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Volatile compounds release by the hair pencils in male Prophantis smaragdina (Lepidoptera: Crambidae: Spilomelinae)

Lavogez O., Pinier C., Nibouche S., Frérot B.. 2017. Journal of Insect Science, 17 (6) : 5 p..

DOI: 10.1093/jisesa/iex094

Courtship behavior in several pyralid species is associated with the exposure to male hair pencils (HPs) or special scales that released volatile compounds. HP chemicals induce conspecific female and/or male behaviors and are therefore qualified as male pheromones. Preliminary observation on the coffee berry moth (CBM), Prophantis smaragdina Butler (Lepidoptera: Crambidae: Spilomelinae) mating behavior showed that the male displays abdominal HPs located on the last abdominal segment. The aim of the study was to identify the male volatile compounds and assess the results by electroantennography (EAG) on male and female antennae. Gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry analysis of male HP emissions showed five aromatic compounds identified as phenylacetaldehyde, phenylethyl alcohol, creosol, perillyl alcohol, and methyl anthranilate. EAG results showed that creosol elicited a significantly higher response than the control (hexane) on both male and female antennas. On female antennas, response to methyl anthranilate and phenylacetaldehyde was also significantly higher than the response to the control. Those results suggest that the creosol could play a behavioral role on conspecific male and female CBM during courtship behavior and mating choice. Methyl anthranilate and phenylacetaldehyde could also play a role on female behavior. Perillyl alcohol is for the first time identified as an insect product.

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