Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 10, pp 2225-2234

First online:

Responses of the Aphids Phorodon humuli and Rhopalosiphum padi to Sex Pheromone Stereochemistry in the Field

  • Colin A. M. CampbellAffiliated withHorticulture Research International East Malling Email author 
  • , Fraser J. CookAffiliated withHorticulture Research International East Malling
  • , John A. PickettAffiliated withRothamsted Research
  • , Tom W. PopeAffiliated withHorticulture Research International East Malling
  • , Lester J. WadhamsAffiliated withRothamsted Research
  • , Christine M. WoodcockAffiliated withRothamsted Research

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Gynoparous female and male damson-hop aphids, Phorodon humuli (Schrank), were caught in the field by water traps that were releasing the sex pheromone of this species, (1RS,4aR,7S,7aS)-nepetalactol. No behavioral activity was elicited by (4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactone, the major sex pheromone component of other aphid species such as Megoura viciae Buckton, even though olfactory cells were found in the secondary rhinaria on the third antennal segment of P. humuli that responded strongly to this compound. Gynoparous female P. humuli in the field responded less strongly to (1R,4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactol, the sex pheromone of the bird cherry-oat aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.), than they did to the (4aR,7S,7aS)-nepetalactols, but males responded only to the latter. The (4aR,7S,7aS)-nepetalactone showed no electrophysiological activity so was not used in field trials. Releasing either the (4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactone or the (1R,4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactol with the (4aR,7S,7aS)-nepetalactols did not inhibit the response of P. humuli gynoparous females and males to the latter. Males of R. padi responded as strongly to the (4aR,7S,7aS)-nepetalactols as they did to (1R,4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactol. Males of P. humuli and R. padi responded positively to an increased concentration of the (4aR,7S,7aS)-nepetalactols released from two vials compared with that from a single vial, as did P. humuli (in one of two experiments) and R. padi to the (1RS,4aR,7S,7aS)- and (1R,4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactols when released together.

Aphid sex pheromone olfactory cell stereochemistry nepetalactone nepetalactol Phorodon humuli Rhopalosiphum padi semiochemical