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J Chem Ecol. 2013 Apr;39(4):559-68. doi: 10.1007/s10886-013-0272-5. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

A male-predominant cuticular hydrocarbon, 7-methyltricosane, is used as a contact pheromone in the western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis.

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Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology, School of Life Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK.


In a laboratory bioassay, adult female Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) spent more time near filter paper disks that had been exposed to adult males than near unexposed disks; this effect was not observed on disks exposed to adult females. The response could only partly be explained by the known male-produced aggregation pheromone, neryl (S)-2-methylbutanoate, suggesting the presence of an unknown male-produced compound. In gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses, 7-methyltricosane was detected on disks exposed to males, but not on disks exposed to females. Extracts of cuticular lipids also showed relatively large amounts of 7-methyltricosane on males, whereas only trace amounts were found on females and none on larvae. Bioassays of synthetic 7-methyltricosane showed that adults responded only after contact. The response to this compound was clearly different from that to n-tricosane or hexane-only controls. Females that contacted 7-methyltricosane on glass beads stayed in the vicinity and frequently raised the abdomen, a behavior that rejects mating attempts by males. Males stayed in the vicinity and wagged the abdomen sideways, a behavior used in fighting between males. This is the first identification of a contact pheromone in the order Thysanoptera.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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