Physiology of interspecific chemical communication in Heliothis moths

THOMAS A. CHRISTENSEN, SABRINA C. GEOFFRION, JOHN G. HILDEBRAND

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract Electroantennograms were recorded from the antennae of adult male and female corn earworms, Heliothis zea (Boddie). A total of seventeen female moth sex pheromone components from several species were tested. Of these, two components elicited significantly greater responses than the other fifteen. These were (Z)‐11‐hexadecenal, a conspecific component, and (Z)‐9‐tetradecenal, a component found in the pheromone blend of a sympatric species H.virescens (F.) that inhibits attraction of H.zea males. The results from dose‐response and selective adaptation studies indicate that there are separate populations of receptors for these two chemical signals on the antenna of male H.zea. The more sensitive population is selective for (Z)‐11‐hexadecenal, while the less sensitive one responds to (Z)‐9‐tetradecenal. These findings provide a physiological basis by which H.zea males can distinguish the interspecific repellent from the conspecific pheromone blend. It is likely that this discrimination contributes to reproductive isolation between these two species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1990

Keywords

  • Electroantennogram
  • Heliothis virescens
  • Heliothis zea
  • Lepidoptera
  • Noctuidae.
  • corn earworm
  • sex pheromones
  • tobacco budworm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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