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Naturwissenschaften. 2001 Jul;88(7):306-9.

Production of a cyanogenic secretion by a thyridid caterpillar (Calindoea trifascialis, Thyrididae, Lepidoptera).

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Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6 Canada.


The thyridid caterpillar, Calindoea trifascialis, when disturbed, emits a defensive secretion from two sac-like glands that open dorsolaterally on the first abdominal segment. The larva has two arm-like protuberances that project outward from the body just in front of the gland openings. These "arms", which are wetted by secretion when the larva activates its glands, appear to function specifically for administration of the fluid. A primary component of the secretion in mandelonitrile, a cyanogenic compound, but the fluid also contains other potential deterrents, including benzaldehyde, benzoic acid, (E,E)-alpha-farnesene, and 3-methylbutyl-3-methylbutanoate. Tests done in the field in Vietnam, where the species is native, showed the secretion to be protective against ants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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