×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Volcano May Have Killed Off New Bioluminescent Cockroach

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the shine-on-you-crazy-beetle dept.

Science 108

terrancem writes "A newly discovered light-producing cockroach, Lucihormetica luckae, may have already been driven to extinction by a volcanic eruption in Ecuador. The species, only formally described by scientists this year, hasn't been spotted since the Tungurahua Volcano erupted in July 2010. The new species was notable because it represented the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal. Like a venomless king snake beating its tail to copy the unmistakable warning of a rattlesnake, Lucihormetica luckae's bioluminescent patterns are nearly identical to the poisonous click beetle, with which it shares (or shared) its habitat."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

108 comments

No true cockroach... (5, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989639)

could be killed off by a puny volcano!

Re:No true cockroach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989669)

Too right. They've probably just temporarily switched off their lights to go into hide mode.

Re:No true cockroach... (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989801)

could be killed off by a puny volcano!

They probably have set it off themselves.

Re:No true cockroach... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989835)

Doesn't sound like they were so luckae... *rimshot*

Re:No true cockroach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989889)

Wasn't that the name of Ernest P. Worrell's dog?

Re:No true cockroach... (3, Informative)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990103)

Ernest's first dog was "Shorty" and his second dog was "Rimshot". I think you have in mind the old missing dog flyer:
Missing: One-eyed, three legged dog. No tail, recently castrated, answers to the name "Lucky".

They didn't die off.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41992929)

...the roaches just found a better predator to emulate... ...us....

Re:No true cockroach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990011)

They Look Like Rocks...Possess A High Intelligence...Have No Eyes...And Eat Ashes...They Travel In Your Car Exhaust...They Make Fire...They Kill. [imdb.com]

Re:No true cockroach... (-1, Offtopic)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990333)

If they can be killed off by volcano, I want to know how to utilize this power to cleanse "the hood" and other neighborhoods where roaches breed, prosper, thrive and make short term, high interest loans. We may be on to something!

Re:No true cockroach... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990747)

If they can be killed off by volcano, I want to know how to utilize this power to cleanse "the hood" and other neighborhoods where roaches breed, prosper, thrive and make short term, high interest loans. We may be on to something!

by roaches you mean niggers, rite? the white skinned ones arent aggressive. they won't shoot you because you had da wrong colorz yo. they dont hold there pistol sideways for some stupid reason.

Re:No true cockroach... (1)

DaemonDan (2773445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990427)

Seriously. I always assumed that at least cockroaches would survive the nuclear winter, but if they can't even handle a volcano...

Re:No true cockroach... (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991965)

OMG. A species driven to extinction!?
We must remove man from this planet. Wait.
It was not man that caused the extinction?
Next you are going to tell me that man is only responsible for a tiny fraction of the bad shit that goes down.

Re:No true cockroach... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993271)

You have slain your strawman with skill. But if you want to look like you're actually a reasonable person instead of a paranoid partisan prone to hyperbole, you should actually wait for someone to make an absurd argument before you refute it.

Fireflies? (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989661)

I thought there were certain species of fireflies that mimicked the patterns of other sub-species to lure unsuspecting victim fireflies to eat. Is there some special reason this doesn't count?

Re:Fireflies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989713)

Is there some special reason this doesn't count?

The lack of source.

Re:Fireflies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989715)

I thought there were certain species of fireflies that mimicked the patterns of other sub-species to lure unsuspecting victim fireflies to eat. Is there some special reason this doesn't count?

Fireflies aren't a land animal.

Re:Fireflies? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990119)

I thought there were certain species of fireflies that mimicked the patterns of other sub-species to lure unsuspecting victim fireflies to eat. Is there some special reason this doesn't count?

Fireflies aren't a land animal.

A mighty seagoing beastie they be!

Re:Fireflies? (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990413)

They are land animals. They breed on land, they develop on land, only in their last phase of life (the imago state), they fly. And still then they land occasionally.

Re:Fireflies? (2)

fldsofglry (2754803) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991275)

Yes, there are fireflies that mimic other fireflies in order to eat them:
http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/2011/smith_ash2/nutrition.htm [uwlax.edu]
And yes, I would consider fireflies land animals, because they spend most of their lives on the ground as larvae:
http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/midorcas/animalphysiology/websites/2006/cahermes/larvae.htm

Re:Fireflies? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993357)

The fireflies are mimicking other related species of firefly. The roach is mimicking an entirely different animal. The summary sucks, haven't had time to RTFA yet.

Re:Fireflies? (1)

binarstu (720435) | about a year and a half ago | (#41994997)

The responses to this indicate a fair bit of confusion.

First, yes, there are fireflies that mimic other fireflies. But the mimicry is not among sub-species, as stated by the parent. Rather, females from one genus mimic males of another. Also, fireflies are considered terrestrial animals, even though they can fly. So, this is a clearly a case of bioluminescent mimicry, and the article summary was wrong to state that the cockroach was the "only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal."

What the summary should have said was that the cockroach was the only known case of defensive bioluminescent mimicry (that is, the cockroach gets protection from predators). The firefly example is a case of what is known as aggressive mimicry, because the females mimic the males in order to lure them in and eat them.

Not to worry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989665)

These glowing cockroaches have been seen all over Fukushima Prefecture as of late.

Best /. title ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989673)

I think that was a 70s Japanese sci-fi movie too

Re:Best /. title ever (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989867)

I think that was a 70s Japanese sci-fi movie too

Mothra?

Re:Best /. title ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990159)

lol thats the one. Haven't seen it in years must check it out again. Thanks man!

And sorry mothra, if you're reading. Didnt mean to compare you to a cockroach.

Well obviously... (5, Funny)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989711)

They were doomed to failure, anyway.

Their own lights kept scaring them under the refrigerator 24/7!

Emergency Roaches (3, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990493)

I was going to say they could have used these cockroaches in NYC when Hurricane Sandy hit, and the lights went out. Of course on the west coast, an emergency roach is something else entirely.

Re:Well obviously... (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990703)

They were doomed to failure, anyway.

It's just Mother Nature trying to keep the world in balance. Cockroaches already scare many people as it is. A bioluminescent cockroach would be a little bit too much, I guess. The only worse thing would be a giant carnivorous bioluminescent centipede. If that ever appears in nature, I predict an asteroid strike will wipe it out.

Re:Well obviously... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990977)

If that ever appears in nature, I predict an asteroid strike will wipe it out.

I predict a slashdotter will make another lame attempt at being funny and fail. Oh wait, you already did!

Re:Well obviously... (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991001)

Interesting fact: it isn't just the light that makes them scurry away adn hide. They can smell us, and find us quite disgusting (presumably an evolved survival reaction: avoid mammals as they'll either eat you or just stomp on you).

Re:Well obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41996253)

i still say it's NFC between their antane and the radioactivity of the human body.

Re:Well obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41997495)

But cockroaches don't run away. They run towards you, which is actually a good avoidance strategy since it reduces your reaction time. In the days when fighter planes got in to dogfights the same strategy was used. If you try to run away, you give your enemy an easy kill. Cockroaches running over people's feet is what really creeps people out.

Futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989757)

Why would a creature evolve to copy the rattlesnake's warning if nothing could mistake it for the real thing.

Re:Futile (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989877)

Why would a creature evolve to copy the rattlesnake's warning if nothing could mistake it for the real thing.

Lady rattlers?

Re:Futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991113)

Giggity.

Re:Futile (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990025)

Why would a creature evolve to copy the rattlesnake's warning if nothing could mistake it for the real thing.

Because things do mistake it for the real thing? In terms of energy(and evolution is nothing if not the battle for energy, and of course, becoming energy) poison production is pretty expensive. Thats why a rattlesnake prefers to rattle, and will only bite either to kill prey or when it thinks it has no other way of defending itself, thus it evolved the rattle in addition to it's venom. Shaking its tail a few times is a hell of lot cheaper than biting(not to mention it takes time for the poison to replenish).

However mimics have found an even more efficient way to scare away potential predators, keep the scare tactics but ditch the poison production. Best of both worlds!

Re:Futile (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990953)

Further, I think in the case of snakes, it's not really mimicry. Many many species of snakes shake their tails when annoyed. Rattlesnakes are a genus that evolved an especially novel modification to an established behavior.

Re:Futile (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993715)

Parent was referring to the summary's use of the word "unmistakable". Also, the noise that the king snake makes in dry leaves is almost identical to the sound of the rattlesnake. If it doesn't have dry leaves it's just tail shaking, but in the leaves where it normally lives it's quite efficient mimicry.

Global Warming (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989765)

See, those volcanos have no respect for the environment just belching their CO2 all the time...now they've made something extinct

SOMETHING MUST BE DONE

Al Gore...where are you?

Re:Global Warming (0)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989879)

See, those volcanos have no respect for the environment just belching their CO2 all the time...now they've made something extinct

SOMETHING MUST BE DONE

Al Gore...where are you?

Making a killing?

The title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989779)

is so awesome!

Is it a record? (0)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989805)

Fastest extinction ever

Re:Is it a record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989851)

That depends, theoretically it's possible that a new species was stillborn.

Re:Is it a record? (3, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989917)

That depends, theoretically it's possible that a new species was stillborn.

When the world is ready : Laser cockroaches. The old ones died of inchoerence.

Re:Is it a record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41995433)

Groan

I wish I'd thought of that one. Can I keep it?

New? Already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989823)

A "new" species has an evolutionary history as long as any other species alive today. It hasn't "already" gone extinct. We just weren't aware of it. Or perhaps it was just scientists who weren't aware of it, humans live there [wikipedia.org].

Re:New? Already? (1)

techsoldaten (309296) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990585)

For that matter, if the cockroach engages in biomimicry, isn't it possible that people are simply not noticing it because of it's similarities to it's poisonous cousin?

Nature kind of happens, the fact is we don't always notice.

Global Warming (3, Funny)

asifyoucare (302582) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989893)

I blame global warming.

Or maybe local warming in this case.

Re:Global Warming (0)

bunratty (545641) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990285)

Clearly humans cannot be responsible for any extinctions because extinctions have been happening in nature for millions of years without humans.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The purpose of this post is to illustrate the stupidity of this same argument applied to global warming. It's a shame I need to point this out.

Too bad, (3, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989897)

see there was an obvious use for this species we're not going to get now.

We could have imported this roach and turned it lose in the US. I know what you're thinking, last thing we need is ANOTHER type of roach in the US. Well, should these things inter-breed with native roaches and spread their glowing genes they would more easily be detected in the dark making their light the glowing beacon that attracts their own demise.

I foresee a day when we will have roach hunting nano bots fueled by the very roaches they kill. Bioluminescence would have been just one more factor these bots, birds, bats, and the occasional shoe could have used to help hunt these creatures once their gene pool was poisoned by a virtual laser painting.

Re:Too bad, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989973)

I foresee a day when we will have roach hunting nano bots fueled by the very roaches they kill.

I'm pretty sure that I saw an anime about that, except that the robots were hunting humans.

Re:Too bad, (2)

thereitis (2355426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990717)

I foresee a day when we will have roach hunting nano bots fueled by the very roaches they kill

Agreed. The same concept could be applied to removing zebra mussels and other foreign species in the water. Or maybe the robot feeds off of animals but performs some other function, like removing toxic chemicals. Yet another robot could be sent into landfill sites to find useful metals, etc.. while feeding off of organic waste or combustibles.

Re:Too bad, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41996269)

> I foresee a day when we will have roach hunting nano bots fueled by the very roaches they kill.

There was a prototype robot a few years back that did something like that. I think it hunted mice, and deposited them in a fermentation device that would generate electricity to charge the robot.

And no one thought about collecting alive ones? (2, Informative)

KugelKurt (908765) | about a year and a half ago | (#41989933)

Seriously: It's discovery seems like a break-through and no one thought about catching a few alive ones to study them in a laboratory?
I mean, "Oh, shiny! Let's catch a few!" is so obvious...

Re:And no one thought about collecting alive ones? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991241)

Seriously: It's discovery seems like a break-through and no one thought about catching a few alive ones to study them in a laboratory?
I mean, "Oh, shiny! Let's catch a few!" is so obvious...

Maybe someone collected the entire set.

I guess it wasn't so Lukae afterall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41989977)

That's all I've got.

Wait (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990115)

You mean extinctions are caused by other things than man? Shhhh! Don't tell the environmentalists! I'm sure they'll find a way to make us feel guilty for creating that volcano.

Re:Wait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990289)

Yes, because when a species dies out due to a natural event that obviously absolves man of any blame of the fact we're going through a major extinction period where man is in fact very much the cause of the bulk of it.

Seriously, take your populist bullshit elsewhere. Slashdot used to be smarter than that. You criticise environmentalists, but it seems in this case that most environmentalists are better informed about the issue of extinction than you are, so if you think they're stupid then what does that make you?

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990535)

You criticise environmentalists, but it seems in this case that most environmentalists are better informed about the issue of extinction than you are, so if you think they're stupid then what does that make you?

Environmentalists are the least informed people on the planet. Dunbal must be an extraterrestial.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990669)

Off course we could blame Bush...He created Hurricane Katrina.

That's no bioluminescent cockroach! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41990275)

It's a Zerg landing strip marker. The preparations for invasion are almost complete, and will only be delayed slightly by this successful defensive maneuver.

This is not the only such mimicry (1)

qwerty shrdlu (799408) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990781)

Some female fireflies mimic the flash patterns of other species to lure in and prey on the males.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly [wikipedia.org]

Note to self (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990935)

Create volcano in my home...

Re:Note to self (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993943)

Lived in Florida for a time, where they have six inch long cockroaches that fly. They were horrible, until I got a ferret. Apparently ferrets think that roaches are great toys, and when the toy breaks they're great snacks. Now whether the ferret is less of a nuisance than the roaches is another question entirely . . .

King Snake? (1)

Dmritard96 (1268918) | about a year and a half ago | (#41990989)

I don't think King Snakes have rattlers....They are known for imitation but I think instead it is visual. http://www.petmd.com/sites/default/files/coral_snake_0.gif [petmd.com]

There was no volcano (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991689)

It was just another of their bioluminescent mimcry tricks. They swarmed to create the illusion of a volcano to scare away the humans so they could pull away undetected and hide in obscurity, increasing their numbers until the time comes for them to attack.

One more reason to move ahead with global warming and destroy this planet before it gets the better of us.

I doubt it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991771)

First of all if its a cockroach then it breeds like crazy and hard to kill. But if its been around long enough to the evolve the ability to mimic then I highly doubt it will just suddenly be completely extinct by a volcano of all things. And not to mention if we have been around for this long and just now found it this year then surely there are more that we havent found yet..

Pyroclastic Flow > Bio-luminescence (3)

chinton (151403) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991967)

Perhaps they should have evolved some sort of force field instead.

Re:Pyroclastic Flow Bio-luminescence (1)

udoschuermann (158146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993707)

Precisely, instead of a Glow In The Dark super power, they should have gone for Immunity To Fire. Cockroach Fail, methinks. ;-)

One Just Left Microsoft! (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992149)

I heard a luminary with profoundly huge self-importance just turned off the lights and left.

EPA Lost and Confused (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992469)

The EPA is desperately searching for someone to fine/sue or get an injunction of some kind for this.

Killed by Nature?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41994001)

B-b-b-but globalwarmingclimatechange must be blamed!

It is regrettable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41994643)

That this volcano was not located close to "W" and his partner in war crimes,
Dickless Chainey ( father of the war-loving dyke ).

Obliq Aliens Quote? (man I hate roaches...): (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41995233)

Burke: Look, this is an emotional moment for all of us, okay? I know that. But, let's not make snap judgments, please. This is clearly-clearly an important species we're dealing with and I don't think that you or I, or anybody, has the right to arbitrarily exterminate them.
Ripley: Wrong!
Vasquez: Yeah. Watch us.
Hudson: Hey man, maybe you havent been keeping up with current events, but we just got our ASS'S KICKED PAL!

Having dealt with a german roach infestation at a duplex due to one nasty neighbor, I can safely say its the one creature on this planet right behind mosquitoes I truly wish wiped out....does that make me a bad person? : p

Simply not true (1)

nukeade (583009) | about a year and a half ago | (#41997555)

This is not the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence of a land animal, unless fireflies don't count (being that all of the insects in question can fly, they'd better count!). Pennsylvania's state insect is a tricky one, indeed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photuris_pennsylvanica [wikipedia.org]

It will duplicate the mating blinks of other species of firefly, and consume the attracted "suitors"!

Tungurahua is exploding all the time. (1)

epSos-de (2741969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41997617)

Tungurahua is beautiful but not stable, the bioluminescent cockroach must have survived more eruptions than anyone can count. I bet it will survive the blast of this size too. I also bet that there are subspecies that live in a different hight, becasue Ecuador is famous for insane diversity of species. Birds can have 40 different colors in the same spot in Ecuador. Cockroaches are far more common than birds. By math alone, the cockroach must have survived.

America must invade immediately (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about a year and a half ago | (#41997895)

America must invade Ecuador in order to save this invaluable species.

They will, of course, need to change Ecuador's extradition laws so that the perpetrators of this volcano-based atrocity can be brought to justice, no matter what embassy they may try to escape to.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...