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  • 1.
    Nieberding, Caroline M
    et al.
    Evolutionary Biology Group, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands.
    Fischer, Klaus
    Zoological Institute and Museum, Greifswald University, Johann-Sebastian-Bach Str. 11/12, 17489 Greifswald, Germany.
    Saastamoinen, Marjo
    Metapopulation Research Group, Department of BioSciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), FI-00014, Finland.
    Allen, Cerisse E
    Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula MT 59812, United States.
    Wallin, Erika A.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of applied science and design.
    Hedenström, Erik
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of applied science and design.
    Brakefield, Paul M
    University Museum of Zoology Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom.
    Cracking the olfactory code of a butterfly: the scent of ageing.2012In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 15, no 5, p. 415-424Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Ecology Letters (2012) 15: 415-424 ABSTRACT: Although olfaction is a primary mode of communication, its importance in sexual selection remains understudied. Here, using the butterfly Bicyclus anynana, we address all the parameters of importance to sexual selection for a male olfactory signal. We show that variation in the male sex pheromone composition indicates male identity and male age. Courting males of different ages display small absolute (c. 200 ng) but large relative (100%) change of one specific pheromone component (hexadecanal) which, unlike the other components, showed no heritability. Females prefer to mate with mid-aged over younger males and the pheromone composition is sufficient to determine this preference. Surprisingly refined information is thus present in the male olfactory signal and is used for sexual selection. Our data also reveal that there may be no 'lek paradox' to resolve once the precise signal of importance to females is identified, as hexadecanal is, as expected, depleted in additive genetic variation.

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