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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 202965, 6 pages
Research Article

Species Specificity of the Putative Male Antennal Aphrodisiac Pheromone in Leptopilina heterotoma, Leptopilina boulardi, and Leptopilina victoriae

1Institute for Zoology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstraße 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
2Institute of Biology, Free University of Berlin, Haderslebener Straße 9, 12163 Berlin, Germany

Received 4 September 2015; Accepted 9 December 2015

Academic Editor: Sanford I. Bernstein

Copyright © 2015 Ingmar Weiss et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Male antennal aphrodisiac pheromones have been suggested to elicit female receptiveness in several parasitic Hymenoptera, including Leptopilina boulardi. None of the proposed pheromones, however, has been fully identified to date. It is also unknown whether these antennal pheromones are species specific, because the species specificity of mate recognition and courtship elicitation in Leptopilina prevented such experiments. In this study we present an experimental design that allows the investigation of the species specificity of the putative male aphrodisiac pheromone of L. heterotoma, L. boulardi, and L. victoriae. This is achieved by chemical manipulation of the odour profile of heterospecific females, so that males perceive them as conspecifics and show antennal courtship behaviour. Males courted the manipulated heterospecific females and antennal contact between the male and the female was observed. However, males elicited receptiveness only in conspecific females, never in the manipulated heterospecific females. Chemical analysis showed the presence of species specific unsaturated hydrocarbons on the antennae of males. Only trace amounts of these hydrocarbons are found on the antennae of females. Our results are an important step towards the understanding and identification of antennal pheromones of parasitic wasps.