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Open Access Publications from the University of California

(3S,6E)-nerolidol-mediated rendezvous of Cyclocephala paraguayensis beetles in bottle gourd flowers.

  • Author(s): Favaris, Arodí P
  • Túler, Amanda C
  • Silva, Weliton D
  • Rodrigues, Sérgio R
  • Leal, Walter S
  • Bento, José MS
  • et al.

Cyclocephalini beetles of the genus Cyclocephala (Coleoptera: Melolonthidae: Dynastinae) use flowers of some plants as food, shelter, and mating sites. However, little is known about floral scent chemistry involved in this interaction. Here we show that a sesquiterpene alcohol mediates attraction of Cyclocephala paraguayensis Arrow, on bottle gourd flowers, Lagenaria siceraria (Cucurbitaceae). Both males and females started to aggregate on the flowers at twilight; after that, mating began and remained for the entire night. GC-FID/EAD analysis of the L. siceraria floral scent collected in the field revealed that only the major constituent of the airborne volatiles elicited electroantennographic responses on male and female antennae of C. paraguayensis. This compound was identified as (3S,6E)-nerolidol, which was tested in two field trapping trials in Brazil. In the first bioassay, traps baited with nerolidol (mix of isomers) captured significantly more adult C. paraguayensis than control traps. In the second field trial, catches in traps baited with a mixture of isomers or enantiopure nerolidol were significantly higher than captures in control traps, but the treatments did not differ significantly. Analysis from the gut content of adult C. paraguayensis showed the presence of pollen, suggesting that they also use bottle gourd flowers for their nourishment. Taken together, these results suggest that (3S,6E)-nerolidol plays an essential role in the reproductive behavior of C. paraguayensis by eliciting aggregation, mating, and feeding.

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