Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 2657–2671

Dodecanoic Acid Is the Oviposition Pheromone ofLutzomyia longipalpis

  • Martin Dougherty
  • Gordon Hamilton


The sandfly,Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva), produces an oviposition pheromone in the accessory glands that is secreted onto the eggs during oviposition. This compound attracts and/or stimulates gravid females for egg-laying. The compound was identified as dodecanoic acid, using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, and chemical derivatizations. The synthetic analog induced the same behavioral response in gravid sandflies as the whole egg extract when present in biologically relevant quantities. When single sensillum recordings were taken from the ascoid on the antennae of female sandflies, the response to egg extract and dodecanoic acid was similar. There was a dose dependent response to dodecanoic acid and preferential sensitivity compared to other fatty acids. There was a strong additive interaction upon the behavior ofL. longipalpis when dodecanoic acid was tested in a bioassay with the known oviposition attractant apneumones from rabbit feces, hexanal, and 2-methyl-2-butanol. The results suggested that sandflies acquired hexadecanoic acid (palmitic acid) from the blood meal and over a period of four days this was converted to dodecanoic acid. The role of these “token” semiochemicals in sandfly oviposition is discussed with respect to additive interactions and the significance of their origin from larval food resources.

Lutzomyia longipalpis oviposition pheromone apneumone additive interaction single sensillum recording gas chromatography–mass spectrometry oviposition bioassay dodecanoic acid 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Dougherty
    • 1
  • Gordon Hamilton
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemical Ecology Group, Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology, Department of Biological SciencesKeele University, KeeleStaffordshireEngland

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