The odour makes the difference: male moths attracted by sex pheromones ignore the threat by predatory bats
Förlag: Blackwell Publishing
How animals adjust their foraging or mate finding behaviour according to the risk of predation has received much attention recently. However, few studies have focused on the behaviour of prey when stimuli representing different adaptive behaviours originate from different sensory modalities. Here we present data on how male moths trade off odour-mediated mate attraction and auditory-mediated predator avoidance depending on the relative quality of the mate signal. Males of Agrotis segetum (Noctuidae) and Plodia interpunctella (Pyralidae), orienting towards a sex pheromone source in a flight tunnel, were exposed to ultrasound mimicking the echolocation calls of a bat, i.e. high predation risk. Males of both species accepted the predation risk when attracted to pheromone sources of high quality (female gland extract or complete synthetic blend at high dose), manifested in similar percentages reaching the pheromone source in moths with and without ultrasound exposure. In contrast, a lower proportion of ultrasound-exposed males than unexposed ones located the pheromone source when moths were flying towards pheromone sources of low quality (incomplete synthetic blend or complete synthetic blend at low dose), due to more time invested in defence manoeuvres. Furthermore, the risk taking behaviours of these moth species seem to be similar in spite of the fact that their ultrasonic hearing systems have evolved independently.
- Biological Sciences
- Pheromone Group
- ISSN: 0030-1299