Evolution of insect olfaction
Research report (imported) 2014 - Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
The sense of olfaction is crucial for many insect species. Up until now, a major hypothesis stated that the most important of the involved receptor families, the olfactory receptors, appeared in evolution when insects emerged unto land. However, the analysis of basal flightless insects demonstrated that this is not true. The more likely scenario is that these receptors appeared when insects started to fly: Due to the higher speeds, insects have to resolve odor vanes more quickly, a task for which older receptors were probably insufficient.