Canadian Forest Service Publications

Are host plants important in pheromone-mediated mating systems of Lepidoptera? 1989. McNeil, J.N.; Delisle, J. Experientia (Basel) 45: 236-240.

Year: 1989

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 14166

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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The role of host plants in the synthesis and release of lepidopteran sex pheromones is examined. Females synthesise pheromones de novo and pheromone quality is not markedly influenced by larval food sources. However, host plants may have a significant effect on different physiological and behavioural parameters associated with pheromone production. Males in some species of Nymphalidae and Arctiidae use secondary plant compounds, such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids, as a pheromone precursor. In such cases these plant compounds serve an additional role, such as protection against predation, and may reflect potential male reproductive investment. In the one instance where the effect of larval host plants on the de novo synthesis of a male sex pheromone was examined, larval nutrition did not alter either the quality or quantity of the hairpencil contents.