Coding and Evolution of Pheromone Preference in Moths

  • Teun Dekker
  • Zsolt KárpátiEmail author
Part of the Entomology Monographs book series (ENTMON)


Olfaction is of overriding importance in defining the ecological niche of most insect species. Understanding the inner workings of olfaction can thus provide new ways for sustainable control of pests. However, getting at the neurogenetic blueprint of ‘attraction’ has been a slow process, owing to the immensely diverse odor environments and the ditto multidimensional complexity of the sense that ‘navigates’ in these. Pheromone preference coding in male moths offers several important advantages here: an often-binary signal, mirrored by a ‘simple’ peripheral detection system, a strongly enlarged brain center devoted to its processing, and fast and robust behaviors. Additionally, to avoid mating with heterospecific females, preference is often disjunct between closely related species, offering a perfect platform for comparative and evolutionary studies on preference codes. Here we mine through the moth pheromone research database to surface correlates of pheromone preference in male moths, from peripheral detection by olfactory receptors and sensory neurons, to their processing in the antennal lobes, and discuss the significance in the context of general odor preference, evolution, and application.


Odor coding Pheromone preference Evolution 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.CAR HAS Plant Protection InstituteBudapestHungary

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