A non‐anemotactic mechanism used in pheromone source location by flying moths


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ABSTRACT. Male oriental fruit moths, Grapholitha molesta (Busck) (Tortricidae), continue to zigzag along a pheromone plume to the source in zero wind, if they have started flight with wind on. If the pheromone source is removed and the plume is hence truncated, moths flying in zero wind out of the end of the plume into clean air increase the width of their reversals and the angles of the straight legs of the tracks so they are more directly across the former wind line. Such moths reach the source less often than do those flying along a continuous plume. The males continue to zigzag up a plume in zero wind, apparently by a combination of sequential sampling of concentration along their path and the performance of an internal, self‐steered programme of track reversals (zigzags) whose frequency increases with concentration. Visual feedback may aid in the still‐air performance of the zigzags. We propose that both the sequential sampling (longitudinal klinotaxis) and self‐steered counter‐turning programme also are used in wind as well; anemotaxis apparently polarizes the direction of the zigzags to result in upwind displacement, and the narrow zigzags caused by the higher concentration in the plume keep the male ‘locked on’ to the odour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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