, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 191–193 | Cite as

Volatile substances in the pygidial secretion of gyrinid beetles (Coleoptera: Gyrinidae)

  • Per Ivarsson
  • Britt-Inger Henrikson
  • Jan A. E. Stenson
Short communications


Gyrinid beetles are common in freshwater habitats. They have paired pygidial glands with a secretion that contains high molecular weight substances rendering them toxic for predatory fish. In this paper we report on a laboratory study on volatile components released by three different gyrinid species when irritated. The volatile pattern had a clear difference between the different species.Gyrinus substriatus andG. aeratus, both produced 3-methyl-1-butanal and 3-methyl-1-butanol when irritated, but in quite different amounts. The third tested species,G. minutus, did not produce any substances above the detection level. It is suggested that the volatile compounds may be part of the beetles' communication and/or defence system.

Key words

volatile substances pygidial secretion defence communication species differences Coleoptera Gyrinidae Gyrinus spp 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Per Ivarsson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Britt-Inger Henrikson
    • 2
  • Jan A. E. Stenson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyChemical EcologyGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Zoology, Animal EcologyUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

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