Pheromone-mediated aggregation in nonsocial arthropods: an evolutionary ecological perspective

B. Wertheim, E-J.A. van Baalen, M. Dicke, L.E.M. Vet

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    Although the use of aggregation pheromones has been reported for hundreds of nonsocial arthropod species, the evolutionary ecological aspects of this behavior have received little attention. Despite the elaborate literature on mechanisms, robust data on costs and benefits of aggregation pheromones are scant. Existing literature indicates that, in contrast to the diversity of mechanisms, the ecological conditions in which aggregation pheromones are used are more alike. This points to a few general categories for costs and benefits of aggregation pheromones, and these are discussed. We subsequently review interspecific interactions that may be affected by the use of aggregation pheromones. We encounter a strikingly frequent association of aggregation pheromones with fungi and microorganisms and address cross-attraction by competitor species and exploitation by natural enemies. We show that aggregative behavior by individuals through the use of pheromones can profoundly affect ecological interactions and advocate further evolutionary and ecological investigations of pheromone-mediated aggregation. [KEYWORDS: Infochemical ; costs ; benefits ; ecological interactions ; community ecology]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)321-346
    JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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