Transfer, Perception, and Activity of Male Pheromone of Acrolepiopsis assectella with Special Reference to Conspecific Male Sexual Inhibition

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In the leek moth, Acrolepiopsis assectella, the male, stimulated by a calling female, produces a sexual pheromone that is active on the female. The male-produced pheromone blend contains eight alkanes previously isolated from the male hair-pencils. We used EAG techniques to study the effect of the pheromone on females reared on leek or on artificial diet and on males reared on leek. The optimal stimulation duration appeared to be 1.6 sec exposure to the pheromone or components. The concentrations tested on the antenna were of the order of 1012 molecules/cm3. The hair-pencil extract tested was of an estimated concentration of around 109 molecules/cm3. The antennal responses are expressed relative to responses to a standard, amyl acetate, but also as an absolute value. Generally, females reared on artificial diet and males reared on leek responded better than females reared on leek. Of the alkanes tested, those present in hair-pencils gave higher responses, with hexadecane always giving the strongest response. A possible inhibiting activity of male leek moth pheromone on the sexual behavior of conspecific males was investigated. The behavior of sexually stimulated males was observed in the presence of other males, hair-pencil extracts, and different compounds either pure or in a mixture. The experiments established that in this species, male pheromone inhibits wing fluttering duration of conspecific males. This inhibition was obtained not only with fluttering males as a source of pheromone but also with all the alkanes tested. The inhibition was due to hair-pencil chemicals, particularly if these were perceived by olfaction plus contact. Wing fluttering increased the inhibitory activity of male-derived alkanes.

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