Journal Article

Pre-exposure Modulates Attraction to Sex Pheromone in a Moth

P. Anderson, M.M. Sadek and B.S. Hansson

in Chemical Senses

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 285-291
Published in print May 2003 | ISSN: 0379-864X
Published online May 2003 | e-ISSN: 1464-3553 | DOI:
Pre-exposure Modulates Attraction to Sex Pheromone in a Moth

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In behavioural experiments we investigated the influence of previous short exposure to sex pheromone on subsequent response of male Spodoptera littoralis moths to sex pheromone. We found that pre-exposed males showed increased sensitivity to female sex pheromone after a single exposure to a pheromone plume compared to that found in naïve males. The increased responsiveness lasted for at least 27 h after the exposure, showing that it was not just a short-term sensitization of the males. Exposure to the odour source without upwind movement towards the source was enough to increase the responsiveness. Physical activation without exposure to odour did not affect responsiveness. The increase in responsiveness after exposure was higher when the males were pre-exposed to natural female pheromone gland extract than when they were exposed to a higher dose of the main component, even though both odour sources elicited similar upwind attraction in naïve males. Thus, the quality of the pheromone mixture to which males were exposed influenced the subsequent response.

Keywords: Spodoptera littoralis; olfaction; Lepidoptera; mate finding; response threshold; odour detection

Journal Article.  5201 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Molecular and Cell Biology

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