Contact sex pheromones identified for two species of longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Tetropium fuscum and T. cinnamopterum in the subfamily Spondylidinae

Peter J Silk, Jon Sweeney, Junping Wu, Stephanie Sopow, Peter D Mayo, David Magee
Environmental Entomology 2011, 40 (3): 714-26
Male Tetropium fuscum (F.) and T. cinnamopterum Kirby mated with live and dead (freeze-killed) conspecific females upon antennal contact, but did not respond to dead females after cuticular waxes were removed by hexane rinsing. Significantly fewer males of each species attempted to copulate with live or dead heterospecific females than with conspecifics, indicating that mate recognition was mediated by species-specific contact sex pheromones in the female's cuticular hydrocarbons. GC/MS analysis of T. fuscum elytra identified n-alkanes and mono-methyl branched alkanes of which 11-methylheptacosane and 3- and 5-methyltricosanes were dominant in females. Full male responses, including copulatory behavior, were restored with application of enantiomerically pure synthetic (S)-11-methyl-heptacosane at 40 μg/female (one female equivalent) but not with racemic or (R)-11-methyl-heptacosane. The cuticular hydrocarbons on T. cinnamopterum elytra included 11-methyl-heptacosane as well as n-alkanes, methyl-branched alkanes, mono-alkenes, and (Z, Z)-6, 9-alkadienes. (Z)-9-pentacosene, (Z)-9-heptacosene, and 11-methyl-heptacosane were female dominant, but only (Z)-9-pentacosene elicited precopulatory behaviors in conspecific males at levels similar to those behaviors elicited by unrinsed females, but elicited copulation in fewer than half of males. At female equivalent dosages (10 μg), neither (Z)-9-heptacosene nor (S)-11-methyl- heptacosane elicited responses in males that were significantly different from those responses to a rinsed female but when applied together, the proportion of males responding was significantly increased. 11-methyl-heptacosene is thus a contact pheromone component common to both species, which may explain the heterospecific mating attempts by some males.

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