Female moths release sex pheromone to attract mates. In most species, sex pheromone is produced in, and released from, a specific gland. In a previous study, we used empirical data and compartmental modeling to account for the major pheromone gland processes of female Chloridea virescens: synthesis, storage, catabolism and release; we found that females released little (20–30%) of their pheromone, with most catabolized. The recent publication of a new pheromone collection method led us to reinvestigate pheromone release and catabolism in C. virescens on the basis that our original study might have underestimated release rate (thereby overestimating catabolism) due to methodology and females not calling (releasing) continuously. Further we wished to compare pheromone storage/catabolism between calling and non-calling females. First, we observed calling intermittency of females. Then, using decapitated females, we used the new collection method, along with compartmental modeling, gland sampling and stable isotope labeling, to determine differences in pheromone release, catabolism and storage between (forced) simulated calling and non-calling females. We found, (i) intact 1 d females call intermittently; (ii) pheromone is released at a higher rate than previously determined, with simulations estimating that continuously calling females release ca. 70% of their pheromone (only 30% catabolized); (iii) extension (calling)/retraction of the ovipositor is a highly effective “on/off’ mechanism for release; (iv) both calling and non-calling females store most pheromone on or near the gland surface, but calling females catabolize less pheromone; (v) females are capable of producing and releasing pheromone very rapidly. Thus, not only is the moth pheromone gland efficient, in terms of the proportion of pheromone released Vs. catabolized, but it is highly effective at shutting on/off a high flux of pheromone for release.
Pheromone gland Mass isotopomer distribution analysis Lepidoptera Biosynthesis Catabolism Titer
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Funding for this work was provided by United States Department of Agriculture Hatch Project ND02388. We also thank the United States Department of Agriculture–National Institute of Food and Agriculture for an Instrument Grant, 2015-07238 contributing, in part, to the purchase of the GC/MS system.
Allison JD, Cardé RT (eds) (2016a) Pheromone communication in moths: evolution, behavior and application. University of Caifornia Press, OaklandGoogle Scholar
Allison JD, Cardé RT (2016b) Variation in moth pheromone: causes and consequences. In: Allison JD, Cardé RT (eds) Pheromone communication in moths: evolution, behavior and application. University of California Press, Oakland, pp 25–41Google Scholar
Bjostad LB, Wolf WA, Roelofs WL (1987) Pheromone biosynthesis in lepidopterans: desaturation and chain shortening. In: Prestwich GD, Blomquist GJ (eds) Pheromone biochemistry. Academic Press, New York, pp 77–120Google Scholar
Chinkes DL, Aarsland A, Rosenblatt J, Wolfe RR (1996) Comparison of mass isotopomer dilution methods used to compute VLDL production in vivo. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 271:E373–E383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eltahlawy H, Buckner JS, Foster SP (2007) Evidence for two-step regulation of pheromone biosynthesis by the pheromone biosynthesis-activating neuropeptide in the moth Heliothis virescens. Arch Insect Biochem Physiol 64:120–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foster SP (2016) Toward a quantitative paradigm for sex pheromone production in moths. In: Allison JD, Cardé RT (eds) Pheromone communication in moths: evolution, behavior, and application. University of California Press, Oakland, pp 113–126Google Scholar
Foster S, Anderson K (2011) The use of mass isotopomer distribution analysis to quantify synthetic rates of sex pheromone in the moth Heliothis virescens. J Chem Ecol 37:1208–1210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heath RR, McLaughlin JR, Proshold F, Teal PEA (1991) Periodicity of female sex pheromone titer and release in Heliothis subflexa and H. virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 84:182–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hellerstein MK, Neese RA (1992) Mass isotopomer distribution analysis: a technique for measuring biosynthesis and turnover of polymers. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 263:E988–E1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Löfstedt C, Wahlberg N, Millar JG (2016) Evolutionary patterns of pheromone diversity in Lepidoptera. In: Allison JD, Cardé RT (eds) Pheromone communication in moths: evolution, behavior and application. University of California Press, Oakland, pp 43–78Google Scholar
Ma PWK, Ramaswamy SB (2003) Biology and ultrastructure of sex pheromone-producing tissue. In: Blomquist GJ, Vogt RC (eds) Insect pheromone biochemsitry and molecular biology. Elsevier, London, pp 19–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Raina AK, Wergin WP, Murphy CA, Erbe EF (2000) Structural organization of the sex pheromone gland in Helicoverpa zea in relation to pheromone production and release. Arthropod Struct Dev 29:343–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Teal PEA, Tumlinson JH (1986) Terminal steps in pheromone biosynthesis by Heliothis virescens and H. zea. J Chem Ecol 12:353–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar