Coxal secretion of adult female Ornithodoros erraticus was found to contain a sex pheromone that induces in males of this species a mating response towards nymphs smeared with this secretion. Heterospecific coxal fluid from O. tholozani and O. moubata also elicited a mating response from O. erraticus males. Adult O. erraticus females did not evoke courting behaviour when immobilized or killed, but normal mating behaviour was regained when the immobilized females were freed – proving that both pheromone and recognition of a behavioural pattern are essential components of mating behaviour. Secretion of the sex pheromone appears by the 4th day after a blood meal and accumulates with time, thus increasing the number of attempted matings.
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