Section: Zoology
Topic: Population biology, Ecology

Within and among population differences in cuticular hydrocarbons in the seabird tick Ixodes uriae

10.24072/pcjournal.164 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e51.

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The hydrophobic layer of the arthropod cuticle acts to maintain water balance, but can also serve to transmit chemical signals via cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC), essential mediators of arthropod behavior. CHC signatures typically vary qualitatively among species, but also quantitatively among populations within a species, and have been used as taxonomic tools to differentiate species or populations in a variety of taxa. Most work in this area to date has focused on insects, with little known for other arthropod groups such as ticks. The worldwide distribution and extensive host-range of the seabird tick Ixodes uriae make it a good model to study the factors influencing CHC composition. Genetically differentiated host-races of I. uriae have evolved across the distribution of this species but the factors promoting sympatric population divergence are still unknown. To test for a potential role of host-associated CHC in population isolation, we collected I. uriae specimens from two of its seabird hosts, the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) and the common guillemot (Uria aalge) in different colonies in Iceland. Using gas-chromatography and mass-spectrometry, we detected a complex cuticular mixture of 22 hydrocarbons, including n-alkanes, methyl-alkanes and alkenes ranging from 17 to 33 carbons in length. We found that each population had a distinct CHC profile. The host group explained the greatest amount of population divergence, with long-chain hydrocarbons being more abundant in puffin tick populations compared to guillemot tick populations. Future work will now be required to test whether the different CHC signals reinforce assortative mating, thereby playing a role in generating I. uriae population divergence patterns, and to evaluate diverse hypotheses on the origin of distinct population signatures.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.164
Type: Research article
Dupraz, Marlène 1; Leroy, Chloé 2; Thórarinsson, Thorkell Lindberg 3; d’Ettorre, Patrizia 2; McCoy, Karen D. 1

1 MIVEGEC, IRD, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier, Domaine La Valette - 900, rue Jean François BRETON 34090 Montpellier, France
2 Laboratoire d’Ethologie Expérimentale et Comparée UR 4443 (LEEC), Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, F-93430 Villetaneuse, France
3 Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre, 640 Húsavík, Iceland
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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     title = {Within and among population differences in cuticular hydrocarbons in the seabird tick {\protect\emph{Ixodes} uriae}},
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Dupraz, Marlène; Leroy, Chloé; Thórarinsson, Thorkell Lindberg; d’Ettorre, Patrizia; McCoy, Karen D. Within and among population differences in cuticular hydrocarbons in the seabird tick Ixodes uriae. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e51. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.164.

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.zool.100014

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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