October 21, 2013

Poorly camouflaged insects can kick off a cascade of ecological impacts, new CU-Boulder study finds

 A California walking stick insect that has evolved to produce individuals with two distinct appearances—an all-green form that camouflages well with broader leaves and a form with a white stripe running down its back that blends better with needle-like leaves—can markedly affect its broader ecological community when the appearance of the bug is mismatched with the plant it’s living on.

The new findings, based on research carried out at the University of Colorado Boulder, illustrate the ability of rapid evolution to cause a cascade of ecological impacts.