Insect chemical communication systems

J. H. Tumlinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The structures of insect pheromones vary with different orders, families, genera, and species. In general, species in the same family and order have pheromones of similar structure. In the moths (Lepidoptera) the pheromone structures are fatty acid derived molecules and the biosynthetic pathways have been elucidated for many of the moth pheromones. However, the existing theory on pheromone biosynthesis in Lepidoptera cannot account for some of the more unusual structures. In contrast, the tephritid fruit fly (Diptera) pheromone structures are quite different from those of the moths and even within a single species pheromone molecules that appear to have arisen by different biosynthetic routes may be employed. Insect chemical communication systems are complex and provide a number of new compounds for structural and biosynthetic investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-562
Number of pages4
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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