Trans-sexually grafted antennae alter pheromone-directed behaviour in a moth

Anne M. Schneiderman, John G. Hildebrand, Margaret M. Brennan, James H. Tdieinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


When tobacco hornworm moths (Manduca sexta) are tested in a wind tunnel with a source of female pheromones upwind, males but not normal females show pheromone-modulated anemotaxis and a characteristic mate-seeking behavioural sequence1-7. These behaviours are produced by stimulation of sensory neurones found only in male antennae8-10. These neurones project axons only to dendrites of pheromone-specific interneurones11,12 in the macroglomerular complex, a region of neuropil in the antennal lobe characteristic of males but not present in normal females13-15. Some interneurones in the antennal lobes of female moths that have received grafts of male antennae (gynandromorphs) respond postsynaptically to stimulation with bombykal, a major component of the pheromone16. They branch into a region resembling the macroglomerular complex16, like their counterparts in normal males. We show here that gynandromorphic females respond to pheromonal stimulation with anemotaxis. We also find that normal females display a similar sequence in response to the odour of their egg-laying site, the tobacco plant. It is likely that a common motor path is used either by pheromone-specific interneurones in the antennal lobes of males or by tobacco-specific interneurones in females. We assume that the interneurones in gynandromorphic females that branch into the macroglomerular complex induced by a grafted male antenna can activate this pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-803
Number of pages3
Issue number6091
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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