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An emphasis is placed on the role of insect hydrocarbons in chemical communication, especially among the social insects. Includes the first review on the.
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Clearly presents to the reader the array of data, ideas, insights and historical disagreements that have been accumulated during the past half century. An emphasis is placed on the role of insect hydrocarbons in chemical communication, especially among the social insects. Includes the first review on the chemical synthesis of insect hydrocarbons.

The material presented is a major resource for current researchers and a source of ideas for new researchers.

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Perception and olfaction of cuticular compounds. Nestmate recognition in social insects and the role of hydrocarbons. Cuticular hydrocarbon cues in the formation and maintenance. Hydrocarbon profiles indicate fertility and dominance status. Chemical deceptionmimicry using cuticular hydrocarbons. Behavioral and evolutionary roles of cuticular hydrocarbons in Diptera. Contact recognition pheromones in spiders and scorpions.

Insect Cuticular Hydrocarbons as Dynamic Traits in Sexual Communication

Polyene hydrocarbons epoxides and related compounds as components. Volatile hydrocarbon pheromones from beetles. Future directions in hydrocarbon research. For example, Petfield et al. Consistent with this, Gershman et al. It is unclear to what extent these changes in CHC attractiveness can be attributed to changes in CHC signals versus changes in CHC preference, but both a circadian rhythm in CHC expression and sensitivity to the social environment have been found previously in the related D. Interestingly, there is some evidence for genetic variation for this CHC response to the social environment [ 66 ], as well as an empirical demonstration in D.

Together, these studies clearly oppose the idea of insect CHCs as invariant and static traits. Not only do we find plasticity across abiotic environments, but we see significant changes in CHC expression or CHC attractiveness within extremely short timeframes and in response to transient changes in the social environment.

Perhaps these findings should have been expected; first, because most insects express a daily cycle in sexual activity [ 69 ], the role of CHCs for signalling receptivity or attractiveness will mean that individuals will compete for mates most successfully when their CHC profile varies according to the circadian rhythm in behaviour. Second, because successful mate competition will require individuals to change their CHC expression in response to variation in social environment, the strength of sexual selection and the type of mate competition will vary extensively with exposure to different individuals and sex ratios.

The implications of changes in the social environment for sexual communication will be an important avenue for further research. Unlike abiotic environmental factors, the social environment is often transient and changeable, with the clear potential for strong selection on signalling traits through the social interactions that are intrinsic to sexual communication. Furthermore, the social environment, unlike abiotic factors, is usually subject to selection itself [ 70 ].

This is clearly illustrated by considering a focal individual and its surrounding competitors and potential mates. The social environment is, therefore, likely to largely determine the intensity and direction of sexual selection on mating signals and responses. As with abiotic factors and sexual selection discussed above, it will also be important to examine how social environmental factors interact with other forces of selection. The dynamic nature of insect CHC expression allows adaptive responses to changes in the environment, and this is likely to have consequences for selection on CHCs as sexual signals, as well as signal reliability across environments.

Moreover, CHC plasticity enables insects to respond to the social environment, with direct implications for sexual communication, as potential mates and mating competitors largely form the social environment. In order to fully understand the role of CHCs as sexual signals, further research needs to consider CHC signalling across different social and abiotic environments, with focus on both the signaller and the receiver.

Insect Hydrocarbons

I am grateful to Allan Debelle, Megan Head and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. I would also like to thank the European Social Fund for funding my previous research on insect cuticular hydrocarbons. Europe PMC requires Javascript to function effectively. Recent Activity. The snippet could not be located in the article text. This may be because the snippet appears in a figure legend, contains special characters or spans different sections of the article.

Published online Aug 4. PMID: Fiona C. Astrid Groot, Academic Editor. Received Apr 27; Accepted Jul This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Recent research has demonstrated extensive within-species variation in pheromone expression in insect species, contrary to the view that pheromones are largely invariant within species.

Keywords: CHCs, plasticity, sexual signals, social environment. Introduction Across many insect species, cuticular hydrocarbons CHCs have a fundamental protective role and contribute to resistance to desiccation [ 1 , 2 ]. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. CHCs as Condition-Dependent Sexual Signals A multitude of research has considered plasticity of sexual signals as condition-dependent, wherein signal expression provides information about mate quality and the signal acts as an honest indicator of condition see [ 38 , 39 ].

Conclusions The dynamic nature of insect CHC expression allows adaptive responses to changes in the environment, and this is likely to have consequences for selection on CHCs as sexual signals, as well as signal reliability across environments.

Acknowledgements I am grateful to Allan Debelle, Megan Head and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Conflicts of Interest The author declares no conflict of interest. References 1. Ferveur J. Cuticular hydrocarbons: Their evolution and roles in Drosophila pheromonal communication. Hadley N. Cuticular lipids of terrestrial plants and arthropods: A comparison of their structure, composition, and waterproofing function.

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Nestmate recognition in social insects and the role of hydrocarbons - Search

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Are Ants Better Communicators Than You?

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