(R)-Desmolactone is a sex pheromone or sex attractant for the endangered valley elderberry longhorn beetle Desmocerus californicus dimorphus and several congeners (Cerambycidae: Lepturinae)

Ann M Ray, Richard A Arnold, Ian Swift, Philip A Schapker, Sean McCann, Christopher J Marshall, J Steven McElfresh, Jocelyn G Millar
PloS One 2014, 9 (12): e115498
We report here that (4R,9Z)-hexadec-9-en-4-olide [(R)-desmolactone] is a sex attractant or sex pheromone for multiple species and subspecies in the cerambycid genus Desmocerus. This compound was previously identified as a female-produced sex attractant pheromone of Desmocerus californicus californicus. Headspace volatiles from female Desmocerus aureipennis aureipennis contained (R)-desmolactone, and the antennae of adult males of two species responded strongly to synthetic (R)-desmolactone in coupled gas chromatography-electroantennogram analyses. In field bioassays in California, Oregon, and British Columbia, traps baited with synthetic (R)-desmolactone captured males of several Desmocerus species and subspecies. Only male beetles were captured, indicating that this compound acts as a sex-specific attractant, rather than as a signal for aggregation. In targeted field bioassays, males of the US federally threatened subspecies Desmocerus californicus dimorphus responded to the synthetic attractant in a dose dependent manner. Our results represent the first example of a "generic" sex pheromone used by multiple species in the subfamily Lepturinae, and demonstrate that pheromone-baited traps may be a sensitive and efficient method of monitoring the threatened species Desmocerus californicus dimorphus, commonly known as the valley elderberry longhorn beetle.

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