Precopulatory sexual interaction in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix): Role of a pheromone derived from dietary alkaloids

  title={Precopulatory sexual interaction in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix): Role of a pheromone derived from dietary alkaloids},
  author={William E. Conner and Thomas Eisner and Robert K. vander Meer and {\'A}ngel Guerrero and Jerrold Meinwald},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
SummaryMales of Utetheisa ornatrix have a pair of brushlike glandular structures, the coremata, which they evert from the abdomen during close-range precopulatory interaction with the female. Males experimentally deprived of coremata are less acceptable to females. The principal chemical associated with the coremata, identified as a pyrrolizine (hydroxydanaidal), has a proven pheromonal role: males raised under conditions where they fail to produce hydroxydanaidal are also less likely to… 

Pheromone-mediated sexual selection in the mothUtetheisa ornatrix: Olfactory receptor neurons responsive to a male-produced pheromone

None of the antennal sensilla examined contained receptor neurons sensitive to a PA (monocrotaline) or its N-oxide, and the sensitivity and dynamic range of these receptor neurons were largely unaffected by whether the females were raised on an alkaloid-free diet or on a diet supplemented with Crotalariaseeds.

Dietary alkaloids and the development of androconial organs in Estigmene acrea

The size of the coremata and their commensurate pheromonal charge may have behavioral consequences in the unusual mating system of this species.

Quantitative and qualitative effects of larval diet on male scent secretions ofEstigmene acrea, Phragmatobia foliginosa, andPyrrharctia isabella (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae)

In feeding experiments with insects reared in the laboratory, the presence of the dihydropyrrolizines hydroxydanaidal and danaidal in the male scent organs (coremata) of the arctiids indicates that a small amount of pheromone is made from PAs transferred from the female to her eggs and that males effect copulatory transfers of PAs that are, in turn, passed to the eggs by the mated female.

Courtship pheromone production and body size as correlates of larval diet in males of the arctiid moth,Utetheisa ornatrix

Hydroxydanaidal, the corematal courtship pheromone of maleUtetheisa ornatrix, shows pronounced quantitative variation in natural populations of the moth, and could be used to gauge both the alkaloid content and body weight of their suitors.

Corematal function in Utetheisa ornatrix: interpretation in the light of data from field-collected males

Evidence presented here shows that field-collected males, which could be expected to be mostly non-virginal, are of reduced acceptability to females, explaining possibly why they should be held in lesser regard.

Male courtship pheromones as indicators of genetic quality in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix)

Using chemical analyses, it is determined that the HD signal does not change based on mating history, thereby supporting the importance of HD in advertising a male’s genetic quality.

A potential kairomone stimulates pheromone-responsive receptor neurons inUtetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae)

The olfactory receptor neurons in basiconic sensilla on the antennae of Utetheisa ornatrix are shown to be responsive to volatile substances in samples of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), indicating the evolution of a signaling system with these properties.

Female pheromonal chorusing in an arctiid moth, Utetheisa ornatrix

An unusual case of communal sexual display in the arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix is reported that is designated "female pheromonal chorusing", and it is argued that this biased sex ratio generates intrasexual competition among females, to which they respond by elevating signaling effort such that the likelihood of at least matching their neighbors' signals is increased.

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids quantitatively regulate both scent organ morphogenesis and pheromone biosynthesis in maleCreatonotos moths (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae)

It is the absolute amount of PAs ingested which determines the expression of corematal size, structurally different PAs have identical effects and PAs are no essential dietary factors for the general development of the moths.



A pheromone precursor and its uptake in maleDanaus butterflies

Summary1.MaleDanaus chrysippus butterflies the larvae of which have been raised indoors on their natural foodplants (Asclepias) lack the pyrrolizidinone pheromone (Fig. 1, I) which is known from the

Sex attractant of an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix): A pulsed chemical signal

It is argued that such temporal patterning — which had not previously been demonstrated for an airborne chemical signal — can provide close-range orientation cues to the male moth as it seeks out the female.

Sex Pheromone of the Queen Butterfly: Biology

Under certain experimental circumstances, the competence of these males was restored by addition of synthetic ketone, and they showed reduced seductive capacity.

Reinvestigation of oak leaf roller sex pheromone components and the hypothesis that they vary with diet.

The sex pheromone of the oak leaf roller, Archips semiferanus, was identified as a specific blend (67:33) of trans-11- and cis- 11-tetradecenyl acetates, which conflict with the hypothesis that the composition and perception of month sex phersomones vary with slight changes in diet.


The knowledge on pheromone biology in danaid butterflies, on relations between adult danaids and pyrrolizidine alkaloid‐containing plants, and on relations between danaid larvae and cardiac

Dihydropyrrolizine secretions associated with coremata ofUtetheisa moths (family Arctiidae)

Die Duftorgane der männlichen BärenspinnerUtetheisa pulchelloides undU. lotrix (Fam. Arctiidae) scheiden Dihydropyrrolizine aus, die im Typ den Pheromonen von Schmetterlingen der Subfamilie Danainae


The relationship between butterflies and their food plants is investigated, the examination of patterns of interaction between two major groups of organisms with a close and evident ecological relationship, such as plants and herbivores.


Chemical examination of the hairpencils of New Hebridean Danainae has extended the number of species known to secrete dihydropyrrolizines. Field observations and results obtained from butterflies

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

  • D. Robins
  • Chemistry
    Natural product reports
  • 1984
The present review follows the format of previous articles in this series and covers the literature up to early 1981, with a focus on pyrrolizidine alkaloids.