Mayolenes: labile defensive lipids from the glandular hairs of a caterpillar (Pieris rapae)

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 May 14;99(10):6822-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.102165699. Epub 2002 May 7.


Larvae of the European cabbage butterfly, Pieris rapae (Pieridae), are beset with glandular hairs, bearing droplets of a clear oily secretion at their tip. The fluid consists primarily of a series of chemically labile, unsaturated lipids, the mayolenes, which are derived from 11-hydroxylinolenic acid. In bioassays with the ant Crematogaster lineolata, the secretion was shown to be potently deterrent, indicating that the fluid plays a defensive role in nature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants*
  • Biological Assay
  • Butterflies / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis*
  • Insect Repellents / analysis*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Pest Control, Biological*
  • Tenebrio


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Insect Repellents
  • mayolene