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J Chem Ecol. 2001 Aug;27(8):1535-46.

Communication ecology of webbing clothes moth: 1. Semiochemical-mediated location and suitability of larval habitat.

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Center for Environmental Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6, Canada.


We tested two hypotheses: 1) that there is semiochemical-mediated attraction of male and female webbing clothes moth (WCM), Tineola bisselliella (Hum.) (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) to suitable larval habitat; and 2) that selection of optimal larval habitat has fitness consequences. In binary or ternary choice arena bioassay experiments that prevented WCM from contacting test stimuli, males and females were attracted to dried but untanned animal pelts (red squirrel, muskrat, beaver, coyote, red fox and bobcat) and preserved horseshoe crab but not to unprocessed sheep's wool, demonstrating semiochemical-based recognition of, and discrimination between, potential larval habitats. Selection of habitat has fitness consequences for ovipositing females, because significantly more male and female WCM completed development when the larval diet consisted of intact animal pelt (hide plus hair) rather than hide or hair alone. Equal attraction of male WCM to muskrat pelt volatiles in Porapak Q or solvent extracts of muskrat pelts indicated that volatile semiochemicals could be obtained by both methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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