A1 Journal article (refereed)
De novo Synthesis of Chemical Defenses in an Aposematic Moth (2018)

Burdfield-Steel, E., Pakkanen, H., Rojas Zuluaga, B., Galarza, J., & Mappes, J. (2018). De novo Synthesis of Chemical Defenses in an Aposematic Moth. Journal of Insect Science, 18(2), Article 28. https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iey020

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Burdfield-Steel, Emily; Pakkanen, Hannu; Rojas Zuluaga, Bibiana; Galarza, Juan; Mappes, Johanna

Journal or series: Journal of Insect Science

ISSN: 1536-2442

eISSN: 1536-2442

Publication year: 2018

Volume: 18

Issue number: 2

Article number: 28

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iey020

Research data link: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g3h56b3

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/57756


Many animals protect themselves from predation with chemicals, both self-made or sequestered from their diet. The potential drivers of the diversity of these chemicals have been long studied, but our knowledge of these chemicals and their acquisition mode is heavily based on specialist herbivores that sequester their defenses. The wood tiger moth (Arctia plantaginis, Linnaeus, 1758) is a well-studied aposematic species, but the nature of its chemical defenses has not been fully described . Here, we report the presence of two methoxypyrazines, 2-sec-butyl-3-methoxypyrazine and 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine, in the moths’ defensive secretions. By raising larvae on an artificial diet, we confirm, for the first time, that their defensive compounds are produced de novo rather than sequestered from their diet. Pyrazines are known for their defensive function in invertebrates due to their distinctive odor, inducing aversion and facilitating predator learning. While their synthesis has been suspected, it has never previously been experimentally confirmed. Our results highlight the importance of considering de novo synthesis, in addition to sequestration, when studying the defensive capabilities of insects and other invertebrates.

Keywords: defence mechanisms (biological phenomena); secretions; chemical compounds; aromatic compounds; biosynthesis; Arctiidae; wood tiger

Free keywords: pyrazine; insect; chemical defense

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2018

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-10-01 at 12:32