Role of cuticular hydrocarbons for mate choice in seaweed flies
The seaweed fly, Coleopa frigida, inhabits accumulations of seaweeds on the shoreline. Due to the activity of the fly larvae, these "wrack beds" decompose quickly.
Evolutionary ecologists have long been interested in this seaweed fly species because of its inversion polymorphism on chromosome I. The inversion affects multiple traits that are important for the performance and fitness of the larvae and adult flies. Thus, choosing the right mate should increase fitness. In many insects, cuticular hydrocarbons are used as one of the primary cues to recognize, and possibly discriminate between species, sexes, and among kin.
Within this projects we study the role of cuticular hydrocarbons for mate choice in the C. frigida system, using a combination of analytical techniques and behaviour experiments.