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Isolation and identification of a male-produced aggregation-sex pheromone for the velvet longhorned beetle, Trichoferus campestris.

  • Author(s): Ray, Ann M;
  • Francese, Joseph A;
  • Zou, Yunfan;
  • Watson, Kristopher;
  • Crook, Damon J;
  • Millar, Jocelyn G
  • et al.

The velvet longhorned beetle, Trichoferus campestris (Faldermann) ("VLB"; Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), is native to eastern Asia where it infests and damages a wide range of deciduous and coniferous tree species, including orchard and timber species. Immature stages of VLB are transported to new countries via international commerce, and populations have established outside the native range of the species. Here, we show that identification of pheromones of invasive pest species can be expedited by knowledge of the semiochemistry of related taxa. Histological sectioning revealed subcuticular, male-specific prothoracic glands connected to pits in the cuticle, which, in related species, are diagnostic for production of male-produced aggregation-sex pheromones, usually characterized by 2,3-alkanediol/hydroxyketone structural motifs. However, in preliminary field bioassays, beetles were not attracted by any known cerambycid pheromones. Subsequently, we identified a novel variant of the hydroxyketone motif ("trichoferone") from headspace volatiles of males. In field bioassays, synthetic trichoferone was more attractive to both sexes of VLB than previously developed high-release-rate ethanol lures, and attraction was strongly female biased. This study demonstrated the utility of the prothoracic gland trait for predicting pheromone use in cerambycid species in the subfamily Cerambycinae, and that identification of pheromones of novel species can be expedited by knowledge of pheromones of related species. Trichoferone should prove to be a valuable tool for detection of VLB in regions where the beetle is or may become established.

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