Distribution of putative male sex pheromones among Lutzomyia sandflies (Diptera: Psychodidae)

Hamilton, J. G.C. and Brazil, R. P. and Campbell-Lendrum, D. and Davies, C. R. and Kelly, D. W. and Pessoa, F. A.C. and De Queiroz, R. G. (2002) Distribution of putative male sex pheromones among Lutzomyia sandflies (Diptera: Psychodidae). Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 96 (1). pp. 83-92. ISSN 0003-4983

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Male Lutzomyia longipalpis produce terpene sex pheromones in glandular tissue underlying the cuticle. The pheromones are transmitted to the surface via cuticle-lined ducts (measuring 0.25 μm in diameter), each of which reaches the surface in the centre of a papule (measuring 3-3.5 μm in diameter). Similar papules, in a range of shapes but all characterized by the presence of a central pore and absence of macrosetae, occur in some other species of sandfly. The aim of the present study was to determine the distribution of sex pheromones in sandflies of the genus Lutzomyia that do and do not have the papules. The results indicate that sex pheromones are not widely distributed amongst male Lutzomyia spp. Male members of the genus can be subdivided into three groups: those that produce terpenes and have cuticular papules; those that do not produce terpenes but still have the associated papules; and those that have neither terpenes nor papules. The papules seen in the species that do not synthesise sex pheromones are presumably vestigial, non-functional structures. Such species may have stopped producing pheromone as the result of changes in the way in which the females found and selected mates or changing feeding preferences. A similar event has occurred in the Lepidoptera, where vestigial pheromone-secreting structures remain in some species which no longer produce pheromone. Lutzomyia lenti collected in southern Brazil produced a novel diterpene whereas male L. lenti from north-eastern Brazil did not, supporting suggestions by others that L. lenti is, like L. longipalpis, a species complex.

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Journal Article
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Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
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30 Sep 2019 22:20
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:27