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Anti-aphrodisiac pheromone, a renewable signal in adult butterflies.


ABSTRACT: The male butterfly Pieris napi produces the anti-aphrodisiac pheromone methyl salicylate (MeS) and transfers it to the female during mating. After mating she releases MeS, when courted by conspecific males, which decreases her attractiveness and the duration of male harassment, thus increasing her time available for egg-laying. In previous studies we have shown that males produced MeS from the amino acid L-phenylalanine (L-Phe) acquired during larval stage. In this study we show that adult males of P. napi can utilize L-Phe and aromatic flower volatiles as building blocks for production of anti-aphrodisiac pheromone and transfer it to females during mating. We demonstrate this by feeding butterflies with stable isotope labelled molecules mixed in sugar solutions, and, to mimic the natural conditions, we fed male butterflies with floral nectar of Bunias orientalis plants treated with labelled L-Phe. The volatiles from butterflies and plants were collected and identified by solid phase micro extraction, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques. Since P. napi is polygamous, males would gain from restoring the titre of MeS after mating and the use of aromatic precursors for production of MeS could be considered as an advantageous trait which could enable butterflies to relocate L-Phe for other needs.

SUBMITTER: Mozuraitis R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6776535 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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