, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 199–206 | Cite as

A weevil sex pheromone serves as an attractant for its entomopathogenic nematode predators

  • Monique J. RiveraEmail author
  • Xavier Martini
  • Ashot Khrimian
  • Lukasz Stelinski
Original Article


Diaprepes abbreviatus is an invasive pest of citrus in the USA from the Caribbean. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are used as biological control agents in citrus agroecosystems against D. abbreviatus. EPNs respond to herbivore-induced volatiles from citrus roots to assist in the location of insect hosts. Here, we investigated EPN response to the male-produced sex pheromone of D. abbreviatus. In the laboratory, we used two-choice tests to investigate the behavioral response of Steinernema diaprepesi, Heterorhabditis indica, Steinernema riobrave, and the plant parasitic nematode, Tylenchulus semipenetrans, to the synthetic sex pheromone of D. abbreviatus, as well as its natural source, beetle frass. Nematodes were not attracted by volatiles of citrus plant origin or carvacrol, a non-pheromone volatile associated with beetle frass. S. diaprepesi and H. indica were attracted to the frass and the pheromone of D. abbreviatus. The response of S. diaprepesi to the pheromone was greater than that of H. indica at all doses tested; the greatest response from both species occurred at 0.12 and 1.2 ng of pheromone/μL of solvent. Deploying the pheromone in a citrus grove increased the mortality of caged Diaprepes larvae as compared to control larvae deployed with solvent alone. Also, more EPNs were found in the soil surrounding the pheromone-baited larvae than the surrounding controls.


Entomopathogenic nematodes Nematode chemotaxis Pheromone Diaprepes abbreviatus (E)-3-(2-Hydroxyethyl)-4-methyl-2-pentenoate 



We thank Ian Jackson and Daniel Diaz for technical assistance. We are grateful to Drs. F. El-Borai and L. Duncan for assistance with nematode culture establishment and for providing guidance regarding their maintenance. This work was partially supported by a USDA-CSREES special Grant and University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship Grant to L. L. S.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monique J. Rivera
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xavier Martini
    • 2
  • Ashot Khrimian
    • 3
  • Lukasz Stelinski
    • 1
  1. 1.Entomology and Nematology Department, Citrus Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaLake AlfredUSA
  2. 2.Entomology and Nematology Department, North Florida Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaQuincyUSA
  3. 3.Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior LaboratoryUSDA-ARS, NEABeltsvilleUSA

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