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Behav Genet. 2004 Jul;34(4):385-94.

Developmental isolation and subsequent adult behavior of Drosophila paulistorum. VI. Quantitative variation in cuticular hydrocarbons.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


Our previous studies have demonstrated that long-term chemical contact with heterospecifics during development minimized unproductive heterospecific matings among the six Drosophila paulistorum semispecies. When socially isolated from conspecifics, discrimination significantly decreased so that more ultimately unproductive heterospecific matings occurred. Such results suggest that learning and social experiences play roles in mate recognition, using chemical information. In investigations into the development of discriminatory behavior in D. paulistorum, social experiences influence the production of cuticular hydrocarbons in both sexes among the six different semispecies of D. paulistorum. Produced by both sexes, 2-methyl triacontane has been detected from egg stages on, gradually increasing with age. However, 11-docosenyl acetate, a male pheromone, was not produced until early adult stages. There were consistent significant differences in quantities and ratios of each of these hydrocarbons among the six semispecies, contributing to their reproductive isolation. Furthermore, we found significant quantitative differences in hydrocarbons between socially isolated flies and communally raised ones: Socially isolated flies produced significantly greater quantities of hydrocarbons than communally raised flies, consistent with previous behavioral data, as isolated flies court more vigorously and often.

Copyright 2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation

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