Social communication activates the circadian gene Tctimeless in Tribolium castaneum

Animesha Rath, Miriam Benita, Josef Doron, Inon Scharf, Daphna Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemical communication via pheromones is an integral component in insect behavior, particularly for mate searching and reproduction. Aggregation pheromones, that attract conspecifics of both sexes, are particularly common and have been identified for hundreds of species. These pheromones are among the most ecologically selective pest suppression agents. In this study, we identified an activating effect of the aggregation pheromone of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenibroidae) on a highly conserved circadian clock gene (Tctimeless). Tribolium castaneum is one of the most damaging cosmopolitan pest of flour and other stored food products. Its male produced aggregation pheromone, 4,8-dimethyldecanal (DMD), attracts both conspecific males and females and is used for pest management via monitoring and mating disruption. The Tctimeless gene is an essential component for daily expression patterns of the circadian clock and plays vital roles in eclosion, egg production, and embryonic development. In this study, we demonstrate that constant exposure to the species-specific aggregation pheromone led to Tctimeless up-regulation and a different pattern of rhythmic locomotive behavior. We propose that changing the well-adapted "alarm clock", using DMD is liable to reduce fitness and can be highly useful for pest management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16152
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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