Analysis of volatiles from rumen digesta by gas chromatography linked antennogram recordings from Stomoxys calcitrans (L) (Diptera: Muscidae) antennal receptor cells revealed about 30 electrophysiologically active constituents, the most important of which is dimethyl trisulphide with a sensory threshold in the femtogram range. The behavioural responses of S. calcitrans to five chemostimulants (dimethyl trisulphide, butanoic acid, p-cresol, oct-1-en-3-ol and skatole) were tested in a wind tunnel where activation and attraction of hungry flies to rumen volatiles were recorded. Dimethyl trisulphide, butanoic acid and p-cresol were found to attract S. calcitrans. This sensitivity to rumen volatile constituents, that also occur in animal wastes used for oviposition by Stomoxys spp., as well as in flowers used by stable flies as sources of nectar is discussed in the context of the behavioural ecology of these flies.
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