2017 AP Biology Practice Exam Free-Response Questions Free Download

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Figure 1. Production of light in the lantern organ of fireflies

Figure 2. Flash pattern characteristics in fireflies

Figure 3. Flash pattern characteristics of selected firefly species

Figure 4. Evolutionary relatedness amongselected firefly species

1)Fireflies are a group of insects that possess a lantern organ composed of numerous light-producing cells (photocytes) in their abdomens. The light is produced by a chemical reaction involving the light-emitting organic compound luciferin. In each photocyte, luciferin is activated in an ATP-dependent reaction that is catalyzed by the enzyme luciferase. In the presence of oxygen, the activated luciferin emits light as it is converted to oxyluciferin (Figure 1).
The flashes of light are controlled by neurons that innervate the lantern organ. Activated neurons stimulate the release of nitric oxide (NO), an inhibitor of the electron transport chain. The pattern of light flashes (Figure 2) emitted by males is a signal to attract females as a component of mating behavior. Different species of firefly display different patterns of flashes (Figure 3). The evolutionary relatedness of these species, as determined using multiple morphological characteristics, is shown in Figure 4.

Identify the main source of the ATP used for activating luciferin, as shown in Figure 1, and describe the effect of the release of NO on oxygen levels in the photocyte during flashing.

Describe TWO differences in the flash patterns of P. pyralis and P. knulli. Justify the use of differences in flash signal patterns as evidence to support the claim that P. pyralis and P. knulli are different species.

Use the template provided to construct a cladogram based on the data in Figure 3. Circle the position on the cladogram that represents the outgroup.

Evaluate the data used to construct the cladogram in Figure 4 and the cladogram you constructed in part (c) and identify which cladogram is most likely to represent a more accurate phylogeny of the organisms. Propose ONE type of additional data that that could be used to refine the phylogeny of these species.

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