N.C. State entomologist Coby Schal and post-doctoral researchers Katalin Boroczky and Ayako Wada-Katsumata wanted to explore why insects groom themselves so incessantly.
Like a self-absorbed teenager, insects spend a lot of time grooming. In a study that delves into the mechanisms behind this common function, North Carolina State University researchers show that insect grooming -- specifically, antennal cleaning -- removes both environmental pollutants and chemicals produced by the insects themselves.
The findings, published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that grooming helps insects maintain acute olfactory senses that are responsible for a host of functions, including finding food, sensing danger and even locating a suitable mate.
The findings could also explain why certain types of insecticides work more effectively than others.
Insects groom themselves incessantly, so NC State entomologist Coby Schal and post-doctoral researchers Katalin Boroczky and Ayako Wada-Katsumata wanted to explore the functions of this behavior.
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