Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vampire moth evolution

I missed the appropriate date for this one, but it's interesting anyway.

Vampire Moth Discovered -- Evolution at Work

"A previously unknown population of vampire moths has been found in Siberia. And in a twist worthy of a Halloween horror movie, entomologists say the bloodsuckers may have evolved from a purely fruit-eating species
When the Russian moths were experimentally offered human hands this summer, the insects drilled their hook-and-barb-lined tongues under the skin and sucked blood.
Weird, I'd never heard of these. Watching them drill into that lady's finger by rocking their head is a little unsettling.

That's not what's really interesting here though, and I think the article does a shitty job of explaining what is. Moths that feed on blood have been known for a while and there are at least three other species in the genus Calyptra that do (though there are many that do not) - the difference is that most C. thalictri populations generally only eat fruit. That means that, at some point in the recent past, the moths evolved the ability and inclination to eat animal blood.

Neat! Here's a video of what is presumably a different species in the same genus. I'm posting it mostly for this comment:
"its really his own fault 4 lying out in the open jungle.
No offence but how dumb.
if he wanted 2 avvoid this he shouldnt be sleepin their

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