A1 Journal article (refereed)
Testing the effectiveness of pyrazine defences against spiders (2020)

Burdfield-Steel, E. R., Schneider, J. M., Mappes, J., & Dobler, S. (2020). Testing the effectiveness of pyrazine defences against spiders. Chemoecology, 30(4), 139-146. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00049-020-00305-5

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsBurdfield-Steel, Emily R.; Schneider, Jutta M.; Mappes, Johanna; Dobler, Susanne

Journal or seriesChemoecology



Publication year2020


Issue number4

Pages range139-146


Publication countryGermany

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68116


Insects live in a dangerous world and may fall prey to a wide variety of predators, encompassing multiple taxa. As a result, selection may favour defences that are effective against multiple predator types, or target-specific defences that can reduce predation risk from particular groups of predators. Given the variation in sensory systems and hunting tactics, in particular between vertebrate and invertebrate predators, it is not always clear whether defences, such as chemical defences, that are effective against one group will be so against another. Despite this, the majority of research to date has focused on the role of a single predator species when considering the evolution of defended prey. Here we test the effectiveness of the chemical defences of the wood tiger moth, a species previously shown to have defensive chemicals targeted towards ants, against a common invertebrate predator: spiders. We presented both live moths and artificial prey containing their defensive fluids to female Trichonephila senegalensis and recorded their reactions. We found that neither of the moth’s two defensive fluids were able to repel the spiders, and confirmed that methoxypyrazines, a major component of the defences of both the wood tiger moth and many insect species, are ineffective against web-building spiders. Our results highlight the variability between predator taxa in their susceptibility to chemical defences, which can in part explain the vast variation in these chemicals seen in insects, and the existence of multiple defences in a single species.

Keywordsinsectswood tigerdefence mechanisms (biological phenomena)aromatic compoundsspiders

Free keywordschemical defence; anti-predator defence; pyrazines; insects; spiders

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 21:25