Get access

A failed attempt to demonstrate pheromone communication in archaic moths of the genus Sabatinca Walker (Lepidoptera, Micropterigidae)


Mikhail V. Kozlov E-mail:


Data on pheromones of phylogenetically archaic moths are very scant, despite being needed to understand the life history evolution and phylogeny of the basal lineages of Lepidoptera. Two New Zealand micropterigid moths, Sabatinca (Palaeomicra) chalcophanes Meyr. and Sabatinca (s.str.) demissa Philp., were investigated for pheromone communication. Consistent negative results were demonstrated by (i) behavioural observations, (ii) exposure of blends containing active components of pheromones identified in caddis-flies and archaic moths, (iii) exposure of caged males and females in sticky traps, and (iv) detection of male and female antennal responses to both male and female extracts. Since no data indicated the presence of long-distance sex pheromones in Sabatinca, we concluded that these moths use visual clues to meet sexual partners. The secondary lack of pheromone communication in Micropterigidae suggests a high degree of ecological specialization in this plylogenetically most archaic moth family.