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J Chem Ecol. 2007 Jun;33(6):1272-82. Epub 2007 Apr 19.

Pharmacophagy of methyl eugenol by males enhances sexual selection of Bactrocera carambolae.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia. swee@hortresearch.co.nz

Abstract

After pharmacophagy of methyl eugenol (ME), males of Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae) produced (E)-coniferyl alcohol (CF) along with its endogenously synthesized pheromonal compounds. CF was shown to be released into the air by the ME-fed males only during the courtship period at dusk and attracted significantly more males and females than the ME-deprived males in wind tunnel assays. However, earlier onset of sexual attraction and a higher mating success were observed only in the wind tunnel and field cage assays on the third day posttreatment of ME. Field cage observations on the male-to-male interaction indicated that the ME-deprived males did not exhibit aggregation behavior, but that ME feeding promoted aggregation behavior in B. carambolae. Field cage observations revealed that the ME-deprived males were not only attracted to the ME-fed males, but also appeared to feed on their anal secretions. The secretions were subsequently confirmed to contain CF along with endogenously produced pheromonal compounds. Results obtained for B. carambolae were compared to those previously obtained from its sibling species, Bactrocera dorsalis, and are discussed in light of species advancement in fruit fly-plant relationships.

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