In 1949 Pavan isolated the substance he called iridomyrmecin from the Argentine ant Iridomyrmex humilis (now Linepithema humile). Iridomyrmecin, dolichodial and other monoterpenes with a methylcyclopen-tanoid structure are called iridoids (Figure 6.12). They act as defensive compounds in ants, stick insects, rove beetles and leaf beetle larvae. Some of the group (e.g. the isomer of nepetalactone shown in Figure 6.12) are also sex pheromones in aphids. Reaction of iridomyrmecin with

Figure 6.11 A scanning electron micrograph of the cheese mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae (source unknown)
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