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Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 12, pp 1669–1694 | Cite as

Genital sex pheromones of ixodid ticks: 1. Evidence of occurrence in anterior reproductive tract of American dog tick,Dermacentor variabilis (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae)

  • Daniel E. Sonenshine
  • Robert M. Silverstein
  • Remy Brossut
  • Edward E. Davis
  • Demer Taylor
  • Keith A. Carson
  • Paul J. Homsher
  • Vera B. Wang
Article

Abstract

The occurrence of a genital sex pheromone in the anterior reproductive tract of partially fed femaleDermacentor variabilis was demonstrated by extraction and bioassay. A new type of bioassay, the “neutered” female assay, was developed to test the potency of extracts or chemically defined fractions to stimulate males to copulate. Electrophysiological tests confirmed the ability of males to detect the pheromone with sensilla on their cheliceral digits. Males of bothD. variabilis andD. andersoni exhibited neuronal excitation when stimulated with extracts of theD. variabilis reproductive tissues. The pheromone, which is soluble in methanol, was fractionated and found to contain at least two fractions that stimulated copulation by sexually excited males. Evidently, the pheromone is a mixture of two or more compounds. Histologic, ultrastructural, and histochemical studies suggest the vestibular vagina as the site of genital sex pheromone occurrence, presumably from secretions of the surrounding lobular accessory gland. The identity of the compounds that comprise the pheromone remains unknown.

Key words

Dermacentor variabilis Acari Ixodidae tick American dog tick pheromone genital sex pheromone 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel E. Sonenshine
    • 1
  • Robert M. Silverstein
    • 2
  • Remy Brossut
    • 2
  • Edward E. Davis
    • 3
  • Demer Taylor
    • 1
  • Keith A. Carson
    • 1
  • Paul J. Homsher
    • 1
  • Vera B. Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesOld Dominion UniversityNorfolk
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryCollege of Environmental Sciences and Forestry State University of New YorkSyracuse
  3. 3.Life Sciences DivisionSRI InternationalMenlo Park

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