A Juvenile Hormone analogue enhances homosexual behaviour in female-deprived males of the migratory locust

Moshe Guershon, Amir Ayali, Esther Golenser, Meir Paul Pener*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In laboratory colonies of crowded migratory locusts Locusta migratoria (L.), homosexual behaviour (i.e. males mounting other males) is commonly observed. Female-deprived males of Locusta migratoria migratorioides R. & F. mount each other in a characteristic mating position, often forming a group of several insects. When allatectomized males are placed together with intact, female-deprived males, the former are usually mounted by the latter, demonstrating some degree of control involving the corpora allata over homosexual behaviour. This may be related to the positive effects of Juvenile Hormone (JH) or Juvenile Hormone analogues (JHAs) in enhancing male sexual behaviour, as is shown in some other insects. In the present study, a potent JHA (i.e. pyriproxyfen) is injected into a group of young, crowded L. m. migratorioides males, and an equivalent group of control males is maintained in a separate cage. Both groups are deprived of females. Three times a week, during 2-h observation periods, JHA-injected and control males are placed together in the absence of females, and homosexual mountings, per group and per individual, are recorded every 10 min. Observations are performed for 10 weeks. Analysis of these data, including the time spent in mounting behaviour, the percentage of individuals within a group involved in the behaviour during the observation periods and the identity of both partners, reveals that the JHA-treated males show a more intense homosexual mating behaviour than control males in all quantified parameters. This is the first report of the enhancement of homosexual behaviour by an endocrine factor in insects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-294
Number of pages4
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Homosexual behaviour
  • Locusta migratoria migratorioides
  • Precopulatory mounting
  • Pyriproxyfen


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