J Syst Evol ›› 2022, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (1): 208-219.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12648

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Production and evolution pattern of “fruity smell” aggregation pheromones in genus Drosophila

Wu-Fan Zhang1,2, Lu-Mei Liu1,2, Shan He1,2, Bin-Yan Lu1*, and Yi-Bo Luo1   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2 College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

    *Author for correspondence. E‐mail: bylu@ibcas.ac.cn
  • Received:2020-01-18 Accepted:2020-05-29 Online:2020-06-12 Published:2022-01-01

Abstract: Insects produce pheromones to serve a range of ecological functions throughout their lifetime. The chemical composition, production pattern, and interspecies specificity provide information for carrying out their function and biological significance. Several species of Drosophila produce a class of volatile esters considered as “fruity smells”; however, the production pattern and ecological functions of these “fruity smell” volatiles in genus Drosophila are poorly understood. Here, using the headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME) method, we tested the production pattern of volatile pheromones in Drosophila immigrans and factors that possibly affected pheromone production, including mating, feeding conditions, age of adult flies, and geographical distribution. We also explored the evolution and production pattern of volatile pheromones in 14 species of genus Drosophila. Our result showed that male D. immigrans adult flies produce three male-specific volatile ester pheromones, which are also considered as “fruity smell” chemicals, in a relatively stable pattern. In addition, a series of “fruity smell” ester pheromones with similar structure and chemical properties were found to appear in the species of D. virilis and D. immigrans species group, but not in the species of D. melanogaster species group. The ester volatile pheromone production of male flies has a correspondence with the female's demand for host plants. Integrating the production and evolution pattern of these volatile chemicals, we inferred the interaction between insects and host plants reflected in the Drosophila “fruity smell” pheromones.

Key words: chemical communication, insect pheromone, plant–insect interaction, plant volatile