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Chemoecology

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Phenylpropanoid sex pheromone component in hemolymph of male Carambola fruit fly, Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae)

  • Wei-Wei Hiap
  • Suk-Ling Wee
  • Keng-Hong Tan
  • Alvin Kah-Wei Hee
Original Article
  • 42 Downloads

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Bactrocera carambolae Methyl eugenol (E)-coniferyl alcohol Hemolymph Rectal gland Sex pheromone 

Abbreviations

CFF

Carambola fruit fly

OFF

Oriental fruit fly

ECF

(E)-coniferyl alcohol

ME

Methyl eugenol

MAT

Male annihilation technique

SIT

Sterile insect technique

DMP

2-Allyl-4,5-dimethoxyphenol

DAE

Days after emergence

IS

Internal standard

BFR

Bioactive fractions

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

Author contributions

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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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Entomology and Chemical Ecology, Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversiti Putra Malaysia, UPMSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Natural Resource SciencesUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  3. 3.Centre of Insect Systematics, Faculty of Science & TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  4. 4.Mobula ResearchTanjong BungahMalaysia

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