Publication Date: 2010.
In the moth, Agrotis ipsilon, newly mated males cease to be attracted to the female-produced sex pheromone, preventing them from re-mating until the next night, by which time they would have refilled their reproductive glands for a potential new ejaculate. The behavioural plasticity is accompanied by a decrease in neuron sensitivity within the primary olfactory centre, the antennal lobe (AL). However, it was not clear whether the lack of the sexually guided behaviour results from the absence of sex pheromone detection in the ALs, or if they ignore it in spite of detection, or if the sex pheromone itself inhibits attraction behaviour after mating. To test these hypotheses, we performed behavioural tests and intracellular recordings of AL neurons to non-pheromonal odours (flower volatiles), different doses of sex pheromone and their mixtures in virgin and newly mated males. Our results show that, although the behavioural and AL neuron responses to flower volatiles alone were similar between virgin and mated males, the behavioural response of mated males to flower odours was inhibited by adding pheromone doses above the detection threshold of central neurons. Moreover, we show that the sex pheromone becomes inhibitory by differential central processing: below a specific threshold, it is not detected within the AL; above this threshold, it becomes inhibitory, preventing newly mated males from responding even to plant odours. Mated male moths have thus evolved a strategy based on transient odour-selective central processing, which allows them to avoid the risk-taking, energy-consuming search for females and delay re-mating until the next night for a potential new ejaculate.
Author affiliation: Barrozo, Romina. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique; Francia. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Author affiliation: Gadenne, Christophe. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique; Francia
Author affiliation: Anton, Sylvia. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique; Francia
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas