Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp 2823–2834 | Cite as

Squirting and refilling: Dynamics ofp-benzoquinone production in defensive glands ofDiploptera punctata

  • Ian T. Baldwin
  • David B. Dusenbery
  • Thomas Eisner


Diploptera punctata, a Pacific islands cockroach, discharges a fine aerosol ofp-benzoquinones from a pair of tracheal glands in response to disturbance or CO2 anesthesia. In addition, the glands and their contents are shed at each molt. We measured the amount ofp-benzoquinones discharged in response to pinching and anesthesia and the filling of glands after discharge and molting. Roaches discharge highly variable amounts of quinones but appear to retain approximately 11% of their lifetime total benzoquinone content after repeated discharges. Roaches rapidly fill their glands after molting (18Μg quinone/day) but after discharging appear to refill at a much slower rate or not at all. This lack of refilling could result from an inability to produce quinones after a finite time period or in excess of a fixed quantity. The delayed accumulation ofp-benzoquinone with respect to the alkylated derivatives in newly molted adults suggests competition for aromatic amino acids between cuticular and defensive quinone synthesis.

Key Words

Diploptera punctata Orthoptera Blaberidae cockroach benzoquinone quinone chemical defense 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian T. Baldwin
    • 1
  • David B. Dusenbery
    • 2
  • Thomas Eisner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSUNY BuffaloBuffalo
  2. 2.School of Applied BiologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta
  3. 3.Section of Neurobiology and BehaviorCornell UniversityIthaca

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