Ecological, behavioral, and biochemical aspects of insect hydrocarbons

Annu Rev Entomol. 2005;50:371-93. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.50.071803.130359.


This review covers selected literature from 1982 to the present on some of the ecological, behavioral, and biochemical aspects of hydrocarbon use by insects and other arthropods. Major ecological and behavioral topics are species- and gender-recognition, nestmate recognition, task-specific cues, dominance and fertility cues, chemical mimicry, and primer pheromones. Major biochemical topics include chain length regulation, mechanism of hydrocarbon formation, timing of hydrocarbon synthesis and transport, and biosynthesis of volatile hydrocarbon pheromones of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. In addition, a section is devoted to future research needs in this rapidly growing area of science.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism*
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Pheromones / physiology*
  • Reproduction
  • Species Specificity


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Pheromones