Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Behaviorally mediated contacts between scent organs: Another prerequisite for pheromone production inDanaus chrysippus males (lepidoptera)

  • Michael Boppré
  • Robert L. Petty
  • Dietrich Schneider
  • Jerrold Meinwald


Males ofDanaus butterflies possess two binate glandular organs: abdominal hairpencils, which release aphrodisiac pheromones during courtship behavior, and pockets on the hindwings. Between these two types of organs contacts are established behaviorally: the hairpencils are dipped into the alar pockets (Fig. 2). GLC analyses of hairpencil and wing pocket extracts fromDanaus chrysippus show that this contact behavior is a prerequisite for the synthesis of the ketonic pheromone component (for which the term “danaidone” is suggested here) in physiologically normal amounts. Danaidone occurs on the hairpencils only i) after the males have ingested pyrrolizidine alkaloids as precursors, and ii) after the hairpencils have been dipped into the wing pockets. The appearance of danaidone in the wing pockets also depends on the ingestion of alkaloidal precursor, but is not affected by the above mentioned contact behavior. Mechanisms by which contact behavior might control pheromone biosynthesis are discussed.


Alkaloid Normal Amount Pheromone Component Courtship Behavior Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Boppré
    • 1
  • Robert L. Petty
    • 2
  • Dietrich Schneider
    • 1
  • Jerrold Meinwald
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für VerhaltensphysiologieSeewiesenGermany
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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