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:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
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
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences