Saturday, March 31, 2007

Apropos of metoosters

It is thrilling to read of the celebrated Bonnet (1) of Geneva (who discovered parthenogenesis in animals) watching a plant louse from four o’clock in the morning until seven in the evening, or of the superhuman labours of Swammerdam, who ransacked earth, air, and water for insects, and who often spent whole days in cleaning the fat from a single caterpillar in order to be better able to study its anatomy. ~ Barbellionblog.


Aphids have been known to have what is called telescoping generations. With telescoping generations the female aphid will have a daughter within her who is already parthenogenetically producing its own daughter at the same time. This leads to the bizarre situation where the diet of a female aphid can have inter-generational effects on the body size and birth rate of aphids. In other words, what the aphid eats can directly change the size and fertility of the aphid's daughters and grand-daughters (Nevo and Coll 2001, Jahn et al. 2005).


(1) In 1760 he described a condition now called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, in which vivid, complex visual hallucinations (1a) (fictive visual percepts) occur in psychologically normal people.
(1a) One characteristic of these hallucinations is that they usually are "lilliput hallucinations" (hallucinations in which the characters or objects are smaller than in reality).

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