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Defensive secretion of two notodontid caterpillars (Schizura unicornis, S. badia)

Abstract

The cervical gland secretion of larvae ofSchizura unicornis andS. badia (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae) contains formic acid, acetic acid, and a mixture of lipophilic compounds, including 2-alkanones, 2-alkanols, and formates of the alkanols. InS. unicornis, the secretion also contains severalω-monounsaturated analogs of the alcohols, ketones, and formates. The absolute configuration of two of the alcohols (2-tridecanol and 2-pentadecanol) was established asS in both species. The larvae spray their secretion when physically disturbed, aiming it accurately in the direction of the offending agent.

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Correspondence to Thomas Eisner.

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Paper no. 109 in the seriesDefense Mechanisms of Arthropods; no. 108 is A.B. Attygalle et al.,J. Chem. Ecol. 18:489, 1991.

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Attygalle, A.B., Smedley, S.R., Meinwald, J. et al. Defensive secretion of two notodontid caterpillars (Schizura unicornis, S. badia). J Chem Ecol 19, 2089–2104 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00979649

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Key Words

  • Lepidoptera
  • Notodontidae
  • Schizura
  • defensive secretion
  • formic acid
  • 2-tridecanone
  • (5)-2-tridecanol
  • 2-tridecyl formate
  • 2-pentadecanone