The survival advantage of olfaction in a competitive environment

Curr Biol. 2008 Aug 5;18(15):1153-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.06.075.


Olfaction is generally assumed to be critical for survival because this sense allows animals to detect food and pheromonal cues. Although the ability to sense sex pheromones [1, 2, 3] is likely to be important for insects, the contribution of general odor detection to survival is unknown. We investigated the extent to which the olfactory system confers a survival advantage on Drosophila larvae foraging for food under conditions of limited resources and competition from other larvae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Cues
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / physiology
  • Mutation
  • Odorants
  • Population Density
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Smell / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Orco protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Odorant