Inbreeding decreases upwind pheromone
: mediated male flight and frequency in female calling behavior in a lab culture of the pyraloid moth Plodia interpunctella

  • Per Heydorn

Student thesis: Bachelor


Semiochemicals are chemicals used to communicate. Animals tend to use these e.g. to locate food sources or to find a suitable mate. In this study, the sex pheromone of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella, was analysed. Since this is an economically important species, it is mass-reared in labs and science centers worldwide for experimental purposes. A culture of these moths was brought into the lab at Lund University for studies and has after that served as a model species demonstrating up-wind pheromone-mediated male flight in different courses held by the university. As years went by, the culture got less successful in up-wind flights, most probably because of inbreeding and bottleneck effects, and therefore, a new culture was taken in. This study focuses on using various experiments to see if there was a behavioral and/or physiological difference between the two cultures. Results show a significant difference in behavioral traits (frequency of calling behavior in females and in male up-wind flights) but not in physiological traits (female pheromone production or male antennal response). This study discusses some effects of mass-reared lab cultures.

Date of Award2018-Aug-27
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGlenn P. Svensson (Supervisor), Lars J. Jonsson (Supervisor) & Johan Elmberg (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Biology programme

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Analytical Chemistry (10401)
  • Behavioural Sciences Biology (10613)


  • plodia interpunctella
  • indian meal moth
  • lab culture
  • degeneration
  • inbreeding

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