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Finding hidden females in a crowd: Mate recognition in fig wasps

Krishnan, Anusha and Joshi, Kanchan Anand and Abraham, Ambily and Ayyub, Shreya and Lahiry, Mohini and Mukherjee, Ritwika and Javadekar, Saniya Milind and Narayan, Vignesh and Borges, Renee M (2014) Finding hidden females in a crowd: Mate recognition in fig wasps. In: ACTA OECOLOGICA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 57 (SI). pp. 80-87.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2013.03.015


Multi-species mating aggregations are crowded environments within which mate recognition must occur. Mating aggregations of fig wasps can consist of thousands of individuals of many species that attain sexual maturity simultaneously and mate in the same microenvironment, i.e, in syntopy, within the close confines of an enclosed globular inflorescence called a syconium - a system that has many signalling constraints such as darkness and crowding. All wasps develop within individual galled flowers. Since mating mostly occurs when females are still confined within their galls,, male wasps have the additional burden of detecting conspecific females that are ``hidden'' behind barriers consisting of gall walls. In Ficus racemosa, we investigated signals used by pollinating fig wasp males to differentiate conspecific females from females of other syntopic fig wasp species. Male Ceratosolen fusciceps could detect conspecific females using cues from galls containing females, empty galls, as well as cues from gall volatiles and gall surface hydrocarbons. In many figs, syconia are pollinated by single foundress wasps, leading to high levels of wasp inbreeding due to sibmating. In F. racemosa, as most syconia contain many foundresses, we expected male pollinators to prefer non-sib females to female siblings to reduce inbreeding. We used galls containing females from non-natal figs as a proxy for non-sibs and those from natal figs as a proxy for sibling females. We found that males preferred galls of female pollinators from natal figs. However, males were undecided when given a choice between galls containing non-pollinator females from natal syconia and pollinator females from non-natal syconia, suggesting olfactory imprinting by the natal syconial environment. (C) 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to the GAUTHIER-VILLARS/EDITIONS ELSEVIER, 23 RUE LINOIS, 75015 PARIS, FRANCE
Keywords: Cuticular hydrocarbons; Extended phenotype; Mate recognition; Olfactory imprinting; Species recognition; Volatiles
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Division of Biological Sciences > Microbiology & Cell Biology
Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 06:50
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2014 06:50
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/49315

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