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The Bed Bug/Parasite Plant Theory

 
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 03:34 pm
Hi. I'm new to the forum and was reading an article about the theories on the origins of blood-sucking parasites: http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/152702/ and one theory suggested:

<<It has also been argued that hematophagy may have arisen in some insect groups from plant feeding insects that had piercing and sucking mouth parts. Such mouth parts are seen in the mouth Calpe eustrigata of family Noctuidae. Most species of this family have piercing proboscis to penetrate fruit rind, but Calpe eutrigata (Vampire moth) use the proboscis to penetrate vertebrate skin to feed on blood. It is likely that the plant-feeding ancestor of modern day blood feeders have developed hematophagy due to the close association with vertebrates.>>

Therefore, my question is: Does anyone know if plant-feeding insects that had proboscis to penetrate fruit rind, and thus had no evolutionary need for a double-stylet proboscis where one stylet would contain complex anti-coagulant chemicals and anesthesia chemicals, could have evolved such a double-stylet proboscis that had complex chemicals in one of their stylets? Also, could such herbivorous insects have evolved CO2 sensors and heat sensors in order to seek out their prey?

Thank you in advance for any help that you might provide me for this.
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TeePee38
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 03:56 pm
@TeePee38,
I also wanted to ask if anyone knew if Calpe eutrigata (the Vampire moth) that was mentioned in the eoearth.org article could possibly one day evolve a double-stylet proboscis where one stylet would contain complex anti-coagulant chemicals and anesthesia chemicals, and CO2 sensors and heat sensors in order to seek out and hunt its prey?
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 07:53 pm
@TeePee38,
This is just conjecture on my part, but somehow I doubt that "plant sucking" evolved into "blood sucking" just because the tools to do it might be similar. I would be more inclined to think that blood consumption developed as a specialized function of carrion eating since the dietary requirements are probably the stronger selective force in that equation.

I was a bit surprised to see that most of the theories involved a co-evolution with mammals as a host when it's already known that many insects get blood from amphibians (which were around much earlier than mammals) and reptiles and even other insects. It seems to me that the opportunities for blood sucking were around long before mammals.
rosborne979
 
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Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2015 07:57 pm
@TeePee38,
Convergent evolution is fairly common, especially when the methodology being exploited is highly rewarding. And the article mentioned that "blood sucking" behavior probably evolved separately at least six times in the Jurassic/Cretaceous. However, specific specializations such as double-stylet and anti-coagulant chemicals and such may be too specific and are probably associated with a specific line of descent.
TeePee38
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2015 08:24 am
@rosborne979,
I tend to agree with what you said about doubting that "plant sucking" evolved into "blood sucking" just because the tools to do it might be similar. Because even though the tools are similar, the plant-sucking proboscis are worlds apart from the blood-sucking proboscis where both proboscises obviously took separate evolutionary paths. Plus, the Vampire Moths' pricking of flesh and sucking of vertebrae blood seems more like an oddity such as the finches of the Galapagos Islands and the Madrilenial Butterflies.

Plus, at this point in our evolution on this planet, I doubt if Vampire Moths, Galapagos Islands Finches or Madrilenial Butterflies could further evolve any other feeding tools or apparatuses to assist them with their newly found eating habits.
TeePee38
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2015 08:55 am
@rosborne979,
Yes, and most likely a line of descent that goes back eons.

Also, I don't know what your religious background is, and no offense to you or anyone else for what I am about to say, but one of the reasons why I started this thread is because I know religious people who will claim that God created every living thing on earth approximately 6000 years ago and that every living thing was created to eat plant food.

However, as the story goes, man fell from God's grace and disrupted the human race and all life on earth, and therefore, when we hear about families these days suffering from bed bug infestations, many religious people believe that this is happening because of man's fall from grace corrupting the animal and insect kingdoms and therefore causing a once benign plant-eating insect(cimex lectularius) to turn into a ruthless blood-sucking parasite.

But I'm sorry, but I just don't see that as having happened... and on so many levels.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2015 07:47 pm
@TeePee38,
TeePee38 wrote:
Plus, at this point in our evolution on this planet, I doubt if Vampire Moths, Galapagos Islands Finches or Madrilenial Butterflies could further evolve any other feeding tools or apparatuses to assist them with their newly found eating habits.
Why do you think that?

Humanity certainly hasn't stopped or even slowed biological evolution on this planet, nor would be ever expect that to happen.

Large scale extinction events are often the trigger for the most rapid evolutionary boosts the planet has ever seen, so if anything, we may be setting the stage for the next evolutionary burst.
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2015 07:50 pm
@TeePee38,
I don't think you'll catch many religious or Creationist types reading this thread. So if that's your intended audience, you're probably going to have to come up with a title that's a lot more inflammatory.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Dec, 2015 08:00 pm
@TeePee38,
Your thread on the evolution of biting insects is an interesting one, mostly because I never really thought about it much before.

But here are a couple of other threads along the evolutionary line which you might have some fun with...

http://able2know.org/topic/18917-1
http://able2know.org/topic/40902-1
http://able2know.org/topic/83759-1
http://able2know.org/topic/73382-1
http://able2know.org/topic/88389-1
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