Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 543–552 | Cite as

Courtship pheromone production and body size as correlates of larval diet in males of the arctiid moth,Utetheisa ornatrix

  • W. E. Conner
  • B. Roach
  • E. Benedict
  • J. Meinwald
  • T. Eisner
Article

Abstract

Hydroxydanaidal, the corematal courtship pheromone of maleUtetheisa ornatrix, shows pronounced quantitative variation in natural populations of the moth. Males that, as larvae, fed on seed-bearing rather than immature food plants (Crotalaria spectabilis orC. mucronata) produce higher levels of hydroxydanaidal. Such males also have higher systemic loads of pyrrolizidine alkaloid, the known metabolic precursor of hydroxydanaidal, whichUtetheisa sequester from their larval diet and which is concentrated in the seeds ofCrotalaria. Males raised on seed-bearing plants also achieve higher adult weight. In the context of sexual selection, therefore, femaleUtetheisa could, through assessment of male hydroxydanaidal levels, gauge both the alkaloid content and body weight of their suitors.

Key words

Courtship pheromone Utetheisa ornatrix Lepidoptera Arctiidae sexual selection hydroxydanaidal pyrrolizidine alkaloid Crotalaria 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, R., andRogers, E.F. 1939. The structure of monocrotaline, the alkaloid inCrotalaria spectabilis andCrotalaria retusa.J. Am. Chem. Soc. 61:2815–2819.Google Scholar
  2. Bull, L.B., Culvenor, C.C.J., andDick, A.T. 1968. The Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids. North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  3. Conner, W.E., Eisner, T., Vander Meer, R.K., Guerrero, A., andMeinwald, J. 1981. Precopulatory sexual interaction in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix): Role of a pheromone derived from dietary alkaloids.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 9:227–235.Google Scholar
  4. Dussourd, D.E. 1986. Adaptations of insect herbivores to plant defenses. PhD thesis. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Dussourd, D.E., Ubik, K., Harvis, C., Resch, J., Meinwald, J., andEisner, T. 1988. Biparental defense endowment of eggs with acquired plant alkaloid in a moth (Utetheisa ornatrix).Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 85:5992–5996.Google Scholar
  6. Eisner, T. 1980. Chemistry, defense, and survival: Case studies and selected topics, pp. 847–878,in M. Locke and D.S. Smith (eds.). Insect Biology in the Future. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Eisner, T., andMeinwald, J. 1987. Alkaloid-derived pheromones and sexual selection in Lepidoptera, pp. 251–269,in G.D. Prestwich and G.J. Bloomquist (eds.). Pheromone Biochemistry. Academic Press, Orlando, Florida.Google Scholar
  8. Grant, A.J., O'Connell, R.J., andEisner, T. 1989. Pheromone-mediated sexual selection in the mothUtetheisa ornatrix: Identification and response properties of olfactory receptor neurons responsive to a male-produced pheromone.J. Insect Behav. 2:371–385.Google Scholar
  9. Johnson, A.E., Molyneux, R.J., andMerrill, G.B. 1985. Chemistry of toxic range plants. Variation in pyrrolizidine alkaloid content ofSenecio, Amsickia, andCrotalaria species.J. Agric. Food Chem. 33:50–55.Google Scholar
  10. Mattocks, A.R. 1986. Chemistry and Toxicology of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Phelan, P.L., andBaker, T.C. 1986. Male-size-related courtship success and intersexual selection in the tobacco moth,Ephestia elutella.Experientia 42:1291–1293.Google Scholar
  12. Sawhney, R.S., Girotra, R.N., Atal, C.K., Culvenor, C.C.J., andSmith, L.W. 1967. Phytochemical studies on genusCrotalaria: Part VII—Major alkaloids ofC. mucronata, C. brevifolia, andC. laburnifolia.Indian J. Chem. 5:655–656.Google Scholar
  13. Sharma, R.K., Kasture, A.V., Kapoor, K.K., andAtal, C.K. 1965. Phytochemical investigation of the genusCrotalaria. Part V. Occurrence of tertiary bases and theirN-oxides in IndianCrotalaria.Lloydia 28:209–211.Google Scholar
  14. Williams, M.C., andMolyneux, R.J. 1987. Occurrence, concentration, and toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids inCrotalaria seeds.Weed Sci. 35:476–481.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Conner
    • 1
  • B. Roach
    • 2
  • E. Benedict
    • 2
  • J. Meinwald
    • 2
  • T. Eisner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryCornell UniversityIthaca
  3. 3.Section of Neurobiology and BehaviorCornell UniversityIthaca

Personalised recommendations