RESOURCES: Scent of an Insect

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Science  01 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5718, pp. 29d
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5718.29d

A female African mantis (Sphodromantis lineola) entices males with an irresistible cocktail of the compounds pentadecanal and tetradecanal. Her eau de mantis is one of a multitude of chemical signals that insects deploy to announce their receptiveness for mating, mark the route to their nest, repel enemies, or induce other behaviors. Compiled by chem-ical ecologist Ashraf El-Sayed of the New Zealand-based company HortResearch, Pherobase matches some 3000 of these molecules with the creatures that emit them. For example, the house cricket's alarm signal contains acetic acid, isobutyric acid, and four other molecules. Click on a chemical to see its structure, a 3D model, and for some compounds, a mass spectrum.

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