The Mothematics of Female Pheromone Signaling: Strategies for Aging Virgins

  title={The Mothematics of Female Pheromone Signaling: Strategies for Aging Virgins},
  author={Kate D. L. Umbers and Matthew R. E. Symonds and Hanna Kokko},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  pages={417 - 432}
Although females rarely experience strong mate limitation, delays or lifelong problems of mate acquisition are detrimental to female fitness. In systems where males search for females via pheromone plumes, it is often difficult to assess whether female signaling is costly. Direct costs include the energetics of pheromone production and attention from unwanted eavesdroppers, such as parasites, parasitoids, and predators. Suboptimal outcomes are also possible from too many or too few mating… 

Strategic pheromone signalling by mate searching females of the sexually cannibalistic spider Argiope bruennichi

In support of the strategic-signalling hypothesis, pheromone signals by female A. bruennichi become stronger with increased need as well as body condition, and might thus qualify as an honest signal of female quality.

Female Sexual Signaling in a Capital Breeder, the European Glow-Worm Lampyris noctiluca

Theory predicts that because costs constrain female sexual signaling, females are expected to have a low signaling effort that is increased with passing time until mating is secured, but it was found that the duration offemale sexual signaling significantly decreased with time.

Moth Mating: Modeling Female Pheromone Calling and Male Navigational Strategies to Optimize Reproductive Success

This work develops a mathematical framework to investigate the overall mating likelihood, the mean first arrival time, and the quality of the first male to reach the female for four experimentally observed female calling strategies unfolding over a typical one-week mating period and suggests that females can optimize the mating process.

Males perceive honest information from female released sex pheromone in a moth

It is suggested that the pheromone blend may serve as a multicomponent signal whereby each component adds information concerning the current condition of the female, and all are necessary to elicit a mate searching response.

Sex pheromones in mate assessment: analysis of nutrient cost of sex pheromone production by females of the moth Heliothis virescens

Pheromone biosynthesis uses insignificant quantities of the nutrients available and therefore imposes negligible metabolic cost to the moth Heliothis virescens, and is unlikely to impose a significant metabolic cost on females.

Old maids have more appeal: effects of age and pheromone source on mate attraction in an orb-web spider

The results suggest that females modulate their investment in signalling according to the risk of remaining unmated and that they thereby economize on the costs associated with pheromone production and emission.

Sex pheromone signal and stability covary with fitness

This study is the first to report a correlation between fitness and sex pheromone composition in moths, solidifying previous indications of condition-dependent moth pheramones and highlighting how signal-fitness covariance may contribute to heritable variation in chemical signals both among and within individuals.

Males perceive honest information from female released sex pheromone in a moth

It is shown that more and precise information is conveyed through the female sex pheromone, positioning it as an honest sexual trait, and it is demonstrated that females in bad physical conditions lay significantly fewer eggs than females in good conditions.

Socially cued anticipatory adjustment of female signalling effort in a moth

This research investigates how juvenile population density influences the ‘calling' (pheromone-releasing) behaviour of females and the attractiveness of their pheromones in gumleaf skeletonizer moths and finds that males prefer pheromonal attractiveness produced by females reared at high juvenile densities.

Experimental evolution reveals that population density does not affect moth signalling behaviour and antennal morphology

It is suggested that although population density has the ability to create plastic changes in both morphological and behavioural traits, this factor alone is unlikely to be causing evolutionary change in male and female signalling in this species.




It is suggested that female signaling for males using sex pheromones bears a cost and thus calling may serve as honest advertisement for female quality.

Signal Honesty through Differential Quantity in the Female-Produced Sex Pheromone of the Moth Heliothis virescens

It is demonstrated, for the first time in moths, that a female-produced pheromone signal can allow H. virescens males to assess sugar resources (quality) of a female.

Sperm as a limiting factor in mating success in Hymenoptera parasitoids

The spermatogeny index and the mating structure of a species will therefore influence the probability and intensity of sperm depletion in males, and females that mate with partially or completely sperm‐depleted males produce a constrained sex ratio that decreases their lifetime fitness.

Detection of female mating status using chemical signals and cues

  • M. Thomas
  • Biology, Psychology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2011
Evidence that chemical cues and signals are used widely by males to discriminate between mated and unmated females is reviewed, and the mechanisms by which female odour changes post‐mating are explored.

Female mating failures in insects

Empirical and experimental studies reporting the probability that some females remain unmated in field populations of insects (defined herein as mating failures) are reviewed in more than 100 species, suggesting a higher mating success in butterflies than moths.

When mating disruption does not disrupt mating: fitness consequences of delayed mating in moths

Across species, the effect of delayed mating on female moths significantly decreases fecundity, fertility, and pre‐oviposition period and increases female longevity, and it is argued that delayed mating can be an important method by which population regulation is achieved through pheromone‐mediated mating disruption.

The evolution of female sex pheromones

It is suggested that the three selection types acting on sex pheromones of female moths are not mutually exclusive but rather act together to promote different fitness components in diverse ecological situations.

The evolution of polyandry: multiple mating and female fitness in insects

A meta-analysis of 122 experimental studies addressing the direct effects of multiple mating on female fitness in insects shows that females gain directly from multiple matings in terms of increased lifetime offspring production, and supports the existence of an intermediate optimal female mating rate.

An estimate of female mate searching costs in the lekking butterfly Coenonympha pamphilus

The cost to females of the lekking butterfly Coenonympha pamphilus of visiting males on leks instead of taking off and soliciting courtship from males passing them outside leks, as occurs in the non-lekking congener C. tullia, is larger than has been reported earlier, but is probably too small to eliminate the possibility of indirect benefits of mating with males onLeks.


It is suggested that changes in choosiness between populations, and in particular between virgin and mated females, offer an efficient way to test the hypothesis that male limitation form a selection for female traits that improve their mating rate.