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Keywords:

  • corpora allata;
  • pheromone biosynthesis;
  • calling behavior;
  • male responsiveness;
  • PBAN

Abstract

Recently, much effort has been devoted to the elucidation of the neuro-endocrine mechanisms regulating the biosynthesis and emission of sex pheromones in the Lepidoptera. The available data indicate that the hormonal mechanisms involved vary considerably among species. For example, compelling evidence that juvenile hormones (JH) play a role in the control of sex pheromone production has been presented only for the armyworm moth, Pseudaletia unipuncta. In this species, females that are allatectomized at emergence neither produce nor release pheromone, but both activities are restored following replacement therapy with synthetic JH. However, injection of synthetic JH into neck-ligated females does not induce pheromone biosynthesis, whereas treatment with either a brain homogenate or synthetic PBAN results in a rise in the pheromone titer. These results indicate that the role played by JH is an indirect one and that the tropic factor is a PBAN-like substance.

Studies on in vitro JH biosynthesis by isolated corpora allata of P. unipuncta have shown that the low JH output observed early in the life of adult females coincides with the absence of both calling behavior and pheromone production. The subsequent increase in the rates of JH biosynthesis correlates with the onset of pheromone production and release. We have therefore proposed that JH titers must pass a threshold level before the circadian release of PBAN and calling behavior can begin. Furthermore, recent experiments suggest that the continuous presence of JH is necessary for calling behavior to be maintained once initiated. Lastly, we present data suggesting a role for JH or JH acids in the receptivity of P. unipuncta males to the female sex pheromone. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.