Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 655–664 | Cite as

A trail pheromone from silk produced by larvae of the range caterpillarHemileuca oliviae (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) and observations on aggregation behavior

  • John L. Capinera


Methylene chloride-extractable chemical(s) from range caterpillar larval silk facilitates trail-following and aggregation by early-instar larvae, but late-instar larvae are less responsive to the pheromone. Larval aggregation does not reduce water loss when larvae are exposed to low humidity, nor does aggregation prevent predation by the antFormica neoclara Emery. Grouped larvae gain weight and complete early stadia more rapidly as compared to solitary larvae. Aggregation may provide increased visibility to herbivores and increase the impact of urticating spines, thereby decreasing inadvertant predation.

Key words

Range caterpillar Hemileuca oliviae Lepidoptera Saturniidae trail pheromone aggregation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ainslie, C.N. 1910. The New Mexico range caterpillar.USDA Bur. Entomol. Bull 85:57–96.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, J.L. 1975. The Evolution of Behavior. Norton, New York, 761 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, C.G. 1970. Chemical communication in insects: Behavioral and ecological aspects.Adv. Chemoreception 1:36–78.Google Scholar
  4. Capinera, J.L. 1978. Studies of host plant preference and suitability exhibited by early-instar range caterpillar larvae.Environ. Entomol. 7:738–40.Google Scholar
  5. Fitzgerald, T.D. 1976. Trail marking by larvae of the eastern tent caterpillar.Science 194:961–963.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fitzgerald, T.D., andGallagher, E.M. 1976. A chemical trail factor from the silk of eastern tent caterpillarMalacosoma americanum (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae).J. Chem. Ecol. 2:187–193.Google Scholar
  7. Ghent, A.W. 1960. A Study of the group-feeding behavior of larvae of the Jack Pine Sawfly,Neodiprion pratti banksianae Roh.Behavior 16:110–148.Google Scholar
  8. Huddleston, E.W., Dressel., E.M., andWatts, J.G. 1976. Economic threshold for range caterpillar larvae on blue grama pasture in northeastern Lincoln County, New Mexico, in 1975.N.M. Agric. Exp. Stn. Res. Rep. 314:1–4.Google Scholar
  9. Matthews, R.W., andMatthews, J.R. 1978. Insect Behavior. Wiley, New York. 507 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Mcmanus, M.L., andSmith, H.R. 1972. Importance of the silk trails in the diel behavior of late instars of the gypsy moth.Environ. Entomol. 1:793–795.Google Scholar
  11. Rohlf, F.J., andSokal, R.R. 1969. Statistical Tables. Freeman, San Francisco. 253 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Rust, M.K., andReierson, D.A., 1977. Increasing blatticidal efficacy with aggregation pheromone.J. Econ. Entomol. 70:693–696.Google Scholar
  13. Singh, P. 1977. Artificial Diets for insects, Mites, and Spiders. IFI/Plenum Data Co., New York. 594 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Teale, E. W. 1949. The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre. Dodd, Mead, and Co., New York. 333 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Watts, J. G., andEverett, T. D. 1976. Biology and behavior of the range caterpillar.N. M. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull. 646:1–32.Google Scholar
  16. Wellington, W.G. 1957. Individual differences as a factor in population dynamics: The development of a problem.Can. J. Zool. 35:293–323.Google Scholar
  17. Wildermuth, V.L., andCaffrey, D.J. 1916. The New Mexico range caterpillar and its control.USDA Bull. 443:1–12.Google Scholar
  18. Wilson, E.O. 1971. The Insect Societies. Belknap Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • John L. Capinera
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and EntomologyColorado State UniversityFort Collins

Personalised recommendations