Scent Organ Development in Creatonotos Moths: Regulation by Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

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Science  05 Mar 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4537, pp. 1264-1265
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4537.1264


7-Hydroxy-6,7-dihydro-5H-pyrolizine-1-carboxaldehyde is the major volatile component of the scent organs in males of two species of Creatonotos (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae). The biosynthesis of this presumed pheromone depends on the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in plants that are ingested by the larvae. In addition, these secondary plant substances control the morphogenesis of the scent organs. This morphogenetic effect of an alkaloid has not been observed previously.