How do sex pheromones evolve? While we as humans may be visual creatures, for most of the animal kingdom chemical communication reigns supreme. In collaboration with collegues at the University of Helsinki and Amsterdam I study the causes and consequences of intra-species variation in pheromone signalling in a variety of systems.
Female sex pheromone in the Wood tiger moth – a hidden mechanism promoting polymorphism?
The wood tiger moth has long been studied for it’s highly variable colours, but it’s sexual communication is much less understood. Supervised by myself, Johanna Mappes and Astrid Groot, Chiara de Pasqual is working both to characterise the female sex pheromone of this species, and examine how females, which silently carry the genes that underlie male colour polymorphism, differ in their attractiveness.
Photo credit: Liesbeth Dingemans