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Date: Apr 07, 2010
Hofstra professor’s research featured in upcoming episode of Discovery Channel documentary series, “Life”
Served as consultant on episode about insects airing April 11
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - Research by Associate Professor of Biology Lisa Filippi about the parenting behavior of a rare Japanese ‘red bug' will be included in this week's segment of the 11-part Discovery Channel series called "Life", which is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, 2010.
Filippi has spent more than 20 years studying the Parastrachia Japonensis, a shield bug found in Eastern Asia - in particular focusing on the bug's parenting behavior as a means to shed light on the evolution of parental care behaviors in all species.
She shared her work as a consultant to the series, which originally aired in Britain on the BBC in Fall 2009 and was narrated by actor Richard Attenborough. The U.S. version of the documentary, which debuted in March, is narrated by Oprah Winfrey.
Besides insects, the series includes episodes on birds, fish, deep-sea marine invertebrates, plants, mammals and reptiles, that "tells mind-blowing stories of survival with drama, humor and suspense," according to the Discovery Channel.
The habits of the Japanese ‘red bug', as the series calls it, fit that bill. Mothers often spend hours searching for the most ripened rare fruit to bring back to feed their young. But if they are not quick enough, their young may abandon the nest for a better provider. And when the mother has exhausted her ability to feed her young, they eat her.
"It's got all the color and drama of a soap opera," Filippi said. "Females steal from each other, the kids eat the mother, and they eat other kids."
Filippi returns to Japan each year to continue her research on the Japanese insect. She recently received funding and approval from the University to build an on-campus field site to conduct similar studies on the evolution of parenting behaviors of a related insect that is indigenous to the United States.
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