Biological Sciences

2017 Strickland Entomology Seminar

At the University of Alberta, Edmonton, on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017. 
Refreshments at 3:30 pm, Strickland Lecture at 4:00-5:00 pm in Tory Breezeway 1 (TBW1)
The lecture will be given by: 
Dr. Scott Sakaluk
Department of Biological Sciences
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois
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Title: Polyandry and the evolution of chemosensory self-referencing in insects.

Abstract: A major focus of recent work on the evolution of animal mating systems has been to understand why females typically mate with many different males. An emerging consensus is that females mate with different males to obtain direct material benefits or indirect genetic benefits for their young. If this is true, we might expect females to forego mating with previous partners in favor of novel males and, in fact, a female preference for novel mating partners has been demonstrated in a number of taxa. But how do females recognize previous mates? Our earlier work on crickets provided a tantalizing clue: when females were given a choice between a male previously mated to the focal female’s inbred sister (‘familiar’ male) and a male mated to an unrelated female (“novel male”), they preferentially mated with the “novel” male. This result seemed to suggest that the focal female perceived chemical cues left on the male by her inbred sister as her own, and consequently identified the “familiar” male as a previous mating partner. In this seminar, I present the results of several integrated experiments that demonstrate conclusively that females utilize their own cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) as the underlying proximate basis for this type of chemosensory self-referencing. Given the pervasiveness of CHCs as recognition cues among arthropods, chemosensory self-referencing via CHCs is likely a ubiquitous mechanism by which females across a broad range of animal mating systems increase the diversity of their mating partners.