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The smell of parents : breeding status influences cuticular hydrocarbon pattern in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides

Title data

Steiger, Sandra ; Peschke, Klaus ; Francke, Wittko ; Müller, Josef K.:
The smell of parents : breeding status influences cuticular hydrocarbon pattern in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides.
In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B : Biological Sciences. Vol. 274 (2007) . - pp. 2211-2220.
ISSN 1471-2954
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2007.0656

Abstract in another language

The waxy layer of the cuticle has been shown to play a fundamental role in recognition systems of insects. The biparental burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides is known to have the ability to discriminate between breeding and non-breeding conspecifics and also here cuticular substances could function as recognition cue. However, it has not yet been demonstrated that the pattern of cuticular lipids can reflect the breeding status of a beetle or of any other insect. With chemical analysis using coupled gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, we showed that the chemical signature of N. vespilloides males and females is highly complex and changes its feature with breeding status. Parental beetles were characterized by a higher amount of some unusual unsaturated hydrocarbons than beetles which are not caring for larvae. The striking correlation between cuticular profiles and breeding status suggests that cuticular hydrocarbons inform the beetles about parental state and thus enable them to discriminate between their breeding partner and a conspecific intruder. Furthermore, we found evidence that nutritional conditions also influence the cuticular profile and discuss the possibility that the diet provides the precursors for the unsaturated hydrocarbons observed in parental beetles. Our study underlines the fact that the cuticular pattern is rich of information and plays a central role in the burying beetles' communication systems.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER147486
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
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: 16 Apr 2019 07:40
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2019 07:40
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48413