Chemical Trail-Following by Flying Insects: A Mechanism for Orientation to a Distant Odor Source

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Science  06 Oct 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4056, pp. 67-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4056.67


An aerial trail of odorous pheromone molecules extends downwind from a female pink bollworm moth that is receptive for mating. Males apparently sense the boundaries of the trail during their characteristic zigzag flights across it. Contrary to previous beliefs, the mechanism by which the males steer toward the odor source does not require a sensing of wind direction.