Role of genital sex pheromones inAmblyomma americanum andA. maculatum (Acari: Ixodidae)
Amblyomma americanum andA. maculatum were studied to determine if genital sex pheromones were present, as reported inDermacentor species. Chemical analysis of methanol extracts of the anterior reproductive tracts (source of the genital sex pheromone) ofA. americanum andA. maculatum confirmed the presence of the same fatty acids that act as components of the genital sex pheromone inDermacentor variabilis andD. andersoni. In bothAmblyomma species, removal of the anterior reproductive-tract of fed females eliminated the male copulatory response. ForA. americanum, use of anterior reproductive tract extracts made with water, methanol, ether and hexane elicited significant probing and copulatory responses by conspecific males. However, inA. maculatum, use of anterior reproductive-tract extracts made with water, methanol, ether, chloroform: methanol (4∶1), hexane and pentane did not restore mating response by males. Treatment with known components ofDermacentor genital sex pheromones elicited weak but significant responses inA. americanum, but did not restore male mating responses inA. maculatum. These results indicate that genital sex pheromones exist inA. americanum and are not restricted to the genusDermacentor. Characteristics of theAmblyomma genital sex pheromone, however, do differ considerably from those inDermacentor. No genital sex pheromone was present inA. maculatum.
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