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Adult frass provides a pheromone signature for Drosophila feeding and aggregation

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Keesey,  Ian
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Koerte,  Sarah
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Ecological Interactions, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Retzke,  Tom
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Ecological Interactions, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Haverkamp,  Alexander
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Ecological Interactions, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Hansson,  Bill S.
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Knaden,  Markus
Research Group Dr. M. Knaden, Insect Behavior, Department of Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Keesey, I., Koerte, S., Retzke, T., Haverkamp, A., Hansson, B. S., & Knaden, M. (2016). Adult frass provides a pheromone signature for Drosophila feeding and aggregation. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 42(8), 739-747. doi:10.1007/s10886-016-0737-4.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-1930-8
Abstract
Adult Drosophila melanogaster locate food resources by using distinct olfactory cues that often are associated with the fermentation of fruit. However, in addition to being an odorous food source and providing a possible site for oviposition, fermenting fruit also provides a physical substrate upon which flies can attract and court a potential mate. In this study, we demonstrate that Drosophila adults are able to recruit additional flies to a food source by covering the exposed surface area with fecal spots, and that this recruitment is mediated via olfactory receptors (Ors). Analyses of the deposited frass material demonstrates that frass contains several previously studied pheromone components, such as methyl laurate (ML), methyl myristate (MM), methyl palmitate (MP), and 11-cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), in addition to several cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) that are known to be behaviorally active. Moreover, this study also demonstrates that adult feeding is increased in the presence of frass, although it appears that Ors are less likely to mediate this phenomenon. In summary, the frass deposited by the fly onto the fruit provides both pheromone and CHC cues that lead to increased feeding and aggregation in Drosophila. This research is the first step in examining Drosophila frass as an important chemical signature that provides information about both the sex and the species of the fly that generated the fecal spots.