Volatile Principle from Oak Leaves: Role in Sex Life of the Polyphemus Moth

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Science  03 Feb 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3762, pp. 589-590
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3762.589


An emanation from oak leaves is necessary for the mating of polyphemus moths under laboratory conditions. This requirement can be satisfied by placing the moths in the presence of oak leaves or aqueous or alcoholic extracts prepared from oak leaves. The active principle is a vola- tile, heat-stable, polar material which has been partially purified. The oak emanation acts on the female and not on the male, and the sensory receptors are located on the female antennae. The reception of the oak emanation is prerequisite for the female's release of her sex pheromone, which in turn, is necessary for the sexual activation of the male.