Diet alters species recognition (as it always does)

Karin S. Pfennig, Verónica G. Rodriguez Moncalvo, and Sabrina S. Burmeister

Biol. Lett. October 23, 2013 9 20130599; doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0599

Abstract: Whether environmental effects during juvenile development can alter the ontogeny of adult mating behaviour remains largely unexplored. We evaluated the effect of diet on the early expression of conspecific recognition in spadefoot toads, Spea bombifrons. We found that juvenile toads display phonotaxis behaviour six weeks post-metamorphosis. However, preference for conspecifics versus heterospecifics emerged later and was diet dependent. Thus, the environment can affect the early development of species recognition in a way that might alter adult behaviour. Evaluating such effects is important for understanding variation in hybridization between species and the nature of species boundaries.

My comment: Diet-dependent preferences manifested in adult mating behavior are clearly nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. That fact has been fully explored and detailed. The fact that diet-dependent conspecific recognition in these toads develops into a preference for conspecifics versus heterospecifics is another example of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution via conserved molecular mechanisms in species from microbes to man. No data from any experiment suggests that adaptive evolution occurs in any organism via any other means.

Instead, LeVay notes: My “… model is attractive in that it solves the “binding problem” of sexual attraction. By that I mean the problem of why all the different features of men or women (visual appearance and feel of face, body, and genitals; voice quality, smell; personality and behavior, etc.) attract people as a more or less coherent package representing one sex, rather than as an arbitrary collage of male and female characteristics. If all these characteristics come to be attractive because they were experienced in association with a male- or female-specific pheromone, then they will naturally go together even in the absence of complex genetically coded instructions.” (p. 210)

See also: Sexually dimorphic androgen and estrogen receptor mRNA expression in the brain of túngara frogs. “Our results suggest that sex steroid hormones have sexually dimorphic effects on auditory processing, sexual motivation, and possibly memory and, therefore, have important implications for sexual communication in this system.”

My comment: The regulation of sex steroid hormones is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled via the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input on vertebrate gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) in all vertebrates. The sensory environment modulates receptor-mediated mRNA expression in the brains of vertebrates and invertebrates via effects on hormones that affect behavior (sans mutations).

About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society