Males and females of the social wasp Ropalidia marginata do not differ in their cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and do not seem to use any long-distance volatile mate attraction cues

A. Mitra*, R. Palavalli Nettimi, A. Ramachandran, P. Saha, R. Gadagkar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sex pheromones are vital in communication between individuals belonging to opposite sexes and form an integral part of the reproductive biology of various species. Among insects, sexual dimorphism in CHCs has been reported from diverse taxa spanning seven different orders, and thereby CHCs have been implicated as sex pheromones. Because males and females of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata touch each other with their antennae during mating, before engaging in sperm transfer, a sex pheromone that is perceived via contact chemosensation through the antennae can possibly exist in this species. Since CHCs have been implied as sex pheromones in various insects (including hymenopterans), and since sexual dimorphism of CHCs should be an obligatory prerequisite for them to act as sex pheromones, we investigated whether males and females of R. marginata differ in their CHC profiles. We found only nonvolatile CHCs, and our results show absence of sexual dimorphism in CHCs, suggesting that CHCs do not function as sex pheromone in this species. A behavioral assay failed to show presence of mate attraction at a distance, thereby showing the absence of volatile long-distance mate attraction cues (that may originate from sources other than and in addition to CHCs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Volume62
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cuticular hydrocarbons
  • mate attraction
  • Ropalidia marginata
  • sex pheromone
  • sexual dimorphism

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