Chemical Mate-tracking in Copepods: A Comparison of Hesperodiaptomus shoshone and Temora longicornis
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Males of the marine copepod species Temora longicornis have been seen to track the chemical trails of females in order to locate the female for mating. The males of one freshwater copepod, Hesperodiaptomus shoshone, have recently been observed to track the chemical trails of females. The actual following behaviors with respect to the trail were previously unknown, and have now been documented. Methods have been developed to allow for the analysis of the orientation with respect to a chemical trail. H. shoshone spends more time on the outside of the chemical trail when tracking than T. longicornis, which spins in a helical fashion on the inside of the trail. With a chemical trail of radius 0.5 mm, H. shoshone has an average distance from the trail of 0.90 mm ± 0.11, whereas T. longicornis has an average distance from the trail of 0.49 mm ± 0.39. Future studies will further elucidate the mechanisms used by these copepods and others to accurately locate mates, in an attempt to create models of mechanisms to be used in biologically-inspired chemical detection devices.