Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 553–572

Biology of pheromone release by male caribbean fruit flies,Anastrepha suspensa (Diptera: Tephritidae)


  • James L. Nation
    • Department of Entomology and NematologyUniversity of Florida

DOI: 10.1007/BF01021786

Cite this article as:
Nation, J.L. J Chem Ecol (1990) 16: 553. doi:10.1007/BF01021786


Males of the Caribbean fruit fly,Anastrepha suspensa (Loew), typically form leks and attract females by releasing a multicomponent volatile pheromone. Previous reports have identified two nine-carbon alcohols, three lactones, a sesquiterpene, and a monoterpene in the volatiles. The present report is a study of the physiology of male pheromone release and of ecological and social interactions that influence pheromone release by laboratoryreared flies. Volatiles released by males were trapped on Tenax, eluted, separated, and quantitatively measured by gas chromatography. Experiments showed that the volatiles were primarily released from mouth and anus. Sealing the anal opening or the mouth with melted beeswax resulted in up to 40% or greater reduction in most components, and sealing both mouth and anus further reduced release of volatiles, but some volatiles are possibly still released directly from the cuticle. An anal pouch of everted tissue played a major role as a large evaporative surface for release of some of the volatile components. Male flies entrained to a 14∶10 light-dark cycle showed a peak release of volatiles at 11–12 hr into the photophase, but smaller quantities of the same volatiles were released over a broad period during the daylight hours. Laboratory-reared males peaked in pheromone release at 7–10 days and production and release continued through 35 days of age. Single males released significantly more of all components measured than did groups of males. The reduction by aggregations of males may be related to lekking behavior in this fruit fly. The pheromone probably serves to attract females to a lek site, but additional parameters are likely to enter into the choice of male made by the arriving female.

Key words

Anastrepha suspensaDipteraTephritidaefruit fliespheromonevolatileslekcircadian rhythmmating behavior

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990