Sunday, 28 April 2019

Love Island: Flamboyant males get the girls on Madagascar


In two new species of rare giant stick insects, males turn livid blue or multicolored at sexual maturity -- but why?
Date:  April 2, 2019
Source:  Frontiers
Biodiversity hotspot Madagascar is one of the world's biggest islands, and home to some of its biggest insects. Now German scientists have discovered two new species of giant stick insect, living only in the dry forests of Madagascar's northernmost tip.
One giant female measures a whopping 24cm -- but it is the smaller males that are most striking. At sexual maturity these daredevils abandon their stick-like camouflage for dazzling blue or many-colored shining armor.
Writing in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the researchers describe their rare and exciting findings, and wonder at the reproductive success of the least stick-like stick insects on the planet.
When two become four
"Nearly all of the 3000+ known species of stick insects try to be inconspicuous and just look like twigs," says senior author Dr. Sven Bradler of the University of Göttingen, Germany. "There are a very few, very large exceptions -- and we have just discovered a couple more of them."


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