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Pheromone production, male abundance, body size, and the evolution of elaborate antennae in moths

Symonds, Matthew R. E., Johnson, Tamara L. and Elgar, Mark A. 2012, Pheromone production, male abundance, body size, and the evolution of elaborate antennae in moths, Ecology and evolution, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 227-246.

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Title Pheromone production, male abundance, body size, and the evolution of elaborate antennae in moths
Author(s) Symonds, Matthew R. E.
Johnson, Tamara L.
Elgar, Mark A.
Journal name Ecology and evolution
Volume number 2
Issue number 1
Start page 227
End page 246
Total pages 20
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Place of publication West Sussex, U. K.
Publication date 2012-01
ISSN 2045-7758
Keyword(s) antennal morphology
forewing length
phylogenetic generalized least squares
sex pheromone
Summary The males of some species of moths possess elaborate feathery antennae. It is widely assumed that these striking morphological features have evolved through selection for males with greater sensitivity to the female sex pheromone, which is typically released in minute quantities. Accordingly, females of species in which males have elaborate (i.e., pectinate, bipectinate, or quadripectinate) antennae should produce the smallest quantities of pheromone. Alternatively, antennal morphology may be associated with the chemical properties of the pheromone components, with elaborate antennae being associated with pheromones that diffuse more quickly (i.e., have lower molecular weights). Finally, antennal morphology may reflect population structure, with low population abundance selecting for higher sensitivity and hence more elaborate antennae. We conducted a phylogenetic comparative analysis to test these explanations using pheromone chemical data and trapping data for 152 moth species. Elaborate antennae are associated with larger body size (longer forewing length), which suggests a biological cost that smaller moth species cannot bear. Body size is also positively correlated with pheromone titre and negatively correlated with population abundance (estimated by male abundance). Removing the effects of body size revealed no association between the shape of antennae and either pheromone titre, male abundance, or mean molecular weight of the pheromone components. However, among species with elaborate antennae, longer antennae were typically associated with lower male abundances and pheromone compounds with lower molecular weight, suggesting that male distribution and a more rapidly diffusing female sex pheromone may influence the size but not the general shape of male antennae.
Language eng
Field of Research 060808 Invertebrate Biology
060201 Behavioural Ecology
060309 Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, The Authors
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Created: Thu, 05 Apr 2012, 15:49:59 EST

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