HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Ancient trans-Atlantic swarm brought locusts to the New World

Somewhere between three and five million years ago, a massive swarm of locusts took off from the west coast of Africa and made an unlikely voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to colonize the New World, says an international team of researchers.

Using genetic evidence from more than 20 species of locusts, scientists from the Universities of Toronto, Arizona, Maryland, Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have answered a long-standing conundrum: why are the closest relatives of the African desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) found in the New World, rather than Africa? The desert locust is one of the world's most economically important insects, and is capable of forming massive swarms that devastate crops.

DNA shows that ancestors of the desert locust flew across the Atlantic and gave rise to a diverse group of New World species. "If we were standing on the coast of Africa, we might have these swarms of locusts heading off across the Atlantic," says Nathan Lovejoy, an assistant professor of in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, who led the research along with Sean Mullen, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland.

How the locusts made the trans-Atlantic flight is unclear, since the insects don't have enough fat to power a trip lasting several days. "One unlikely hypothesis is that while the locusts were flying across, as their brethren died and landed in the ocean, they formed huge floating mats of dead locusts," says Lovejoy. "The other locusts would land on these mats, rest and feed on the dead bodies, then take off and keep flying." Another possibility is that among the millions of swarming locusts were a few exceptional insects that somehow managed to survive the flight. Lovejoy adds that high-altitude winds would have been essential for the swarm's flight. There is a modern-day example of this phenomenon -- in October 1998, a swarm of desert locusts crossed the
'"/>

Contact: Nicolle Wahl
nicolle.wahl@utoronto.ca
416-978-6974
University of Toronto
21-Dec-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Ancient retrovirus sheds light on modern pandemic
2. Ancient Etruscans were immigrants from Anatolia, or what is now Turkey
3. Ancient DNA traces the woolly mammoths disappearance
4. Ancient amphibians evolved a bite before migrating to dry land
5. Ancient T. rex and mastodon protein fragments discovered, sequenced
6. Ancient coral reef tells the history of Kenyas soil erosion
7. Ancient genes used to produce salt-tolerant wheat
8. Ancient climate change may portend toasty future
9. Ancient ape ruled out of mans ancestral line
10. Ancient predator had strongest bite of any fish, rivaling bite of large alligators and T. rex
11. Ancient birds flew on all-fours

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/29/2019)... ... , ... Lajollacooks4u has expanded its team as it gears up for a ... seen record growth in 2019, having hosted a multitude of team-building events and cooking ... visited the company’s La Jolla-based venue, and Lajollacooks4u has worked hard to accommodate the ...
(Date:8/27/2019)... Fla. (PRWEB) , ... August 27, 2019 , ... ... in life science and drug development. This episode is scheduled to broadcast 4Q/2019. ... explore Debiopharm, a biopharmaceutical research, development, investment and manufacturing company. The show will ...
(Date:8/21/2019)... ... August 20, 2019 , ... Cutting Edge ... for the spine, today announced the 510(K) clearance of its novel SI joint ... is proven to improve osseointegration through superior hydrophilicity and optimized surface chemistry, as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/4/2019)... , ... September 03, 2019 ... ... of advanced delivery technologies, development, and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, gene ... Science & Technology will present at the upcoming Nordic Life Science Days ...
(Date:8/27/2019)... ... 27, 2019 , ... Dr. Kim Carlson is a veterinary surgeon practicing in ... Surgical Group , a new surgical practice in San Mateo. She is currently ... more veterinary specialists as the practice grows. , When asked about the opening of ...
(Date:8/15/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2019 , ... ... Scientific Advisory Board. Mr. Lawrence is a member of the Institute of Food ... Safety and Health (IFSH) Advisory Board, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... ... August 06, 2019 , ... The San Diego Biotechnology ... the biweekly SDBN BUZZ podcast focused on connecting the region’s biotech community and ... to promote the region and attract external employers, investors, scientists, and others who ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: