Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Behavioural neurobiology

Chemical love

Male and female fruitflies use pheromones to flaunt their species identity and gender as they court amid other fruitfly species. The grammar of this chemical language is surprisingly sophisticated.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Pheromones impart species identity in Drosophila.



  1. Billeter, J.-C., Atallah, J., Krupp, J. J., Millar, J. G. & Levine, J. D. Nature 461, 987–991 (2009).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Wyatt, T. D. Pheromones and Animal Behaviour: Communication by Smell and Taste (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  3. Dickson, B. J. Science 322, 904–909 (2008).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Jallon, J.-M. Behav. Genet. 14, 441–478 (1984).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Shirangi, T. R., Dufour, H. D., Williams, T. M. & Carroll, S. B. PLoS Biol. 7, e1000168 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Yew, J. Y. et al. Curr. Biol. 19, 1245–1254 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ejima, A. et al. Curr. Biol. 17, 599–605 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Kurtovic, A., Widmer, A. & Dickson, B. J. Nature 446, 542–546 (2007).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ha, T. S. & Smith, D. P. J. Neurosci. 26, 8727–8733 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Datta, S. R. et al. Nature 452, 473–477 (2008).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gompel, N., Prud'homme, B. Chemical love. Nature 461, 887–888 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing