Science: Synthetic Siren Song

The gypsy moth, a European immigrant that defoliates forests in New England and is threatening the Middle West from a beachhead near Detroit, may soon be undone by synthetic sex. Martin Jacobson, Morton Beroza and William A. Jones, all of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service, tell in Science how they have isolated and synthesized the powerful chemical lure with which female gypsy moths attract their males.

Entomologists have known since 1913 that an essence extracted from the abdomen tips of female gypsy moths would bring excited males from as far as half a mile away. For years they used this natural extract...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!