Male-to-female transfer of 5-hydroxytryptophan glucoside during mating in Zygaena filipendulae (Lepidoptera)

Mika Zagrobelny, Mohammed Saddik Motawia, Carl Erik Olsen, Søren Bak, Birger Lindberg Møller

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Zygaena filipendulae accumulates the cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and lotaustralin by larval sequestration from the food plant or de novo biosynthesis. We have previously demonstrated that the Z. filipendulae male transfers linamarin and lotaustralin to the female in the course of mating. In this study we report the additional transfer of 5-hydroxytryptophan glucoside (5-(β-d-glucopyranosyloxy)-l-Tryptophan) from the Z. filipendulae male internal genitalia to the female spermatophore around 5 h into the mating process. 5-Hydroxytryptophan glucoside is present in the virgin male internal genitalia, and production continues during the early phase of mating. Following initiation of 5-hydroxytryptophan glucoside transfer to the female, the amount in male internal genitalia is drastically reduced until after mating where it is slowly replenished. For unambiguous structural identification, 5-hydroxytryptophan glucoside was chemically synthesized and used as an authentic standard. The biological function of 5-hydroxytryptophan glucoside remains to be established, although we have indications that it may be involved in inducing the female to stay in copula and delay egg-laying to prevent re-mating of the female. To our knowledge 5-hydroxytryptophan glucoside has not previously been reported present in animal tissues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1037-1044
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan glucoside
  • Zygaena filipendulae
  • Insect
  • Mating
  • Nuptial gift
  • Spermatophore

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