Moths use ultrasounds as well as pheromones for sexual communication. In closely related moth species, variations in ultrasounds and pheromones are likely to profoundly affect mate recognition, reproductive isolation, and speciation. The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, and its Asian congeners, Ostrinia furnacalis and Ostrinia scapulalis, exhibit withinspecies and between-species variation in their pheromone communication. Recently, we reported ultrasound communication in O. furnacalis; however, variations in ultrasounds in the three congeners have not been addressed to date. Here we investigated features of ultrasound production and hearing in O. nubilalis and O. scapulalis, and compared them with those of O. furnacalis. As in O. furnacalis, males of O. nubilalis and O. scapulalis produced ultrasounds during courtship by rubbing specialized scales on the wings against scales on the thorax. The covering of these scales with nail polish muffled the sounds and significantly reduced mating success in O. nubilalis, showing the importance of ultrasound signaling in mating. The ultrasounds produced by O. nubilalis and O. scapulalis were similar, consisting of long trains of pairs of pulses with a main energy at 40 kHz, but distinctly different from the ultrasound produced by O. furnacalis, consisting of groups of pulses peaking at 50 kHz and with substantially more energy up to 80 kHz. Despite overall similarities, temporal features and patterns of amplitude modulation differed significantly among the geographic populations of O. nubilalis and O. scapulalis, which differed in pheromone type. In contrast, no significant difference in hearing was found among the three species with regard to the most sensitive frequencies and hearing threshold levels. The patterns of variations in the songs and pheromones well reflected those of the phylogenetic relationships, implying that ultrasound and pheromone communications have diverged concordantly. Our results suggest that concordant evolution in sexual signals such as courtship ultrasounds and sex pheromones occurs in moths.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)