, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 191–194 | Cite as

Alarm substance in Gyrinus aeratus (Coleoptera, Gyrinidae)

  • Britt-Inger Henrikson
  • Jan A. E. Stenson
Original Papers


Gyrinid beetles are common in ponds and lakes in Sweden, where they aggregate in open areas of the surface. Gyrinid beetles have pygidial glands which produce compounds rendering them unpalatable to fish. This study examines whether the pygidial secretion can be used for alarm purposes in addition to other functions. Experiments showed that gyrinid beetles responded to water prepared with the pygidial compounds by evasive behaviour. The beetles did not respond when the compound was mediated by air. One component of the defense system of gyrinids is how they advertise their presence. The aggregation of dark beetles with their typical motion pattern when alerted is very conspicuous and easily identified by an experienced predator. We suggest that this aspect of gyrinid defence can be characterized as aposematic.

Key words

Gyrinidae Gyrinus aeratus Alarm Pygidial secretion Aposematic behaviour 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Britt-Inger Henrikson
    • 1
  • Jan A. E. Stenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologySection of Animal EcologyGöteborgSweden

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