Analysis of female sex pheromone components and subsequent field trap experiments demonstrated that the bombycid moth Trilocha varians uses a mixture of (E,Z)-10,12-hexadecadienal (bombykal) and (E,Z)-10,12-hexadecadienyl acetate (bombykyl acetate) as a sex pheromone. Both of these components are derivatives of (E,Z)-10,12-hexadecadienol (bombykol), the sex pheromone of the domesticated silkmoth Bombyx mori. This finding prompted us to compare the antennal and behavioral responses of T. varians and B. mori to bombykol, bombykal, and bombykyl acetate in detail. The antennae of T. varians males responded to bombykal and bombykyl acetate but not to bombykol, and males were attracted only when lures contained both bombykal and bombykyl acetate. In contrast, the antennae of B. mori males responded to all the three components. Behavioral analysis showed that B. mori males responded to neither bombykal nor bombykyl acetate. Meanwhile, the wing fluttering response of B. mori males to bombykol was strongly inhibited by bombykal and bombykyl acetate, thereby indicating that bombykal and bombykyl acetate act as behavioral antagonists for B. mori males. T. varians would serve as a reference species for B. mori in future investigations into the molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of sex pheromone communication systems in bombycid moths.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics