Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 2029–2038 | Cite as

Pheromonal basis of aggregation in European earwig,Forficula auricularia L. (Dermaptera: Forficulidae)

  • Karen A. Walker
  • Tappey H. Jones
  • Richard D. Fell


The aggregation behavior of the European earwigForficula auricularia was investigated. Bioassays of frass extracts, cuticular washings, and the defensive exudate have been conducted to locate the source of an aggregation pheromone, and aggregation behavior has been demonstrated with extracts of frass and the washings of male cuticular lipids. Chemical investigations revealed the presence of a unique pattern of typical normal, monomethyl-, and dimethylalkanes, along with a series of fatty acids and the well-known defensive quinones from these insects. It has been concluded from the bioassays of a number of authentic compounds and the lack of a chemically discernible difference between male and female extracts that the aggregation pheromone ofF. auricularia is quite probably a minor component of the male cuticular lipids.

Key Words

Aggregation pheromone cuticular hydrocarbons fatty acids quinones Dermaptera Forficulidae Forficula auricularia European earwig social behavior 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen A. Walker
    • 1
  • Tappey H. Jones
    • 2
  • Richard D. Fell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyVirginia TechBlacksburg
  2. 2.Laboratory of Medicinal ChemistryNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases National Institutes of HealthBethesda

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