A pheromone bouquet controls the reproductive behaviour of the male shore crab, Carcinus maenas
Fletcher, Nichola; Terschak, John A.; Bartels-Hardege, Helga D.; Bublitz, Ralf; Schirrmacher, Paula; Hardege, Jorg D.
John A. Terschak
Dr Helga Bartels-Hardege H.Hardege@hull.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer, Director of Foundation Year Studies
Dr Jorg Hardege J.D.Hardege@hull.ac.uk
Reader in Chemical Ecology
The reproduction of many brachyuran crustaceans involves the formation of mating pairs often around the time of the female moult with attraction of a sexual partner and mating behaviour controlled by sex pheromones. In shore crabs, Carcinus maenas, females produce sex pheromones that are released in the urine. High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis (HPLC) of female urine shows that the pheromone, identified as the nucleotide uridine diphosphate (UDP), elutes as an unresolved peak with structurally related nucleotides. We examined female urine samples over the moult cycle and detected UDP as well as uridine triphosphate (UTP). Bioassays were conducted to establish the possibility of a blend of nucleotides forming a sex pheromone bouquet in C. maenas. Whilst UDP induced the male mate guarding behaviour (cradling), a mixture of the two nucleotides at a ratio of 4:1 UDP:UTP elicited an even stronger mating response than either UDP or UTP individually. The urine concentration and composition of these nucleotides changes over the moult period pre and post ecdysis, providing evidence that a pheromone bouquet composition is not always constant. The change of the bouquet is related to the physiological state of the sender, here the moult cycle. Our study unravels the functionality of reaction-specific molecules in a pheromone bouquet. Whilst UDP is the mating signal, UTP acts as an attractant and combined they maximise the reproductive response. The use of bouquets provides species-specificity, potentially enabling reproductive isolation of sympatric species, and contains valuable information on the physiological state of the sender.
Fletcher, N., Terschak, J. A., Bartels-Hardege, H. D., Bublitz, R., Schirrmacher, P., & Hardege, J. D. (2022). A pheromone bouquet controls the reproductive behaviour of the male shore crab, Carcinus maenas. Aquatic ecology, 56, 419–427. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-021-09930-w
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Dec 4, 2021|
|Online Publication Date||Dec 24, 2021|
|Deposit Date||Aug 10, 2022|
|Publicly Available Date||Aug 10, 2022|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
You might also like
Becoming nose-blind—Climate change impacts on chemical communication
Interspecific activity of the sex pheromone of the European shore crab (Carcinus maenas)
Sex pheromones: New tools for controlling European green crabs?
Nephrops Fisheries in European Waters