Special Issue "Pheromones and Insect Behaviour"

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A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Joachim Ruther (Website)

Institute for Zoology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstraße 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Interests: chemical ecology of insects; semiochemicals; pheromones; sexual communication; insect behavior; parasitic wasps; pheromone evolution; insect-plant interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The chemical sense is of crucial importance for insects to navigate within their often complex habitats. For chemical information transfer between conspecifics, insects use pheromones, semiochemicals that have been shown to mediate sexual and social communication of innumerable species. Thereby, pheromones contribute to the successful reproduction of insects and help to maintain the integrity of insect communities. Insect pheromone research is one of the basic columns of the interdisciplinary research field of Chemical Ecology bringing together the expertise of chemists, ecologists, behavioral biologists, neurobiologists and increasingly also molecular biologists. Since the identification of the silkmoth pheromone by Butenandt and co-workers in 1959, tremendous advances in analytical chemistry allowed the characterization of hundreds of bioactive molecules many of which have become part of environmentally sound control methods for insect pests. Significant progress has also been made in our understanding of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying pheromone biosynthesis and perception. This knowledge is increasingly used to answer ultimate questions concerning the evolution of communication systems and the involvement of chemical signals in sexual selection and other evolutionary processes. For this special issue we invite the submission of high quality original research papers and mini-reviews covering all aspects of insect pheromone chemistry and pheromone mediated insect behavior.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Ruther
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • identification of insect pheromones
  • biosynthesis of insect pheromones
  • perception of insect pheromones
  • evolution of insect pheromones
  • mate finding and recognition
  • courtship behavior
  • aggregation
  • social communication
  • nestmate recognition
  • insect pheromones and chemical mimicry

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Sexual Behavior of Drosophila suzukii
Insects 2015, 6(1), 183-196; doi:10.3390/insects6010183
Received: 27 October 2014 / Revised: 20 February 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (606 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A high reproductive potential is one reason for the rapid spread of Drosophila suzukii in Europe and in the United States. In order to identify mechanisms that mediate mating and reproduction in D. suzukii we studied the fly’s reproductive behavior, diurnal mating [...] Read more.
A high reproductive potential is one reason for the rapid spread of Drosophila suzukii in Europe and in the United States. In order to identify mechanisms that mediate mating and reproduction in D. suzukii we studied the fly’s reproductive behavior, diurnal mating activity and sexual maturation. Furthermore, we studied the change of female cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) with age and conducted a preliminary investigation on the role of female-derived chemical signals in male mating behavior. Sexual behavior in D. suzukii is characterized by distinct elements of male courtship leading to female acceptance for mating. Time of day and age modulate D. suzukii mating activity. As with other drosophilids, female sexual maturity is paralleled by a quantitative increase in CHCs. Neither female CHCs nor other olfactory signals were required to induce male courtship, however, presence of those signals significantly increased male sexual behavior. With this pilot study we hope to stimulate research on the reproductive biology of D. suzukii, which is relevant for the development of pest management tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Pheromone Production by the Pepper Weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Collection Efficiency
Insects 2014, 5(4), 909-920; doi:10.3390/insects5040909
Received: 5 September 2014 / Revised: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 18 November 2014
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Abstract
Several factors affecting pheromone production by male pepper weevils, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as well as collection efficiency were investigated. Factors studied included: porous polymer adsorbents (Tenax versus Super Q), male age, time of day, male density, and male diet. Super [...] Read more.
Several factors affecting pheromone production by male pepper weevils, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as well as collection efficiency were investigated. Factors studied included: porous polymer adsorbents (Tenax versus Super Q), male age, time of day, male density, and male diet. Super Q was found to be a superior adsorbent for the male-produced alcohols and geranic acid as well as the plant-produced E-β-ocimene. Pheromone production increased with male age up to about age 15 days old and then tapered off. Male pepper weevils produced the highest amount of pheromone between noon and 2 pm (i.e., 4 to 6 h after “lights on”) and were producing ca. 800 ng/h during this period. Thereafter, pheromone production decreased and was extremely low during the scotophase (i.e., ca. 12 ng/h). Male pepper weevil density had a significant effect on both release rate and pheromone composition. Pheromone production on a per male basis was highest for individual males and the percentage of geranic acid in the blend was lowest for individual males. Male pepper weevils produced only extremely low amounts of pheromone when feeding on artificial diet; however, they produced very high amounts when on fresh peppers. Together, this information will be useful in designing better attractant lures for pepper weevils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Host Plant Volatiles and the Sexual Reproduction of the Potato Aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae
Insects 2014, 5(4), 783-792; doi:10.3390/insects5040783
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 9 October 2014 / Published: 24 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (418 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In late summer, heteroecious aphids, such as the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, move from their secondary summer host plants to primary host plants, where the sexual oviparae mate and lay diapausing eggs. We tested the hypothesis that volatiles of the primary [...] Read more.
In late summer, heteroecious aphids, such as the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae, move from their secondary summer host plants to primary host plants, where the sexual oviparae mate and lay diapausing eggs. We tested the hypothesis that volatiles of the primary host, Rosa rugosa, would attract the gynoparae, the parthenogenetic alate morph that produce oviparae, as well as the alate males foraging for suitable mates. In wind tunnel assays, both gynoparae and males oriented towards and reached rose cuttings significantly more often than other odour sources, including potato, a major secondary host. The response of males was as high to rose cuttings alone as to potato with a calling virgin oviparous female. These findings are discussed within the seasonal ecology of host alternating aphids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Intraspecific Variation in Female Sex Pheromone of the Codling Moth Cydia pomonella
Insects 2014, 5(4), 705-721; doi:10.3390/insects5040705
Received: 24 July 2014 / Revised: 30 August 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 26 September 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The codling moth, Cydia pomonella L. (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae), is a major pest of apple, pear and walnut orchards worldwide. This pest is often controlled using the biologically friendly control method known as pheromone-based mating disruption. Mating disruption likely exerts selection on the [...] Read more.
The codling moth, Cydia pomonella L. (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae), is a major pest of apple, pear and walnut orchards worldwide. This pest is often controlled using the biologically friendly control method known as pheromone-based mating disruption. Mating disruption likely exerts selection on the sexual communication system of codling moth, as male and female moths will persist in their attempt to meet and mate. Surprisingly little is known on the intraspecific variation of sexual communication in this species. We started an investigation to determine the level of individual variation in the female sex pheromone composition of this moth and whether variation among different populations might be correlated with use of mating disruption against those populations. By extracting pheromone glands of individual females from a laboratory population in Canada and from populations from apple orchards in Spain and Italy, we found significant between- and within-population variation. Comparing females that had been exposed to mating disruption, or not, revealed a significant difference in sex pheromone composition for two of the minor components. Overall, the intraspecific variation observed shows the potential for a shift in female sexual signal when selection pressure is high, as is the case with continuous use of mating disruption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Pheromonal Communication in the European House Dust Mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
Insects 2014, 5(3), 639-650; doi:10.3390/insects5030639
Received: 25 April 2014 / Revised: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 30 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (593 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite the sanitary importance of the European house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Trouessart, 1897), the pheromonal communication in this species has not been sufficiently studied. Headspace analysis using solid phase micro extraction (SPME) revealed that nerol, neryl formate, pentadecane, (6Z,9 [...] Read more.
Despite the sanitary importance of the European house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Trouessart, 1897), the pheromonal communication in this species has not been sufficiently studied. Headspace analysis using solid phase micro extraction (SPME) revealed that nerol, neryl formate, pentadecane, (6Z,9Z)-6,9-heptadecadiene, and (Z)-8-heptadecene are released by both sexes whereas neryl propionate was released by males only. Tritonymphs did not produce any detectable volatiles. In olfactometer experiments, pentadecane and neryl propionate were attractive to both sexes as well as to tritonymphs. (Z)-8-heptadecene was only attractive to male mites. Therefore it is discussed that pentadecane and neryl propionate are aggregation pheromones and (Z)-8-heptadecene is a sexual pheromone of the European house dust mite D. pteronyssinus. To study the potential use of pheromones in dust mite control, long-range olfactometer experiments were conducted showing that mites can be attracted to neryl propionate over distances of at least 50 cm. This indicates that mite pheromones might be useable to monitor the presence or absence of mites in the context of control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Demonstration and Characterization of a Persistent Pheromone Lure for the Navel Orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)
Insects 2014, 5(3), 596-608; doi:10.3390/insects5030596
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The lack of an effective pheromone lure has made it difficult to monitor and manage the navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in the economically important crops in which it is the primary insect pest. A series of experiments was conducted to [...] Read more.
The lack of an effective pheromone lure has made it difficult to monitor and manage the navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in the economically important crops in which it is the primary insect pest. A series of experiments was conducted to demonstrate and characterize a practical synthetic pheromone lure for capturing navel orangeworm males. Traps baited with lures prepared with 1 or 2 mg of a three- or four-component formulation captured similar numbers of males. The fluctuation over time in the number of males captured in traps baited with the pheromone lure correlated significantly with males captured in female-baited traps. Traps baited with the pheromone lure usually did not capture as many males as traps baited with unmated females, and the ratio of males trapped with pheromone to males trapped with females varied between crops and with abundance. The pheromone lure described improves the ability of pest managers to detect and monitor navel orangeworm efficiently and may improve management and decrease insecticide treatments applied as a precaution against damage. Awareness of differences between male interaction with the pheromone lure and calling females, as shown in these data, will be important as further studies and experience determine how best to use this lure for pest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle Exceptional Use of Sex Pheromones by Parasitoids of the Genus Cotesia: Males Are Strongly Attracted to Virgin Females, but Are No Longer Attracted to or Even Repelled by Mated Females
Insects 2014, 5(3), 499-512; doi:10.3390/insects5030499
Received: 25 April 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (624 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sex pheromones have rarely been studied in parasitoids, and it remains largely unknown how male and female parasitoids locate each other. We investigated possible attraction (and repellency) between the sexes of two braconid wasps belonging to the same genus, the gregarious parasitoid, [...] Read more.
Sex pheromones have rarely been studied in parasitoids, and it remains largely unknown how male and female parasitoids locate each other. We investigated possible attraction (and repellency) between the sexes of two braconid wasps belonging to the same genus, the gregarious parasitoid, Cotesia glomerata (L.), and the solitary parasitoid, Cotesia marginiventris (Cresson). Males of both species were strongly attracted to conspecific virgin females. Interestingly, in C. glomerata, the males were repelled by mated females, as well as by males of their own species. This repellency of mated females was only evident hours after mating, implying a change in pheromone composition. Males of C. marginiventris were also no longer attracted, but not repelled, by mated females. Females of both species showed no attraction to the odors of conspecific individuals, male or female, and C. glomerata females even appeared to be repelled by mated males. Moreover, the pheromones were found to be highly specific, as males were not attracted by females of the other species. Males of Cotesia glomerata even avoided the pheromones of female Cotesia marginiventris, indicating the recognition of non-conspecific pheromones. We discuss these unique responses in the context of optimal mate finding strategies in parasitoids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Female Moth Calling and Flight Behavior Are Altered Hours Following Pheromone Autodetection: Possible Implications for Practical Management with Mating Disruption
Insects 2014, 5(2), 459-473; doi:10.3390/insects5020459
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 23 May 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (225 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Female moths are known to detect their own sex pheromone—a phenomenon called “autodetection”. Autodetection has various effects on female moth behavior, including altering natural circadian rhythm of calling behavior, inducing flight, and in some cases causing aggregations of conspecifics. A proposed hypothesis [...] Read more.
Female moths are known to detect their own sex pheromone—a phenomenon called “autodetection”. Autodetection has various effects on female moth behavior, including altering natural circadian rhythm of calling behavior, inducing flight, and in some cases causing aggregations of conspecifics. A proposed hypothesis for the possible evolutionary benefits of autodetection is its possible role as a spacing mechanism to reduce female-female competition. Here, we explore autodetection in two species of tortricids (Grapholita molesta (Busck) and Choristoneura rosaceana (Harris)). We find that females of both species not only “autodetect,” but that learning (change in behavior following experience) occurs, which affects behavior for at least 24 hours after pheromone pre-exposure. Specifically, female calling in both species is advanced at least 24 hours, but not 5 days, following pheromone pre-exposure. Also, the propensity of female moths to initiate flight and the duration of flights, as quantified by a laboratory flight mill, were advanced in pre-exposed females as compared with controls. Pheromone pre-exposure did not affect the proportion of mated moths when they were confined with males in small enclosures over 24 hours in laboratory assays. We discuss the possible implications of these results with respect to management of these known pest species with the use of pheromone-based mating disruption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Pyrazines Attract Catocheilus Thynnine Wasps
Insects 2014, 5(2), 474-487; doi:10.3390/insects5020474
Received: 28 March 2014 / Revised: 10 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Five previously identified semiochemicals from the sexually deceptive Western Australian hammer orchid Drakaea livida, all showing electrophysiological activity in gas chromatography–electroantennogram detection (EAD) studies, were tested in field bioassays as attractants for a Catocheilus thynnine wasp. Two of these compounds, (3,5,6-trimethylpyrazin-2-yl)methyl [...] Read more.
Five previously identified semiochemicals from the sexually deceptive Western Australian hammer orchid Drakaea livida, all showing electrophysiological activity in gas chromatography–electroantennogram detection (EAD) studies, were tested in field bioassays as attractants for a Catocheilus thynnine wasp. Two of these compounds, (3,5,6-trimethylpyrazin-2-yl)methyl 3-methylbutanoate and 2-(3-methylbutyl)-3,5,6-trimethylpyrazine, were attractive to male wasps. Additionally, the semiochemical 3-(3-methylbutyl)-2,5-dimethylpyrazine, a close analogue to 2-(3-methylbutyl)-3,5,6-trimethylpyrazine, identified in five other species of thynnine wasps, was equally active. The three remaining compounds from D. livida, which were EAD-active against Catocheilus, did not attract the insects in field trials. It is interesting that two structurally similar compounds induce similar behaviours in field experiments, yet only one of these compounds is present in the orchid flower. Our findings suggest the possibility that despite the high specificity normally characterising sex pheromone systems, the evolution of sexual deception may not be entirely constrained by the need to precisely match the sex pheromone constituents and blends. Such evolutionary flexibility may be particularly important during the early stages of speciation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessArticle Elucidating Structure-Bioactivity Relationships of Methyl-Branched Alkanes in the Contact Sex Pheromone of the Parasitic Wasp Lariophagus distinguendus
Insects 2013, 4(4), 743-760; doi:10.3390/insects4040743
Received: 21 October 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (501 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The exoskeletons of insects are covered by complex mixtures of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) which are involved in social and sexual communication. However, little is known about the relationship between the structures of CHCs and their behavioral activity. The key component of the [...] Read more.
The exoskeletons of insects are covered by complex mixtures of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) which are involved in social and sexual communication. However, little is known about the relationship between the structures of CHCs and their behavioral activity. The key component of the contact sex pheromone of the parasitoid Lariophagus distinguendus is 3-methylheptacosane (3-MeC27), which is present in CHC profiles of both females and newly emerged males. The CHCs of females and young males elicit wing-fanning behavior in older males. However, as young males age, 3-MeC27 disappears from their CHC profiles and they no longer elicit wing-fanning responses from other males. We applied enantiopure 3-MeC27 and structurally related CHCs (with respect to chain length or methyl-branch position) to the cuticle of aged male dummies and recorded the wing-fanning behavior of responding males. Only the two enantiomers of 3-MeC27 restored the dummies’ attractiveness. The addition of structurally related CHCs or various n-alkanes to bioactive dummies of young males and females significantly decreased wing-fanning by test males. Hence, L. distinguendus males respond specifically but not enantioselectively to 3-MeC27, and perceive the CHC profiles as a whole. Both removal (as is the case with 3-MeC27 in aging males) and addition of individual compounds may disrupt the behavioral response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Processing of Pheromone Information in Related Species of Heliothine Moths
Insects 2014, 5(4), 742-761; doi:10.3390/insects5040742
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 22 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 September 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In heliothine moths, the male-specific olfactory system is activated by a few odor molecules, each of which is associated with an easily identifiable glomerulus in the primary olfactory center of the brain. This arrangement is linked to two well-defined behavioral responses, one [...] Read more.
In heliothine moths, the male-specific olfactory system is activated by a few odor molecules, each of which is associated with an easily identifiable glomerulus in the primary olfactory center of the brain. This arrangement is linked to two well-defined behavioral responses, one ensuring attraction and mating behavior by carrying information about pheromones released by conspecific females and the other inhibition of attraction via signal information emitted from heterospecifics. The chance of comparing the characteristic properties of pheromone receptor proteins, male-specific sensory neurons and macroglomerular complex (MGC)-units in closely-related species is especially intriguing. Here, we review studies on the male-specific olfactory system of heliothine moths with particular emphasis on five closely related species, i.e., Heliothis virescens, Heliothis subflexa, Helicoverpa zea, Helicoverpa assulta and Helicoverpa armigera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
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Open AccessReview Neural Mechanisms and Information Processing in Recognition Systems
Insects 2014, 5(4), 722-741; doi:10.3390/insects5040722
Received: 31 May 2014 / Revised: 6 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 13 October 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (186 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nestmate recognition is a hallmark of social insects. It is based on the match/mismatch of an identity signal carried by members of the society with that of the perceiving individual. While the behavioral response, amicable or aggressive, is very clear, the neural [...] Read more.
Nestmate recognition is a hallmark of social insects. It is based on the match/mismatch of an identity signal carried by members of the society with that of the perceiving individual. While the behavioral response, amicable or aggressive, is very clear, the neural systems underlying recognition are not fully understood. Here we contrast two alternative hypotheses for the neural mechanisms that are responsible for the perception and information processing in recognition. We focus on recognition via chemical signals, as the common modality in social insects. The first, classical, hypothesis states that upon perception of recognition cues by the sensory system the information is passed as is to the antennal lobes and to higher brain centers where the information is deciphered and compared to a neural template. Match or mismatch information is then transferred to some behavior-generating centers where the appropriate response is elicited. An alternative hypothesis, that of “pre-filter mechanism”, posits that the decision as to whether to pass on the information to the central nervous system takes place in the peripheral sensory system. We suggest that, through sensory adaptation, only alien signals are passed on to the brain, specifically to an “aggressive-behavior-switching center”, where the response is generated if the signal is above a certain threshold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessReview Semiochemical and Vibrational Cues and Signals Mediating Mate Finding and Courtship in Psylloidea (Hemiptera): A Synthesis
Insects 2014, 5(3), 577-595; doi:10.3390/insects5030577
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (433 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
Mate finding and courtship involve complex interactions that require close coordination between individuals of the opposite gender. Well-organized signalling systems, sometimes involving a combination of signal modalities, are required to convey species-specific and individual information to members of the opposite gender. Previous [...] Read more.
Mate finding and courtship involve complex interactions that require close coordination between individuals of the opposite gender. Well-organized signalling systems, sometimes involving a combination of signal modalities, are required to convey species-specific and individual information to members of the opposite gender. Previous studies of psyllids have focused on single-signal modalities and have largely ignored the potentially interdependent nature of different types of signals. Several studies have shown that semiochemicals play a role in psyllid mate finding. However, long-range semiochemical sex attractants, such as the highly volatile sex pheromones used by many Lepidoptera (molecular weights <300), are yet to be identified. The compounds identified thus far, namely 13-methylheptacosane (from Cacopsylla pyricola) and dodecanoic acid (from Diaphorina citri), seem to have short range activity or no activity under field conditions. The possible role played by cuticular hydrocarbons in psyllid courtship remains largely ignored. Conversely, many psyllid species rely on vibrational signals for mate finding and mate assessment during courtship. This apparent disproportional reliance on vibrational rather than semiochemical signals suggests that vibrational signals have been more influential in sexual selection in psyllids. However, male fitness, female choice and benefits accrued from selecting fitter males remain poorly understood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessReview The Role of Sexual Selection in the Evolution of Chemical Signals in Insects
Insects 2014, 5(2), 423-438; doi:10.3390/insects5020423
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 16 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (139 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessReview Sexual Communication in the Drosophila Genus
Insects 2014, 5(2), 439-458; doi:10.3390/insects5020439
Received: 21 March 2014 / Revised: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (749 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In insects, sexual behavior depends on chemical and non-chemical cues that might play an important role in sexual isolation. In this review, we present current knowledge about sexual behavior in the Drosophila genus. We describe courtship and signals involved in sexual communication, [...] Read more.
In insects, sexual behavior depends on chemical and non-chemical cues that might play an important role in sexual isolation. In this review, we present current knowledge about sexual behavior in the Drosophila genus. We describe courtship and signals involved in sexual communication, with a special focus on sex pheromones. We examine the role of cuticular hydrocarbons as sex pheromones, their implication in sexual isolation, and their evolution. Finally, we discuss the roles of male cuticular non-hydrocarbon pheromones that act after mating: cis-vaccenyl acetate, developing on its controversial role in courtship behavior and long-chain acetyldienylacetates and triacylglycerides, which act as anti-aphrodisiacs in mated females. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
Open AccessReview Responses to Pheromones in a Complex Odor World: Sensory Processing and Behavior
Insects 2014, 5(2), 399-422; doi:10.3390/insects5020399
Received: 28 March 2014 / Revised: 21 May 2014 / Accepted: 22 May 2014 / Published: 17 June 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1582 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Insects communicating with pheromones, be it sex- or aggregation pheromones, are confronted with an olfactory environment rich in a diversity of volatile organic compounds of which plants are the main releaser. Certain of these volatiles can represent behaviorally relevant information, such as [...] Read more.
Insects communicating with pheromones, be it sex- or aggregation pheromones, are confronted with an olfactory environment rich in a diversity of volatile organic compounds of which plants are the main releaser. Certain of these volatiles can represent behaviorally relevant information, such as indications about host- or non-host plants; others will provide essentially a rich odor background out of which the behaviorally relevant information needs to be extracted. In an attempt to disentangle mechanisms of pheromone communication in a rich olfactory environment, which might underlie interactions between intraspecific signals and a background, we will summarize recent literature on pheromone/plant volatile interactions. Starting from molecular mechanisms, describing the peripheral detection and central nervous integration of pheromone-plant volatile mixtures, we will end with behavioral output in response to such mixtures and its plasticity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pheromones and Insect Behaviour)
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