Spot the Moth

It’s a well-known story: The peppered moth’s ancestral typica phenotype is white with dark speckles. 

By | May 1, 2012

The peppered moth is so good at blending in with the background that researchers knew little about its behavior in the wild for decades. Can you spot the light-colored typica moth against the lichen filled tree bark?

The peppered moth is so good at blending in with the background that researchers knew little about its behavior in the wild for decades. Can you spot the light-colored typica moth against the lichen filled tree bark?

MICHAEL MAJERUS

Spot the Moth Image Gallery

It’s a well-known story: The peppered moth’s ancestral typica phenotype is white with dark speckles. In the decades following the Industrial Revolution, a new, soot-colored form, known as carbonaria, flourished and displaced the typica moths in the heavily polluted woodlands of Europe. Although scientists hypothesized as early as 1896 that the increase in carbonaria frequency could be explained simply by the fact that soot-covered tree barks camouflaged the dark-colored moths against predation by birds, it wasn’t until the 1950s that an Oxford University lepidopterist named Bernard Kettlewell performed the key experiments that provided persuasive evidence that bird predation was indeed the selective agent at work. But criticism of Kettlewell's experiments at the turn of the 21st century threatened to strip the peppered moth's iconic status as a textbook example of evolution.

Read the full story.

[gallery]

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Thousands of Mutations Accumulate in the Human Brain Over a Lifetime
  2. Two Dozen House Republicans Do an About-Face on Tuition Tax
  3. Can Young Stem Cells Make Older People Stronger?
  4. Putative Gay Genes Identified, Questioned
    The Nutshell Putative Gay Genes Identified, Questioned

    A genomic interrogation of homosexuality turns up speculative links between genetic elements and sexual orientation, but researchers say the study is too small to be significant. 

FreeShip