Chemical Communication in Chagas Disease Vectors. Source, Identity, and Potential Function of Volatiles Released by the Metasternal and Brindley's Glands of Triatoma infestans Adults
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- Manrique, G., Vitta, A.C.R., Ferreira, R.A. et al. J Chem Ecol (2006) 32: 2035. doi:10.1007/s10886-006-9127-7
Compounds from the metasternal and Brindley's glands of the blood-sucking bug, Triatoma infestans, were identified by solid phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Volatile compounds released by adult bugs during copulation or after mechanical disturbance were also characterized. Six compounds were identified and found consistently in all samples from metasternal glands. The most abundant were 3-pentanone, 2-methylbutanol, 3-pentanol, and an unidentified compound. The metasternal gland blends did not differ qualitatively between sexes. Compounds found in Brindley's glands were short chain acids, alcohols, esters, and a ketone with no qualitative differences between sexes. Isobutyric acid was the main component of this blend, and two new confirmed compounds were described as products of these glands: 2-butanone and 2-methylbutyric acid. 3-Pentanone was collected from the headspace over 33% of the copulating pairs of T. infestans. Volatiles found in the headspace of disturbed T. infestans adults included short-chain fatty acids, alcohols, esters, and ketones, with no qualitative differences between sexes. Both types of glands apparently discharge their contents after disturbance. However, most of the volatiles released by bugs after disturbance came from Brindley's glands. The locomotor activity of fourth instars increased significantly after stimulation with the odors emitted by disturbed adults, as compared with larvae stimulated by the odor of undisturbed adults or by clean air. We also studied the directional behavioral response of fifth instars to the disturbance scent in a locomotion compensator. Larvae exposed to volatiles released by disturbed adults walked away from the direction of the odor. The results suggest that this blend or part of it functions as an alarm pheromone for T. infestans. We suggest that the metasternal glands of this species are involved both in the sexual and the alarm contexts, and that the Brindley's glands probably have both alarm and defensive roles.