Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops
Title: On the eyes of the coffee berry borer as rudimentary organs Authors
Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 9, 2013
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Citation: Vega, F.E., Simpkins, A., Bauchan, G.R., Infante, F., Kramer, M.H., Land, M.F. 2014. On the eyes of the coffee berry borer as rudimentary organs. PLoS One. 9(1):e85860. Interpretive Summary: The coffee berry borer is the most important insect pest of coffee throughout the world, causing millions of dollars in losses each year. Elucidating the basic biology of the insect will lead to a better understanding of its evolutionary history. In this paper we report on experiments that reveal that female coffee berry borers respond to movement, while males did not respond under the conditions tested. This is likely based on the greatly reduced compound eye of male insects, which spend their entire life cycle inside the coffee berry. This information will be of use to coffee scientists, entomologists, and evolutionary biologists.
Technical Abstract: The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, is the most damaging insect pest of coffee worldwide. Females bore into the coffee berries and deposit eggs within galleries in the endosperm, with a 10:1 sex ratio favoring females. There is sibling mating followed by females exiting the berry, while males never leave the berry. Scanning electron microscopy was used to assess differences in the number of facets in the compound eyes of male and female coffee berry borers. There was a significantly lower (p < 0.0001) number of facets in males (19.1 ± 0.83) than in females (127.5 ± 0.71). Optomotor response experiments indicate that females respond to movement, while males did not respond under the conditions tested. The coffee berry borer is an example of an insect whereby disuse of an organ in males has led to a rudimentary compound eye.