Termites

Not many trail pheromones of termites have been identified, but one group is worth mentioning here. In the group Macrotermitinae, for some species (Z)-3-dodecan-l-ol is the trail pheromone, while for another (Z,Zy)-3,6-dodecadien-l-ol is. In both cases the sternal gland is the source. It is suggested that these alcohols are formed from oleic acid and linoleic acids, respectively, by loss of three acetate units and reduction to the alcohol (Figure 3.31).

COS-CoA

3 x ch3cosc0a then CH3CH2GOSCoA

COS-CoA

3 x ch3cosc0a then CH3CH2GOSCoA

COS-CoA

3,11 -dimethylnonacosan-2-one

COS-CoA

3,11 -dimethylnonacosan-2-one

Figure 3.30 Outline of the biosynthesis of the contact pheromone of the German cockroach

Figure 3.30 Outline of the biosynthesis of the contact pheromone of the German cockroach

Figure 3.31 The suggested conversion of oleic and linoleic acids to the termite trail pheromones dodecenol and dodecadienol. This dodecadienol also acts as sex attractant (at higher concentration) in Ancistrotermes pakistanicus

What is called chemical parsimony (stinginess) is applied among termite pheromones. One compound serves as pheromone for a number of species. Moreover, dodecadienol, produced by females at higher concentration, acts as sex pheromone for males (about 0.1 pg cm-1 for trails and about 1 ng as sex pheromone). This dual use also applies to (Z,Z,E)~3,6, 8-dodecatrien-l-ol, which in some Rhinotermitidae acts as trail pheromone, at low concentration, and sex pheromone at higher concentration.

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