What do houseflies really like?

rjb hobuss at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jul 25 09:06:20 EDT 1999

I'm not that kind of chemist, but I remember from years ago that several
decomposition products from amino acid degradation have some of the most
distinct odors (to human noses).  IIRC, the amino acid tryptophane, for
example, is converted in the human intestine to methylindole (aka skatole)
which has a distinct odor of feces.  I think that an insect like Nicrophorus
or Phanaeus would have a lot of molecules to choose from.  I have not read
any beetle papers (never see diptera papers) identifying what molecules they
home in on, but I would be surprised if no one has looked at this.  The
insect's strategy might be more sophisticated than choosing a single
molecule.  I recall reading that some scolytid bark beetles look for the
combination of chemicals from a wounded conifer together with pheromones
from already arrived scolytids.  The combination is irresistable.
Steven M. Cohen wrote in message ...
>Do you know what gas is given off my decaying animals or fecies?  We
>certainly know it has a distinct odor, but what gas or gasses would it be?
>rjb wr

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