Not too much perfume, please

 

Male silkmoths sniff out mates with neurons tuned to detect just the right amount of scent.

Forget elaborate dances, sweet serenades or complicated foreplay. And throw away the Spanish fly and oysters. If you’re a female silkmoth, chances are that your would-be mate is already drunk on your very own elixir of love if he’s within whiffing distance. It takes just 170 molecules of the sex pheromone bombykol to put a male silkmoth in the mood.

Farmers have been using bombykol for years to bamboozle love-sick moths in their fields. But how so few molecules elicit such a strong behavioural response has been somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Continue reading “Not too much perfume, please”