The female silkworm moth releases a sex pheromone, bombykol, that's very enticing to the male. He can detect it from miles away.
Now researchers in the UC Davis Department of Entomology have discovered that the fruit fly has a native odorant receptor...
CHEMICAL ECOLOGISTS professor Walter Leal (left) and postdoctoral scholar Zain Syed inspect a mulberry tree, planted on the Briggs Hall lawn, UC Davis, in memory of professor Susumu Maeda. The scientists use the tree to rear silkworm moths for their studies on insect olfaction. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DROSOPHILA HEAD--A scanning electronic micrograph (SEM) of the fruit fly head, highlighting a pair of antennae endowed with highly sensitive sensilla for the detection of bombykol, a sex pheromone identified from the silkworm more than 50 years ago. (SEM Courtesy of Walter Leal lab)
Scent of a Female
A FEMALE SILKWORM (left) releases a sex pheromone from an extruded gland in the abdominal tip. A male moth (right) detects the pheromone (bombykol) remotely with neurons housed in antennal sensilla. He responds immediately by wing fanning and moving in a zigzag pattern toward the calling female. (Photo by Samuel Woo, UC Davis).