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J Chem Ecol. 2006 Dec;32(12):2629-46.

Premating isolation is determined by larval rearing substrates in cactophilic Drosophila mojavensis. VII. Effects of larval dietary fatty acids on adult epicuticular hydrocarbons.

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Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, SCEN 632, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.


Low concentrations of dietary triacylglycerols including tristearin, triolein, and tripalmitolein, were assessed to determine their effects during egg to pupal stages on adult epicuticular hydrocarbon (EHC) variation in cactophilic Drosophila mojavensis. Triacylglycerols were added singly and in combination at concentrations of 1%, 3%, and 9% to a lipid-free culture medium. Control diets included Carolina Drosophila and lipid-free media. Egg to adult viability was reduced at triacylglycerol concentrations greater than 1%, except for tristearin. Both triolein and tripalmitolein increased EHC amounts to levels similar to those in combination and control diets. Tristearin caused significantly lower quantities of EHCs in adult flies than triolein or tripalmitolein, consistent with previous studies on reduced tristearin assimilation into adult EHCs. We rejected the hypothesis that unsaturated and saturated triacylglycerols were assimilated into unsaturated and saturated adult EHCs, respectively. Since these triacylglycerols comprise a fraction of known lipids in the columnar cacti used for breeding in nature, and EHCs serve as contact pheromones in D. mojavensis, these and other naturally occurring triacylglycerols may provide a direct causal link between host plant use and patterns of chemically mediated mate choice.

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