We report here the identification of the long-range, male-produced sex pheromone of the Old house borerHylotrupes bajulus. Chemical analysis of hexane extracts obtained by surface extraction from dissected prothoracic glands and from headspace samples of the two sexes, revealed male-specific compounds: (3R)-3-hydroxy-2-hexanone, 2-hydroxy-3-hexanone, the diastereomeric diols (2R, 3R)-2,3-hexanediol and (2S, 3R)-2,3-hexanediol, 2,3-hexanedione, as well as 1-butanol.
In wind tunnel bioassays we tested the influence of these male-specific compounds from the prothoracal glands on the behaviour of unmated and mated females. Specific behavioural sequences of the tested females (activity, running behaviour, searching, cleaning, flying, extension of ovipositor) were recorded. Unmated females were attracted by male beetles, headspace extracts of males, synthetic blends of the major pheromone compounds as well as by the components (3R)-3-hydroxy-2-hexanone, and the diastereomeric diols. Hexane, female beetles and 2,3-hexanedione did not attract unmated females. The reactions of mated females to male beetles and headspace samples did not differ significantly from those of the controls.
The results of the bioassays show that the two-stage premating behaviour is initiated by emission of a long-range sex pheromone from the male prothoracal glands, which functions as an activator, attractant, and possibly aphrodisiac for unmated females.
Hylotrupes bajulusColeoptera Cerambycidae male sex pheromone (3R)-3-hydroxy-3-hexanone wind tunnel female response premating behaviour