Chemical Communication and Insects
Pr Stephen Foster
Department of Entomology
North Dakota State University, Fargo ND58101, USA
IN RESIDENCE AT:
Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l'Insecte
Faculté des Sciences et Techniques
Communicating via chemicals is probably the oldest and most widespread form of communication amongst organisms, being present in simple unicellular organisms, such as bacteria, through to more complex multicellular organisms, such as plants and animals. Chemical messages between organisms are extraordinarily diverse in structure, ranging from simple common molecules, such as carbon dioxide, through to highly complex polymers, such as proteins. These messages can convey information about the sender to a receiver unintentionally or intentionally, with the benefits from reception of the message apparently accruing to both sender and receiver or just to one of them. In insects, the most diverse group of animals on the planet, chemical communication is especially important and widespread, being used for a large variety of functions, such as mate recognition and location, food finding, defense, kin (relatedness) recognition and organization of sociality (i.e., in insects that must live together to survive). In this talk, I will give a broad overview of the role of chemical communication in the lives of insects, as well as discussing some of the work we have been conducting at Tours.