Google Play icon

Moth females use scent proximity to attract mates

Share
Posted December 29, 2017

Female moths deemed unworthy or unattractive to male moths can increase their odds of attracting a mate by emitting their sex pheromones – their “come-hither” scents – in close proximity to attractive females, according to new research from North Carolina State University. The findings shed light on so-called satellite strategies used by animals to better their chances at finding mates.

Female moths can use satellite strategies to attract mates. Image credit: Jan van Arkel.

The research also showed that moths with attractive pheromones also benefitted when they were in close proximity to unattractive females, as discerning males chose them more frequently than if they were paired with another attractive female.

NC State entomologist Coby Schal and NC State and University of Amsterdam colleagues wanted to learn more about the sexual signaling efforts used by moths, a diverse group of insects with well-identified sex pheromones.

Using both lab wind-tunnel tests and tests on a research farm in Clayton, N.C., the researchers showed that unattractive females – those with a less attractive blend of sex pheromones – had little to no chance of finding a mate when on their own. But when in close proximity to an attractive female, the unattractive females were able to attract a male about 17 percent of the time.

“We suspect this has to do with the fact that males make ‘mistakes’ as they navigate closer to their target – the attractive female,” Schal said.

At the same time, attractive females benefitted from proximity to unattractive females. They mated sooner than attractive females that were searching for males alone or with other attractive females.

Schal says the findings broke some new ground in describing previously unseen satellite strategies in animal reproduction.

“These satellite strategies are always described in the scientific literature as male strategies, but here they’re being used by female moths,” Schal said. “Also, auditory and visual satellite strategies have been described, but our work here shows new findings with an olfactory strategy.”

Source: NSFNorth Carolina State University

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
85,500 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. New treatment may reverse celiac disease (October 22, 2019)
  2. The World's Energy Storage Powerhouse (November 1, 2019)
  3. "Helical Engine" Proposed by NASA Engineer could Reach 99% the Speed of Light. But could it, really? (October 17, 2019)
  4. Plastic waste may be headed for the microwave (October 18, 2019)
  5. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email