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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A new C12 alcohol identified as a sex pheromone and a trail-following pheromone in termites: the diene (Z,Z)-dodeca-3,6-dien-1-ol.

The diunsaturated C12 alcohol (Z,Z)-dodeca-3,6-dien-1-ol (dodecadienol) has been characterized by GC-MS and FTIR as a novel releaser pheromone in termites. This alcohol identified in Ancistrotermes pakistanicus (Termitidae, Macrotermitinae) possesses a double pheromonal function which again illustrates the chemical parsimony of termites compared with other social insects. In workers, dodecadienol elicits trail-following at a very low concentration (activity threshold at 0.1 pg/cm of trail); in male alates it induces trail-following at a low concentration (1-10 pg/cm) and sexual attraction at a higher concentration (about 1 ng). Traces of the monounsaturated C12 alcohol (Z)-dodec-3-en-1-ol (dodecenol), known as a trail pheromone of several Macrotermitinae, were also found in the sternal gland extracts of A. pakistanicus, although only dodecadienol was present at the surface of the sternal gland. Workers of A. pakistanicus are not sensitive to dodecenol, but they are as sensitive to dodecatrienol as to dodecadienol. However, in the study area (Vietnam), A. pakistanicus is living in sympatry only with those Macrotermitinae using dodecenol as a trail pheromone, the foraging populations therefore being well isolated through their respective trail pheromones. The presence of three types of unsaturated C12 alcohols as releaser pheromones in the only Macrotermitinae subfamily is discussed, and a possible biosynthetic pathway from linoleic acid is proposed for dodecadienol.[1]


  1. A new C12 alcohol identified as a sex pheromone and a trail-following pheromone in termites: the diene (Z,Z)-dodeca-3,6-dien-1-ol. Robert, A., Peppuy, A., Sémon, E., Boyer, F.D., Lacey, M.J., Bordereau, C. Naturwissenschaften (2004) [Pubmed]
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