Numerous studies of insect species have shown that a subset of female cuticular hydrocarbons is used as short-range or contact pheromones. Here, we studied the possible use of contact pheromones in the mating behavior of the weevil Aegorhinus superciliosus, a native species of Chile. Males mounted females only after antennal contact with the female's cuticle, and only 33% of the males attempted to mate with dead females washed with solvent. When a glass rod (dummy) was coated with female cuticular extracts, males exhibited behaviors similar to those observed with females. A preliminary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of cuticular extracts indicated that males and females share a series of aliphatic hydrocarbons but that the relative abundance of some of these compounds differ between the sexes. These results suggest that cuticular lipids mediate mating behavior of the raspberry weevil and provide the first evidence of contact pheromones in curculionids.
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