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J Insect Physiol. 2005 Dec;51(12):1384-9. Epub 2005 Oct 13.

Perception of cuticular hydrocarbons by the olfactory organs in Periplaneta americana (L.) (Insecta: Dictyoptera).

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UMR 6552, CNRS-Université de Rennes 1, Bât.25, Campus de Beaulieu, Rennes, France.


Despite the importance of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs) in insect chemical communication, direct proof that they are detected and recognized by insects by contact or by olfactory receptors are rare. In Periplaneta americana, CHs induce aggregation. The aim of our study was to investigate how CHs are detected by P. americana antennae. Using solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography, the three main CHs of the species profile were identified in the volatiles emitted by these insects. Gas chromatography coupled to electroantennography recordings demonstrated that the antennae responded to these three CHs. Furthermore, CHs had an attraction effect in Y-olfactometer bioassays when presented at high concentrations. As CHs can be perceived by P. americana, at least from a short distance, they could play a role in attracting conspecifics during aggregation processes, in addition to inducing aggregation when direct contact is possible.

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