London, August 15 (ANI): For one insect, a rotting animal is the ideal place for mating.
A new study has found that recently hatched, virgin female beetles (Dermestes maculatus) are attracted to scent of sex pheromones and rotting flesh.
It has been known that that newly hatched male hide beetles are attracted by benzyl butyrate, a chemical that is released in relatively high concentrations by cadavers in the late stage of decay.
But what attracts virgin female was unclear, until now.
To find out, Christian von Hoermann, a forensic entomologist at Ulm University, Germany, and his colleagues exposed virgin females to several potentially alluring scents.
They found that neither the male sex pheromones nor the scent of a pig's cadaver at various stages of decay were significantly more attractive to the virgin females than the scent of a control solvent.
But a combination of dead pig scent and male pheromone had the females flocking.
The behaviour makes sense, as a rotting animal is the ideal place for healthy beetle larvae.
"This scent of love is an honest bouquet for the appropriate decomposition stage for larval development," the New Scientist quoted von Hoermann as saying.
Tristram Wyatt at the University of Oxford says that similar behaviour is seen in other insects that depend on patchy resources.
Once they find a suitable source of food, they release pheromones to attract suitable females, who are happy to get both food and a male at the same place. (ANI)