Cuticular surface hydrocarbons of desert locust nymphs, Schistocerca gregaria, and their effect on phase behavior

Yael Heifetz, Irena Miloslavski, Zeev Aizenshtat, Shalom W. Applebaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The quantity of cuticular hydrocarbons is higher in solitarious nymphs of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, compared to gregarious nymphs, but the total hydrocarbon fraction of solitarious nymphs does not significantly divert behavioral transition of isolated nymphs to the gregarious phase, while gregarious hydrocarbon extracts do. This suggests that qualitative differences in composition are responsible for the biological effect. The profile of cuticular hydrocarbon components is similar in the two phases, but some peak ratios differ. Crowding of solitarious nymphs leads to rapid changes in the profile of the hydrocarbon fraction, suggesting that specific hydrocarbons are produced and secreted as a consequence. Isolating previously crowded nymphs has an opposite effect. The composition of cuticular hydrocarbons from the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, which differs considerably from that of S. gregaria, does not induce the gregarious behavioral phase in solitarious nymphs of the latter.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1033-1047
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments—This work was supported in part by the agreement between the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim and the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University and by the Mauer-berger Foundation Fund of South Africa.


  • Contact pheromones
  • Cuticular hydrocarbons
  • Desert locust
  • Phase transition
  • Schistocerca gregaria


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