Phenylpropanoid sex pheromone component in hemolymph of male Carambola fruit fly, Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae)
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Males of the Carambola fruit fly, Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae) are strongly attracted to, and feed on methyl eugenol (ME) that exists as a plant secondary compound in over 480 plant species worldwide. Upon feeding on this highly potent attractant, the males convert ME into a phenylpropanoid, (E)-coniferyl alcohol (ECF), that is stored in the rectal gland prior to its release as a sex pheromone component during calling and courtship. Here, using a series of chemical and behavioural assays, we provide evidence for the presence of ECF in the hemolymph and suggest the latter’s involvement in transport of ECF to the male rectal gland following consumption of ME. The greatest concentration of ECF was detected in the hemolymph at 3 h after feeding on ME and subsequently decreased, whereas accumulation of ECF in the rectal gland reached a maximum at 2 days post-feeding. Using male flies as biodetectors, fractions of 1.5–9.2 kDa from fractionated hemolymph of ME-fed males were found to be attractive and contained ECF as sex pheromone. In addition, the significant increase in the total concentration of protein in hemolymph from ME-fed males compared with that of ME-deprived males suggests a direct protein carrier involvement in hemolymph transport of the sex pheromone in B. carambolae. All these results are further discussed in comparison with previous results obtained from its sibling species, the Oriental fruit fly—B. dorsalis.
KeywordsBactrocera carambolae Methyl eugenol (E)-coniferyl alcohol Hemolymph Rectal gland Sex pheromone
Carambola fruit fly
Oriental fruit fly
Male annihilation technique
Sterile insect technique
Days after emergence
This research was funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS No.: 01-11-09-715FR). We also thank Dr R. Nishida, Professor Emeritus in Kyoto University for providing us (E)-coniferyl alcohol.
AKWH and KHT conceived and designed the methodology; WWH collected the data; WWH, SLW, AKWH and KHT analyzed the data; WWH and AKWH led the writing of the manuscript. All authors contributed critically to the drafts and approved the final draft for publication.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
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