Predicted taxonomic patterns in pheromone production by longhorned beetles.

Ann M. Ray, Emerson S. Lacey, Lawrence M. Hanks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Males of five species of three tribes in the longhorned beetle subfamily Cerambycinae produce volatile pheromones that share a structural motif (hydroxyl or carbonyl groups at carbons two and three in straight-chains of six, eight, or ten carbons). Pheromone gland pores are present on the prothoraces of males, but are absent in females, suggesting that male-specific gland pores could provide a convenient morphological indication that a species uses volatile pheromones. In this article, we assess the taxonomic distribution of gland pores within the Cerambycinae by examining males and females of 65 species in 24 tribes using scanning electron microscopy. Gland pores were present in males and absent in females of 49 species, but absent in both sexes of the remaining 16 species. Pores were confined to indentations in the cuticle. Among the species that had male-specific gland pores were four species already known to produce volatile compounds consistent with the structural motif. These findings support the initial assumption that gland pores are associated with the production of pheromones by males. There were apparently no taxonomic patterns in the presence of gland pores. These findings suggest that volatile pheromones play an important role in reproduction for many species of the Cerambycinae, and that the trait is evolutionarily labile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-550
Number of pages8
JournalDie Naturwissenschaften
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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