Male-produced aggregation pheromones of the cerambycid beetles Xylotrechus colonus and Sarosesthes fulminans

Emerson S Lacey, Jocelyn G Millar, Jardel A Moreira, Lawrence M Hanks
Journal of Chemical Ecology 2009, 35 (6): 733-40
Adults of both sexes of the cerambycid beetles Xylotrechus colonus (F.) and Sarosesthes fulminans (F.) were attracted to odors produced by male conspecifics in olfactometer bioassays. Analyses of headspace volatiles from adults revealed that male X. colonus produced a blend of (R)- and (S)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one and (2 S,3 S)- and (2R,3R)-2,3-hexanediol, whereas male S. fulminans produced (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one and (2 S,3R)-2,3-hexanediol. All of these compounds were absent in the headspace of females. Two field bioassays were conducted to confirm the biological activity of the synthesized pheromones: (1) enantiomerically enriched pheromone components were tested singly and in species-specific blends and (2) four-component mixture of racemic 3-hydroxyhexan-2-one plus racemic 2-hydroxyhexan-3-one and the four-component blend of the stereoisomers of 2,3-hexanediols were tested separately and as a combined eight-component blend. In these experiments, adult male and female X. colonus were captured in greatest numbers in traps baited with the reconstructed blend of components produced by males, although significant numbers were also captured in traps baited with (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one alone or in blends with other compounds. Too few adult S. fulminans were captured for a statistical comparison among treatments, but all were caught in traps baited with lures containing (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one. In addition to these two species, adults of two other species of cerambycid beetles, for which pheromones had previously been identified, were caught: Neoclytus a. acuminatus (F.) and its congener Neoclytus m. mucronatus (F.). Cross-attraction of beetles to pheromone blends of other species, and to individual pheromone components that are shared by two or more sympatric species, may facilitate location of larval hosts by species that compete for the same host species.

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