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Journal Article

100 years of pheromone research. An essay on lepidoptera


Schneider,  Dietrich
Emeritus, Seewiesen, Max Planck Institut für Ornithologie, Max Planck Society;
Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen, Max Planck Institut für Ornithologie, Max Planck Society;

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Schneider, D. (1992). 100 years of pheromone research. An essay on lepidoptera. Die Naturwissenschaften, 79(6), 241-250. doi:10.1007/bf01175388.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-1456-9
Communication with species-specific chemical signals - pheromones - is a common phenomenon in the world of organisms. Lepidoptera are good examples because they show a variety of mechanisms and are experimentally well suited for such research. Many male-attractant odor blends of female moths are chemically known and their biosynthesis understood in principle. The morphology and physiology of the corresponding male receptor system is well studied and the biochemistry under investigation. It is supposed that the whole system is of monophyletic origin: female lure glands, male receptor organs, and perhaps even the central nervous machinery are homologous. This is in contrast to the as yet not well understood biology of male scents of Lepidoptera which fall into serveral structural, chemical, and functional categories. Many different communicative goals are met with male scents: attraction of females to males, of males to males, or even both. Futhermore, recognition of sex, competitors, and group partners seem to be involved. Male scents might even be used for defense.