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A nonspecific defensive compound evolves into a competition avoidance cue and a female sex pheromone

Title data

Weiss, Ingmar ; Rössler, Thomas ; Hofferberth, John ; Brummer, Michael ; Ruther, Joachim ; Stökl, Johannes:
A nonspecific defensive compound evolves into a competition avoidance cue and a female sex pheromone.
In: Nature Communications. Vol. 4 (2013) . - No. 2767.
ISSN 2041-1723
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3767

Abstract in another language

The evolution of chemical communication and the origin of pheromones are among the most challenging issues in chemical ecology. Current theory predicts that chemical communication can arise from compounds primarily evolved for non-communicative purposes but experimental evidence showing a gradual evolution of non-informative compounds into cues and true signals is scarce. Here we report that females of the parasitic wasp Leptopilina heterotoma use the defensive compound (−)-iridomyrmecin as a semiochemical cue to avoid interference with con- and heterospecific competitors and as the main component of a species-specific sex pheromone. Although competition avoidance is mediated by (−)-iridomyrmecin alone, several structurally related minor compounds are necessary for reliable mate attraction and recognition. Our findings provide insights into the evolution of insect pheromones by demonstrating that the increasing specificity of chemical information is accompanied by an increasing complexity of the chemical messengers involved and the evolution of the chemosensory adaptations for their exploitation.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER147440
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sandra Steiger
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2019 14:29
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2019 14:29
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48368