Discrimination of conspecific and heterospecific signals is a key element in the evolution of specific mate recognition systems. Lepidopteran pheromone signals are typically composed of several compounds that synergize attraction of conspecific and inhibit attraction of heterospecific males. Blends convey specificity, but not their single components, that are typically shared by several species. Many sex pheromones are blends of geometric or positional isomers of straight-chain acetates, while species-specific blends of analogous alcohols have not been described. We have, therefore, studied the attraction of tortricid moths to the geometric isomers (E,E)-, (E,Z)-, (Z,E)- and (Z,Z)-8,10-dodecadien-1-ol. Only one species responding to these alcohols seemed to be attracted to a blend of two isomers, while most species are attracted to only one alcohol isomer. Lack of a pronounced synergist or antagonist effect of the other geometric isomers explains the lack of specific attraction to isomer blends and reduces accordingly the number of specific communication signals composed of these alcohols. In comparison, many more species respond to the analogous (E,E)-, (E,Z)-, (Z,E)- and (Z,Z)-8,10-dodecadienyl acetates and their binary blends. The acetate isomers all play a behavioural role, either as attractants, attraction synergists or antagonists, and thus promote specific communication with acetate blends. Male moths seem to discriminate the acetate isomers with greater precision than the analogous alcohols. It is proposed that discrimination is facilitated by steric differences between the four acetate isomers, as compared to the more uniform steric properties of the alcohols.