Researchers have identified a molecular switch that triggers behavioral changes in female insects after mating, a new study in Nature reports. The finding reveals a direct biochemical connection between a peptide in male seminal fluid and female neuronal activity and behavior. "[This] is a crucial step if we are to understand the evolution and maintenance of certain insect behaviors," Marie Herberstein of Macquarie University, who did not participate in the work, told The Scientist. Many animals dramatically change their behavioral patterns at distinct times in their lives. In most species, this occurs during the transition from juvenile to adult, when breeding becomes a priority, but the changes can also take place later. One such later change in insects is a marked flip in female behavior just after she mates. It can be as mundane as the female being no longer interested in breeding or as striking as her needing...

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