Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and aggregation in four Periplaneta species (Insecta: Dictyoptera)

J Insect Physiol. 2005 Sep;51(9):995-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2005.04.017. Epub 2005 Jun 13.


Cuticular hydrocarbon (CH) profiles of four Periplaneta species were compared and their role in aggregation and interspecific recognition was evaluated. CH profiles are species specific and include from 19 to 25 hydrocarbons. P. brunnea, P. fuliginosa and P. australasiae have more CH components in common with one another than with P. americana. P. americana hydrocarbons include components from 24 to 43 carbon atoms but hydrocarbons for the three other species range from 21 to 41 atoms. The major compound in CH profiles in P. americana is 6,9-heptacosadiene that is absent from the three other species. The major compound in CH profiles of P. Brunnea and P. fuliginosa is 13-methyl pentacosane that is not found in the CH profile of P. americana. Major compounds in P. australasiae species are tricosene and 13-methyl pentacosane, respectively, in males and females. Binary choice tests demonstrated that specific CH extracts induced aggregation in the four species. High CH amounts were required to induce aggregation of P. americana and P. brunnea on conditioned sites, whereas low amounts were sufficient to induce aggregation of P. fuliginosa and P. australasiae. These results suggest that CHs are involved in aggregation and interspecific recognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hydrocarbons / chemistry*
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism*
  • Integumentary System / physiology*
  • Larva / chemistry
  • Periplaneta / chemistry*
  • Periplaneta / classification
  • Periplaneta / physiology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Species Specificity


  • Hydrocarbons