Sex pheromones and trail-following pheromone in the basal termites Zootermopsis nevadensis (Hagen) and Z. angusticollis (Hagen) (Isoptera: Termopsidae: Termopsinae)

Abstract : In the context of an evolutionary study of the chemical communication in termites, sex pheromones and trail-following pheromones were investigated in two Termopsidae, Zootermopsis nevadensis and Z. angusticollis. In these species, in which the presence of sex-specific pheromones has been demonstrated previously, the chemical structure of the female sex pheromone has now been identified as (5E)-2,6,10-trimethylundeca-5,9-dienal and the male sex pheromone as (+)- or (-)-syn-4,6-dimethyldodecanal. The amount of sex pheromone was estimated at 5-10 ng per individual in females and 2-5 ng in males. Because these two sympatric species do not differ in their pheromonal chemical composition, reproductive isolation is probably mediated chiefly by differences in dispersal flight chronology. The trail-following pheromone was shown to be composed of the same compound as the male sex pheromone, that is syn-4,6-dimethyldodecanal. The compound syn-4,6-dimethyldodecanal was 10 times more active than the racemic (+/-)-syn + (+/-)-anti-4,6-dimethyldodecanal in eliciting trail-following. The amount of syn-4,6- dimethyldodecanal was estimated at 0.1-0.5 ng per pseudergate. Regarding the phylogenetic aspects, the nature of the female sex pheromone of Zootermopsis is structurally akin to the trail-following pheromone of Mastotermes darwiniensis of Mastotermitidae and Porotermes adamsoni and Stolotermes victoriensis of Termopsidae. Interestingly, the nature of the trail-following pheromone of the Termopsinae Zootermopsis is clearly different from that of the Porotermitinae P. adamsoni and the Stolotermitinae S. victoriensis, which mirrors recent molecular data on the paraphyly of Termopsidae.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 4:20:34 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 1:24:13 AM

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  • HAL Id : bioemco-00509471, version 1

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Christian Bordereau, Michael J. Lacey, Etienne Semon, Jean-Claude Braekman, Alain Robert, et al.. Sex pheromones and trail-following pheromone in the basal termites Zootermopsis nevadensis (Hagen) and Z. angusticollis (Hagen) (Isoptera: Termopsidae: Termopsinae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Linnean Society of London, 2010, 100, pp.519-530. ⟨bioemco-00509471⟩

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