The evolution of cuticular fertility signals in eusocial insects

Adrian A. Smith, Juergen Liebig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A reproductive division of labor is a definitive characteristic of eusocial insect societies and it requires a means through which colony members can assess the presence and productivity of reproductive individuals. Cuticular hydrocarbons are the primary means of doing so across eusocial hymenopterans. However, recent experimental work presents conflicting views on how these chemical signals function, are interpreted by workers, and evolve. These recent advances include demonstrations of hydrocarbons as evolutionarily conserved ‘queen pheromones’ and as species-divergent ‘fertility signals’ used by both queens and workers. In this review, we synthesize conflicting studies into an evolutionary framework suggesting a transition of reproductive communication from cue-like signature mixtures, to learned fertility signals, to innate queen pheromones that evolved across eusocial insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Volume22
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

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queen pheromones
hydrocarbons
fertility
insect
pheromone
insect colonies
polyethism
insects
queen insects
hydrocarbon
Hymenoptera
labor division
communication
productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

Cite this

The evolution of cuticular fertility signals in eusocial insects. / Smith, Adrian A.; Liebig, Juergen.

In: Current Opinion in Insect Science, Vol. 22, 01.08.2017, p. 79-84.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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