaborate pink-white-black color scheme, dines exclusively on leaves of the rattlebox plant, Crotalaria mucronata, (so named because beans in the dried pods make good rattles) and a related legume, C. spectabilis, that was introduced to Florida as a possible source of cattle fodder. But C. spectabilis turned out to contain nearly as much pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) as the rattlebox and cattle wouldn't eat it. Both plant varieties are regarded as weeds and are in no danger of extinction from munching moth larvae.

  • Not a record: Once rattlebox m

Contact: Roger Segelken
Cornell University News Service

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