"In order to protect themselves, the larvae specifically target fragrances that signal to the male that it should deposit its seeds elsewhere, " explains Harraca. These fragrances are a special type of alarm pheromone that the male can pick up on his or her probes via odorant receptors.
To better understand the chemical fragrance communication system, researchers investigated the exact effect of this anti-mating fragrance. To do this, they smeared the stink glands of the larvae with nail polish so that the animals could no longer secrete pheromones. The thus prepared odorless larvae were mated in the episode just as often as adult females of males. In order to investigate the effect of the defense odor even more closely, the researchers scented even the sexually active males themselves. Result: The males mated to this scent attack rare than before.
"The chemical communication system of bed bugs is being researched. So far, it was assumed that alarm pheromones are used exclusively to ward off predators, "explains the study director. The results of the scientists show that the odor signals have many more functions and are also used against unwanted mating attacks. This discovery could be used to deliberately disrupt the mating of bed bugs and thereby curb the current growing population. According to experts, the unpleasant parasites in Germany are increasingly causing unpleasant stings. displayVincent Harraca (University, Lund) et al .: BMC Biology, Online Preview, September 2010, Vol.8. doi: 10.1186 / 1741-7007-8-121. dapd / science.de - Kristina Abels