Syntomeida ipomoeae is a generalist on flowers and morning glories (Ipomoea spp.), diverging from the ancestral arctiid association with PAs for chemical defense. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) sequestered from the larval host plant are important to Utetheisa ornatrix and other arctiids as precursors to male sex pheromones. The effectiveness of these aphrodisiac compounds is thought to enforce fidelity to PA-rich host plants through female choice. Male Cosmosoma myradora imbibe PAs as adults and disseminate these compounds by forcefully ejecting PA-bearing flocculent from abdominal scent pouches during courtship. Male S. ipomoeae also bear a subabdominal pouch filled with flocculent, but in the absence of an association with PAs, either as larvae or adults, this structure appears to have become physiologically and behaviorally vestigial.
Species 1: Lepidoptera Arctiidae Syntomeida ipomoeae
Keywords: courtship behavior, chemical defense
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