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J Chem Ecol. 2004 Aug;30(8):1509-29.

Investigation of long-range female sex pheromone of the European tarnished plant bug, Lygus rugulipennis: chemical, electrophysiological, and field studies.

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  • 1Horticulture Research International East Malling, West Malling, Kent ME19 6BJ, UK.


The European tarnished plant bug, Lygus rugulipennis, is an important pest of agricultural and horticultural crops throughout Europe. Adult male L. rugulipennis were previously shown to be attracted to traps baited with live virgin females, which suggests the females produce a sex pheromone. Volatiles produced by virgin female L. rugulipennis were shown to contain three components, hexyl butyrate, (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate, and (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal which elicited electroantennographic (EAG) responses from males in analyses by linked gas chromatography-electroantennography (GC-EAG). They were produced in 1.5:1:0.08 ratio, respectively, by single females. Collections from 1, 2, or 4 virgin females showed the proportions of hexyl butyrate and (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal to increase relative to that of (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate with increasing number of females. Although these compounds were found in body extracts of both male and female L. rugulipennis, they were not detected in volatiles released by virgin males. EAG dose-response studies showed that both males and females responded to these chemicals with minimal differences in sensitivity between the sexes or to the three components, except that males were more responsive than females to (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal at the two highest doses tested. Release rates of the compounds from rubber septa, polyethylene vials, and polyethylene sachets were measured under laboratory conditions. Four field tests were carried out using sticky traps baited with all possible binary and tertiary combinations of the three chemicals using different combinations of dispensing systems. Catches of male L. rugulipennis in baited traps were similar to those in unbaited traps. Significantly fewer females were caught on traps baited with blends containing hexyl butyrate than on traps without hexyl butyrate or unbaited traps in one test and overall. The roles of the three compounds and possible reasons for their failure to attract males are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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