, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 111-118
Date: 19 Feb 2009

Sexual communication in the termite Prorhinotermes simplex (Isoptera, Rhinotermitidae) mediated by a pheromone from female tergal glands

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Abstract

We studied the post-flight behavior and sex attraction in imagoes of the termite Prorhinotermes simplex (Rhinotermitidae, Prorhinotermitinae). Pairing is mediated by the secretion from tergal glands, exposed by females in a calling posture and highly attractive to males. Analysis of extracts of these glands by means of gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection indicated a chromatographic area corresponding to an intense physiological response of males. The retention characteristics of this area proved to be identical with those of (3Z,6Z,8E)-dodeca-3,6,8-trien-1-ol. Electroantennographic and behavioral assays revealed that units of picograms of the compound represent a stimulus qualitatively and quantitatively equivalent to one female tergal gland. Thus, we hypothesize that (3Z,6Z,8E)-dodeca-3,6,8-trien-1-ol is a major component of the female sex pheromone in P. simplex.