Male Sexual Behavior and Pheromone Emission Is Enhanced by Exposure to Guava Fruit Volatiles in Anastrepha fraterculus.
ABSTRACT: Plant chemicals can affect reproductive strategies of tephritid fruit flies by influencing sex pheromone communication and increasing male mating competitiveness.We explored whether exposure of Anastrepha fraterculus males to guava fruit volatiles and to a synthetic blend of volatile compounds released by this fruit affects the sexual performance of wild and laboratory flies. By means of bioassays and pheromone collection we investigated the mechanism underlying this phenomenon.Guava volatile exposure enhanced male mating success and positively affected male calling behavior and pheromone release in laboratory and wild males. Changes in male behavior appear to be particularly important during the initial phase of the sexual activity period, when most of the mating pairs are formed. Exposure of laboratory males to a subset of guava fruit volatiles enhanced mating success, showing that the response to the fruit might be mimicked artificially.Volatiles of guava seem to influence male mating success through an enhancement of chemical and physical signals related to the communication between sexes. This finding has important implications for the management of this pest species through the Sterile Insect Technique. We discuss the possibility of using artificial blends to improve the sexual competitiveness of sterile males.
Project description:Exposure to plant compounds and analogues of juvenile hormone (JH) increase male mating success in several species of tephritid fruit flies. Most of these species exhibit a lek mating system, characterized by active female choice. Although the pattern of enhanced male mating success is evident, few studies have investigated what benefits, if any, females gain via choice of exposed males in the lek mating system. In the South American fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus, females mate preferentially with males that were exposed to volatiles released by guava fruit or treated with methoprene (a JH analogue). Here, we tested the hypothesis that female choice confers direct fitness benefits in terms of fecundity and fertility. We first carried out mate choice experiments presenting females with males treated and non-treated with guava volatiles or, alternatively, treated and non-treated with methoprene. After we confirmed female preference for treated males, we compared the fecundity and fertility between females mated with treated males and non-treated ones. We found that A. fraterculus females that mated with males exposed to guava volatiles showed higher fecundity than females mated to non-exposed males. On the other hand, females that mated methoprene-treated males showed no evidence of direct benefits. Our findings represent the first evidence of a direct benefit associated to female preference for males that were exposed to host fruit odors in tephritid fruit flies. Differences between the two treatments are discussed in evolutionary and pest management terms.
Project description:The West Indian fruit fly, Anastrepha obliqua (Macquart), is the second most important tephritid fruit fly in Mexico, infesting mango, hog plum and guava fruits. To control this pest, the Mexican government has implemented the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT), which involves the mass production, sterilization and release of flies. However, the A. obliqua laboratory males used in SIT are selected to a lesser extent by the wild females during competitiveness tests. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of males fed on fruit fly food enriched with Providencia rettgeri to those in males fed on food alone, assessing male mating competitiveness, capture of females using traps baited with males fed with the enriched diet and sex pheromone components. The results indicated that males fed with the diet enriched with P. rettgeri had increased mating competitiveness and captured more females in the field cage tests. However, no difference was observed in the proportion of volatile sex pheromone components identified during the calling of A. obliqua males. The results suggest the value of incorporating bacteria into the mass rearing technique of A. obliqua adults in order to improve the sexual competitiveness of males from the laboratory compared to wild males.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Contrary to other Tephritidae, female but also male olive flies, Bactrocera oleae release pheromones during their sexual communication. Alpha-pinene, a common plant volatile found in high amounts in unripe olive fruit and leaves has been detected as one of the major components of the female pheromone. However, possible effects of ?-pinene and that of other host volatiles on the mating behavior of the olive fly have not been investigated.<h4>Methodology</h4>Using wild olive flies, reared on olive fruit for 3 generations in the laboratory, we explored whether exposure of male and female olive flies to ?-pinene affects their sexual performance.<h4>Results</h4>Exposure of sexually mature adult olive flies to the aroma of ?-pinene significantly increases the mating performance over non-exposed individuals. Interestingly, exposure to ?-pinene boosts the mating success of both males and female olive flies.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This is the first report of such an effect on the olive fly, and the first time that a single plant volatile has been reported to induce such a phenomenon on both sexes of a single species. We discuss the possible associated mechanism and provide some practical implications.
Project description:Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) synergize with the sex pheromones of herbivorous insects to facilitate mate location. However, the synergism of HIPVs and acoustic signals for sexual communication remains unknown. Here, we investigated the synergy between HIPVs and vibrational duets for sexual communication and mating in the pea leafminer ( Liriomyza huidobrensis). Our results indicated that adult leafminers do not produce species-specific pheromone, and female-puncture-induced plant volatiles facilitate the attraction of both sexes to host plant leaves and sexual encounters. Insect-derived cues do not participate in mate locations. Both sexes do not produce qualitatively different cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), and CHCs from females cannot elicit the antennal and behavioural responses of males. By contrast, induced green leaf volatiles, terpenoids and oximes elicit dramatic antennal responses in both sexes. Electrophysiological and behavioural tests consistently showed that the volatiles (Z)-3-hexenol and (Z)-3-hexenyl-acetate elicited the most intense gas chromatographic-electroantennographic responses, and attracted males and females. Remarkably, these volatiles significantly promoted the occurrence of vibrational duets between the sexes, thereby increasing the mating success of leafminers. Therefore, the synergism of HIPVs and vibrational signals largely promoted the mating success of leafminers, suggesting an alternative control strategy through precision trapping for non-pheromone-producing insects. This article is part of the theme issue 'Biotic signalling sheds light on smart pest management'.
Project description:Inbreeding depression results from mating among genetically related individuals and impairs reproductive success. The decrease in male mating success is usually attributed to an impact on multiple fitness-related traits that reduce the general condition of inbred males. Here, we find that the production of the male sex pheromone is reduced significantly by inbreeding in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Other traits indicative of the general condition, including flight performance, are also negatively affected in male butterflies by inbreeding. Yet, we unambiguously show that only the production of male pheromones affects mating success. Thus, this pheromone signal informs females about the inbreeding status of their mating partners. We also identify the specific chemical component (hexadecanal) probably responsible for the decrease in male mating success. Our results advocate giving increased attention to olfactory communication as a major causal factor of mate-choice decisions and sexual selection.
Project description:Postcopulatory sexual selection due to sperm competition and/or cryptic female choice has been documented in a diversity of taxonomic groups and is considered a pivotal component of sexual selection. Despite this apparent importance, the relative contribution of postcopulatory fertilization success to overall sexual selection has not yet been measured in any species. Here, we used a laboratory-adapted population of the promiscuous fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to partition the variance in male reproductive success into mating success (a major component of precopulatory sexual selection) and fertilization success (a major component of postcopulatory sexual selection). We found that fertilization success contributed nearly as strongly as mating success to a male's net performance in sexual selection, but that most of this postcopulatory component was attributable to variation in male mating order (the tendency to be the last male to mate a female). After adjusting for mating order, only ?2% of the residual variation in male reproductive success was attributable to differential fertilization success. We found no correlation between male mating success and fertilization success in this system. Unlike natural populations of Drosophila, our laboratory population is adapted to a semelparous lifecycle, so our findings will be most applicable to other promiscuous species with strong sperm precedence and one short breeding period per year or lifetime. In these species, fertilization success may have as much influence on male reproductive success as mating success, but the timing of mating (mating order) may be the predominant factor contributing to variation in fertilization success.
Project description:Mating has profound effects on animal physiology and behaviour, not only in females but also in males, which we show here for olfactory responses. In cotton leafworm moths, Spodoptera littoralis, odour-mediated attraction to sex pheromone and plant volatiles are modulated after mating, producing a behavioural response that matches the physiological condition of the male insect. Unmated males are attracted by upwind flight to sex pheromone released by calling females, as well as to volatiles of lilac flowers and green leaves of the host plant cotton, signalling adult food and mating sites, respectively. Mating temporarily abolishes male attraction to females and host plant odour, but does not diminish attraction to flowers. This behavioural modulation is correlated with a response modulation in the olfactory system, as shown by electro-physiological recordings from antennae and by functional imaging of the antennal lobe, using natural odours and synthetic compounds. An effect of mating on the olfactory responses to pheromone and cotton plant volatiles but not to lilac flowers indicates the presence of functionally independent neural circuits within the olfactory system. Our results indicate that these circuits interconnect and weigh perception of social and habitat odour signals to generate appropriate behavioural responses according to mating state.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Sex pheromone communication systems may be a major force driving moth speciation by causing behavioral reproductive isolation via assortative meeting of conspecific individuals. The 'E' and 'Z' pheromone races of the European corn borer (ECB) are a textbook example in this respect. 'Z' females produce and 'Z' males preferentially respond to a 'Z' pheromone blend, while the 'E' race communicates via an 'E' blend. Both races do not freely hybridize in nature and their populations are genetically differentiated. A straightforward explanation would be that their reproductive isolation is a mere consequence of "assortative meeting" resulting from their different pheromones specifically attracting males towards same-race females at long range. However, previous laboratory experiments and those performed here show that even when moths are paired in a small box - i.e., when the meeting between sexual partners is forced - inter-race couples still have a lower mating success than intra-race ones. Hence, either the difference in attractivity of E vs. Z pheromones for males of either race still holds at short distance or the reproductive isolation between E and Z moths may not only be favoured by assortative meeting, but must also result from an additional mechanism ensuring significant assortative mating at close range. Here, we test whether this close-range mechanism is linked to the E/Z female sex pheromone communication system. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using crosses and backcrosses of E and Z strains, we found no difference in mating success between full-sisters emitting different sex pheromones. Conversely, the mating success of females with identical pheromone types but different coefficients of relatedness to the two parental strains was significantly different, and was higher when their genetic background was closer to that of their male partner's pheromone race. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We conclude that the close-range mechanism ensuring assortative mating between the E and Z ECB pheromone races is unrelated to the difference in female sex pheromone. Although the nature of this mechanism remains elusive, our results show that it is expressed in females, acts at close range, segregates independently of the autosome carrying Pher and of both sex chromosomes, and is widely distributed since it occurs both in France and in the USA.
Project description:The response of individual animals to mating signals depends on the sexual identity of the individual and the genetics of the mating targets, which represent the mating social context (social environment). However, how social signals are sensed and integrated during mating decisions remains a mystery. One of the models for understanding mating behaviors in molecular and cellular terms is the male courtship ritual in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). We have recently shown that a subset of gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) that are enriched in the male appendages and express the ion channel ppk23 play a major role in the initiation and maintenance of male courtship via the perception of cuticular contact pheromones, and are likely to represent the main chemosensory pathway that influences mating decisions by males. Here we show that genetic feminization of ppk23-expressing GRNs in male flies resulted in a significant increase in male-male sexual attraction without an apparent impact on sexual attraction to females. Furthermore, we show that this increase in male-male sexual attraction is sensory specific, which can be modulated by variable social contexts. Finally, we show that feminization of ppk23-expressing sensory neurons lead to major transcriptional shifts, which may explain the altered interpretation of the social environment by feminized males. Together, these data indicate that the sexual cellular identity of pheromone sensing GRNs plays a major role in how individual flies interpret their social environment in the context of mating decisions.
Project description:The male butterfly Pieris napi produces the anti-aphrodisiac pheromone methyl salicylate (MeS) and transfers it to the female during mating. After mating she releases MeS, when courted by conspecific males, which decreases her attractiveness and the duration of male harassment, thus increasing her time available for egg-laying. In previous studies we have shown that males produced MeS from the amino acid L-phenylalanine (L-Phe) acquired during larval stage. In this study we show that adult males of P. napi can utilize L-Phe and aromatic flower volatiles as building blocks for production of anti-aphrodisiac pheromone and transfer it to females during mating. We demonstrate this by feeding butterflies with stable isotope labelled molecules mixed in sugar solutions, and, to mimic the natural conditions, we fed male butterflies with floral nectar of Bunias orientalis plants treated with labelled L-Phe. The volatiles from butterflies and plants were collected and identified by solid phase micro extraction, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques. Since P. napi is polygamous, males would gain from restoring the titre of MeS after mating and the use of aromatic precursors for production of MeS could be considered as an advantageous trait which could enable butterflies to relocate L-Phe for other needs.