Self-referent phenotype matching and its role in female mate choice in arthropods

Carie B. Weddle, John Hunt, Scott K. Sakaluk
2013 Current Zoology  
A growing body of empirical evidence shows that females of many animal species gain benefits by mating polyandrously, and often prefer to mate with novel males over previous mates. Although a female preference for novel males has been demonstrated for multiple animal taxa, the mechanisms used by females to discriminate between novel and previous mates remain largely unknown. However, recent studies suggest that in decorated crickets Gryllodes sigillatus, females actually imbue males with their
more » ... e males with their own chemical cues, known as cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) during mating, and utilize chemosensory self-referencing to recognize recent mates. Here we review evidence that self-referent phenotype matching is a widespread mechanism of recognition in arthropods, and explore how CHCs are used to facilitate mate-choice decisions. There is substantial evidence that CHCs are used as recognition cues to discriminate between species, kin, sexes, mates, individuals, and self and non-self, and are used to facilitate mate-choice decisions in a wide range of arthropod taxa. There is also evidence that CHCs are often transferred between individuals during direct physical contact, including copulation. Chemosensory self-referencing via cuticular hydrocarbons could provide a simple, but reliable mechanism for identifying individuals from previous mating encounters. This mechanism does not require any specialized cognitive abilities because an individual's phenotype is always available for reference. Given the ubiquitous use of CHCs among arthropods, chemosensory self-referencing may be a widespread mechanism used by female arthropods to facilitate female mate-choice decisions and to enhance opportunities for polyandry [Current Zoology 59 (2): 239−248, 2013].
doi:10.1093/czoolo/59.2.239 fatcat:6bqmotlpqfbhthqbbxdjkzoyue