, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 53-62

Species-specific natural products of adult male leaf-footed bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera)

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The 7–8th ventral abdominal gland secretions from 6 adult male leaf-footed bugs,Leptoglossus spp., and a related species,Euthochtha galeator, were chemically analyzed by GC-MS. Of the 11 volatile compounds identified, all but one of the compounds (n-octanol) were aromatic, including compounds with the familiar odors of cherries, vanilla, cinnamon, and roses. The preponderance of aromatics in the adult male ventral abdominal gland secretions contrasts sharply with the aliphatic compounds which comprise the metathoracic gland defensive secretions of adult males and females. Also, the male-specific secretions are species-specific, both qualitatively and quantitatively, whereas the metathoracic gland secretions of Coreoidea are only distinctive at the generic level. It is proposed that males were favored as the emitters of attractive signals by sexual selection, whereas the specificity of the signal is the result of natural selection against hybridization.