Senior Project Advisor

Peterson, Merrill A., 1965-

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2000


Cuticular hydrocarbons, Chrysochus leaf beetles, Reproductive isolation


Reproductive isolation has been one major focus of current speciation research with two major lines of investigation; 1) the mechanisms and evolution of behavioral isolation and, 2) the genetic changes underlying reproductive isolation. The reproductive isolation between closely related insect species often involves chemical signaling systems, with one example being cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). The divergence in the chemical signaling systems is important in the evolution of pre-mating barriers in insects, thus CHCs may play an important role in the evolution of reproductive barriers. Behavioral divergence between closely related species is common and studies are beginning to show that these behavioral differences that result in species isolation have a genetic basis. We examined the evolution and genetic basis of reproductive isolation, using Chrysochus leaf beetles as a model system. Comparing CHC profiles, we assessed whether CHC profiles exhibit reproductive character displacement and whether CHC profiles are X-linked. Some aspects of CHC profiles were consistent with reproductive character displacement, while others were not. In the absence of knowledge regarding which specific CHCs govern mate choice, it is premature to determine if those key CHCs exhibit reproductive character displacement. There was no evidence to support the hypothesis of X-linkage of CHC profiles. These results will provide an important context for interpreting future studies on the evolution of mating cues in this system.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Chrysomelidae--Reproduction; Beetles--Evolution; Hybridization


student projects; term papers




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Rights Statement