An Aphrodisiac Blend

Green-veined White

Green-veined White Butterfly
Photo: Charlesjsharp

The pheromones of female moths have been extensively studied. Many contain blends of the isomers of a single chemical. The correct ratio of the isomers is necessary to maximize a behavioral response. In many butterflies, the male, not the female produces a scent that is used in mate recognition. Males of Pieris napi, (the green-veined white butterfly) emit the cis and trans isomers of citral: neral and geranial. For females to respond, both isomers must be emitted. A 1:1 ratio elicits the greatest response. The requirement for more than one chemical in a specific ratio enables a female to differentiate a courting male from plants or other sources of citral.

*Helena Larsdotter-Mellström,Kerstin Eriksson, Ilme Liblikas I, Christer Wiklund, Anna K. Borg-Karlson, Sören Nylin, Niklas Janz,1 and Mikael A. Carlsson. It’s All in the Mix: Blend-Specific Behavioral Response to a Sexual Pheromone in a Butterfly. Front Physiol. 2016; 7: 68.
doi:  10.3389/fphys.2016.00068

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, Biomaterials, by jjneal. Bookmark the permalink.

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