Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Male scent drives moth's evolution

06.03.2009
Male moth smell different depending on their age, and the French male corn borer moreover smells different from its fellow species in Slovenia, for instance.
It may be these different smells that contribute to the formation of new species. This is shown in a new study from Lund University in Sweden.

It was previously known that odorant substances, so-called pheromones, play a role in the sex lives of many animals.

When a female moth wants to attract a male to mate with, she emits scents that males can perceive from long distances. But males also have scents that are attractive to females in varying degree. For many years, ecologists at Lund University have pursued research on precisely how individuals, of both sexes, use pheromones.

In a new study, phD student Jean-Marc Lassance and Professor Christer Löfstedt at the Division of Chemical Ecology have examined how pheromones affect the choice of partner in a moth species called the European corn borer.

The corn borer is a small moth with a wingspan of 2-3 centimeters. The species has a natural distribution in Southern and Central Europe, and it also occurs in Southern Sweden. It is often considered a serious pest, especially of corn (maize). By understanding its life cycle and how it reproduces, and with the help of the species' own olfactory substances instead of chemical poisons, damage to grain could be reduced.

But research on the corn borer also made Lassance and Löfstedt wonder whether scents contribute to the evolution of new species. The two Lund researchers have analyzed the consistency of the olfactory compounds and also the genes of moth males from France, Hungary, and Slovenia, among other countries, and discovered that the males' pheromones differ. The male corn borer in France smells different from male moths in Slovenia or USA.

The Lund scientists have reported that females can use scents to distinguish where males come from, their age, and perhaps even how good their genes are for mating and reproduction. Lassance and Löfstedt propose that differences in pheromones may be a force that impels evolution among moths and butterflies. Females among the corn borers studied seem to prefer older males that produce a particular typical pheromone. This choice of partner increases their isolation from corn borers from different areas, which in turn can reinforce further the development of new species.

"Our research findings may come to alter our understanding of the role of olfactory compounds in the evolution of species," says Jean-Marc Lassance. "We show how males' and females' scent production is governed by the same genes and how they use similar pheromones in a chemical dialogue during mating."

The researchers' study is now published in the scientific journal BMC Biology.

For more information, please contact Jean-Marc Lassance, phone: +46 (0)46-222 20 484 or Christer Löfstedt, phone: +46 (0)46 - 222 93 38 (mailto:jean-marc.lassance@ekol.lu.se or christer.lofstedt@ekol.lu.se)

Pressofficer Lena Björk Blixt; Lena.Bjork_Blixt@kanslin.lu.se; +46-46 222 71 86

Link to the article in BMC Biology: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/7/10

BMC Biology 2009, 7:10; 3 March 2009

Lena Björk Blixt | idw
Further information:
http://www.pheromone.ekol.lu.se/ostrinia.html
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/7/10

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow
25.07.2017 | Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum für Experimentelle Biomedizin der Universität Würzburg

nachricht Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool
25.07.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>