Sequestration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in several arctiid moths (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae)

Abstract

Sequestration of dietary pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) by larvae and adults of six European arctiid moth species (Spilosoma lubricipeda, Arctia caja, Phragmatobia fuliginosa, Callimorpha dominula, Diacrisia sannio, andTyria jacobaeae) was investigated for comparison with the well-studied Asian arctiidCreatonotos transiens. Larvae of all species metabolized free PA bases into the respectiveN-oxides. Only adults ofA. caja, P. fuliginosa, andS. lubricipeda, but not their larvae, converted dietary 7(S)-heliotrine to 7(R)-heliotrine, a direct precursor of a male pheromone in some arctiids, 7(R)-hydroxydanaidal. The larval integument figures as the main storage site for resorbed alkaloids; only minor amounts were found in other tissues. In addition, a significant amount of alkaloid is deposited in the cocoon ofArctia caja; only traces of alkaloids could be found in the meconium and the exuviae of this species. A substantial part of the alkaloids fed was degraded to unknown, nonalkaloidal products.

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