Special Issue "Pheromones and Insect Behaviour"


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
Institute for Zoology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstraße 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Website: http://www.biologie.uni-regensburg.de/Zoologie/Ruther/index.html
E-Mail: joachim.ruther@biologie.uni-regensburg.de
Phone: +49-(0)941-943 2151
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


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.


  • 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 (10 papers)

by , , , , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 639-650; doi:10.3390/insects5030639
Received: 25 April 2014; in revised form: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 30 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
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by ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 596-608; doi:10.3390/insects5030596
Received: 3 June 2014; in revised form: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
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abstract graphic

by , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 577-595; doi:10.3390/insects5030577
Received: 12 May 2014; in revised form: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
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by , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 499-512; doi:10.3390/insects5030499
Received: 25 April 2014; in revised form: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
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by ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(2), 459-473; doi:10.3390/insects5020459
Received: 27 March 2014; in revised form: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 23 May 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
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by  and
Insects 2014, 5(2), 474-487; doi:10.3390/insects5020474
Received: 28 March 2014; in revised form: 10 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
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by  and
Insects 2014, 5(2), 423-438; doi:10.3390/insects5020423
Received: 8 April 2014; in revised form: 16 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
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by  and
Insects 2014, 5(2), 439-458; doi:10.3390/insects5020439
Received: 21 March 2014; in revised form: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
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by , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(2), 399-422; doi:10.3390/insects5020399
Received: 28 March 2014; in revised form: 21 May 2014 / Accepted: 22 May 2014 / Published: 17 June 2014
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abstract graphic

by , , ,  and
Insects 2013, 4(4), 743-760; doi:10.3390/insects4040743
Received: 21 October 2013; in revised form: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (501 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Unique responses to sexual pheromones in parasitoids of the genus Cotesia: males are strongly attracted to virgin females, but repelled by mated females
Authors: Hao Xu, Nathalie Veyrat, Thomas Degen and Ted C. J. Turlings
Affiliations: Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Research in Chemical Ecology (FARCE), Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland; E-Mail: ted.turlings@unine.ch
Abstract: The reproductive success of parasitoids is tightly linked to the females’ ability to find hosts for their offspring, but optimal foraging for food and mates is also essential to maximize adult lifespan and fitness. Having a haplo-diploid sex determination system, female hymenopteran parasitoids are able to reproduce without mating, but this will result in only males. Certainly for males, but also for female parasitoids it will be much to their advantage to mate before eggs are deposited in or on hosts. Therefore an effective mate-finding strategy can be expected in parasitoids. Yet, the use of sex pheromones in parasitoids has been rarely studied and it remains largely unknown how male and female parasitoids locate each other. In the current study we investigated possible attraction (and repellency) between the sexes of two braconid parasitoids of the genus Cotesia. Males of Cotesia marginiventris and Cotesia glomerata were found to be strongly attracted to conspecific virgin females, but they were repelled by mated females and by males of the same species. The repellency of mated females was only evident hours after mating, implying a change in their release of pheromones. Females of the Cotesia species showed no response to the odors of conspecific individuals, except that Cotesia glomerata females appeared to be repelled by mated males. The pheromones appear to be highly specific, as the two species did not respond to each other’s pheromones. We discuss these exceptional responses in the context of optimal mate finding strategies.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Pheromone detection in a noisy environment: from mechanisms to behaviour
Authors: Nina Deisig 1, Fabienne Dupuy 1,2, Sylvia Anton 2 and Michel Renou 1
1 UMR PISC, INRA/Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Centre de Recherches de Versailles, Route de St Cyr, 78000 Versailles cedex, France
2 Université d'Angers, Laboratoire RCIM, UPRES-EA 2647, USC INRA 1330, SFR 4207 QUASAV, UFR Sciences, 2 Boulevard Lavoisier, 49045 Angers, France ; E-Mail: sylvia.anton@angers.inra.fr
Abstract: Insects communicating with pheromones, be it sex- or aggregation pheromones, are confronted with an olfactory environment rich in plant volatiles of different quality and quantity. Certain of these volatiles can represent behaviourally relevant information, such as indications on host- or non-host plants, others will provide essentially a noisy environment out of which the behaviourally 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 pheromones/plant volatile interactions. Starting from molecular mechanisms, describing the peripheral detection and central nervous integration of pheromone-plant odour mixtures, we will end with behavioural output in response to such mixtures and discuss these in an ecological context.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Neural mechanisms and information processing in recognition systems
Authors: Mamiko Ozaki 1,* and Abraham Hefetz 2
1 Department of Biology, Graduate School of Science, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkodaicho, Nada, Kobe, 657-8501, Japan; E-Mail: mamiko@port.kobe-u.ac.jp
2 Department of Zoology, George S Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel; E-Mail: hefetz@post.tau.ac.il
Abstract: Nestmate recognition is a fundamental characteristic of social insects. It is based on the match/mismatch of an identity signal that the member of the society carries with that of the perceiving individual. While the response to match/mismatch, amicable or aggressive, is very clear, the neural systems leading to recognition are yet 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 since this is 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 via the antennal lobes to higher brain center where the information is deciphered and compared to a neural template. Match or mismatch information is then transferred to some behavior switching or locomotion pattern generating centers where the appropriate response is elicited. We would like to present an alternative hypothesis, that of “pre-filter mechanism" whereby the decision whether to pass on the information to the central nervous system already takes place at the peripheral sensory system. We propose that through sensory adaptation only alien signals are passed on to the brain, specifically to an “aggression center” where the response is generated if the signal is above a certain threshold.

Last update: 28 May 2014

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