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Insects 2014, 5(2), 423-438; doi:10.3390/insects5020423

The Role of Sexual Selection in the Evolution of Chemical Signals in Insects

1
Institute of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89081 Ulm, Germany
2
Institute of Zoology, University of Regensburg, Universitätstraße 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 16 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
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Abstract

Chemical communication is the most ancient and widespread form of communication. Yet we are only beginning to grasp the complexity of chemical signals and the role they play in sexual selection. Focusing on insects, we review here the recent progress in the field of olfactory-based sexual selection. We will show that there is mounting empirical evidence that sexual selection affects the evolution of chemical traits, but form and strength of selection differ between species. Studies indicate that some chemical signals are expressed in relation to an individual’s condition and depend, for example, on age, immunocompetence, fertility, body size or degree of inbreeding. Males or females might benefit by choosing based on those traits, gaining resources or “good genes”. Other chemical traits appear to reliably reflect an individual’s underlying genotype and are suitable to choose a mating partner that matches best the own genotype. View Full-Text
Keywords: sexual selection; mate choice; pheromone; communication; chemical signal sexual selection; mate choice; pheromone; communication; chemical signal
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Steiger, S.; Stökl, J. The Role of Sexual Selection in the Evolution of Chemical Signals in Insects. Insects 2014, 5, 423-438.

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