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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Gall midge olfaction: Pheromone sensitive olfactory neurons in Contarinia nasturtii and Mayetiola destructor

Boddum, Tina; Skals, Niels; Hill, Sharon; Hansson, Bill; Hillbur, Ylva


This study describes the morphology and function of the antennal sensilla in two gall midge species, Contarinia nasturtii and Mayetiola destructor, where multi-component sex pheromones have been identified. Both species possess sensilla trichodea, s. coeloconica, s. chaetica and s. circumfila. Sensilla circumfila, which consist of several sensilla that bifurcate and fuse into one structure, are unique for the gall midges. In C. nasturtii s. circumfila are sexually dimorphic. In males, they form elongated loops suspended on cuticular spines, whereas in females they run like worm-like structures directly on the antennal surface. Single sensillum recordings demonstrated that olfactory sensory neurons housed in male s. circumfila in C. nasturtii responded to the female sex pheromone. In M. destructor, S. circumfila were attached to the antennal surface in both sexes, and displayed no response to sex pheromone components.A sexual dimorphism was also found in the number of s. trichodea per antennal segment in both C. nasturtii (male 1 vs. female 7) and M. destructor (male 13 vs. female 10). OSNs located in male M. destructor s. trichodea responded to the sex pheromone. This is the first gall midge single sensillum study, and the first demonstration of the functional significance of s. circumfila. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Sensillum circumfilum; Trichodeum; Single sensillum recordings; Pheromone; Gall midge

Published in

Journal of Insect Physiology
2010, Volume: 56, number: 9, pages: 1306-1314