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Multifunctional weaponry : The chemical defenses of earwigs

Title data

Gasch, Tina ; Schott, Matthias ; Wehrenfennig, Christoph ; Düring, Rolf-Alexander ; Vilcinskas, Andreas:
Multifunctional weaponry : The chemical defenses of earwigs.
In: Journal of Insect Physiology. Vol. 59 (2013) Issue 12 . - pp. 1186-1193.
ISSN 0022-1910
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinsphys.2013.09.006

Abstract in another language

Earwigs protect themselves against predators using pincer-like cerci and/or malodorous exudates secreted from abdominal glands. Little is known about the chemistry of these secretions and their potential functions. However, because earwigs live in aggregations and overwinter in soil, they are exposed to high microbial loads throughout their lifecycle, and we therefore hypothesized that the secretions are used not only to deter predators but also to combat pathogens and parasites in their environment. We analyzed the defensive secretions of the European earwig Forficula auricularia, the short-winged earwig Apterygida media and the woodland earwig Chelidurella guentheri by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The secretions of all three species contained 2-methyl-1,4-benzoquinone and 2-ethyl-1,4-benzoquinone, whereas A. media also produced 2,3-dimethyl-1,4-benzoquinone and 2-ethyl-3-methyl-1,4-benzoquinone. The latter has not been identified in the exudates of insects before. The composition and/or quantity of these components were species-specific and partially sex-specific. All secretions showed antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as two entomopathogenic fungi. Furthermore, the secretion of F. auricularia displayed nematicidal activity against Caenorhabditis elegans. Our data support the hypothesis that earwig secretions are multifunctional, serving both to deter predators and sanitize the microenvironment.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2020 08:01
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2020 08:01
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/54936