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Sensitive antennae detect sex pheromones: Indian luna moth

The antennae of the Indian luna moth detects a single sex pheromone molecule from more than six miles away due to extremely sensitive olfactory receptors.

"The moth with the most developed sense of smell, however, is that of…the Indian luna moth (Actias selene). The male of this species is so sensitive to the female's sex pheromone that he can trace a female via her scent from as far away as 6 1/2 miles (11 km). In experiments in which male specimens were released this distance away from caged females, 26 percent successfully located the females, while 46 percent of the males located the females if released 2 1/2 miles (4.1 km) from them." (Shuker 2001:29)
About the inspiring organism
Actias selene
Actias selene Hübner 1806

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: LepIndex: The Global Lepidoptera Names Index
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Highly sensitive biosensors for detecting gas leaks.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Biosensors, environmental remediation, utilities

Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p.
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