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Journal Articles Journal of Chemical Ecology Year : 2024

Replenishment of Drosophila Male Pheromone After Mating


Insect exocrine gland products can be involved in sexual communication, defense, territory labelling, aggregation and alarm. In the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster the ejaculatory bulb synthesizes and releases 11-cis-Vaccenyl acetate (cVa). This pheromone, transferred to the female during copulation, affects aggregation, courtship and male-male aggressive behaviors. To determine the ability of male flies to replenish their cVa levels, males of a control laboratory strain and from the desat1 pheromone-defective mutant strain were allowed to mate successively with several females. We measured mating frequency, duration and latency, the amount of cVa transferred to mated females and the residual cVa in tested males. Mating duration remained constant with multiple matings, but we found that the amount of cVa transferred to females declined with multiple matings, indicating that, over short, biologically-relevant periods, replenishment of the pheromone does not keep up with mating frequency, resulting in the transfer of varying quantities of cVa. Adult responses to cVa are affected by early developmental exposure to this pheromone; our revelation of quantitative variation in the amount of cVa transferred to females in the event of multiple matings by a male suggests variable responses to cVa shown by adults produced by such matings. This implies that the natural role of this compound may be richer than suggested by laboratory experiments that study only one mating event and its immediate behavioral or neurobiological consequences.

Dates and versions

hal-04534098 , version 1 (05-04-2024)



Jean-François Ferveur, Jérôme Cortot, Bernard Moussian, Matthew Cobb, Claude Everaerts. Replenishment of Drosophila Male Pheromone After Mating. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 2024, pp.1-10. ⟨10.1007/s10886-023-01468-5⟩. ⟨hal-04534098⟩
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