Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 943–957 | Cite as

Antifeedants in the Feces of the Pine Weevil Hylobius abietis: Identification and Biological Activity

  • Anna-Karin Borg-Karlson
  • Göran Nordlander
  • Anoma Mudalige
  • Henrik Nordenhem
  • C. Rikard Unelius


Egg-laying females of the pine weevil, Hylobius abietis (L.), regularly deposit feces adjacent to each egg. Egg cavities are gnawed in the bark of roots of recently dead conifer trees. After egg deposition, the cavity is sealed by feces and a plug of bark fragments. Root bark containing egg cavities with feces is avoided as food by pine weevils, which indicates the presence of natural antifeedants. Here we present the first results of the isolation and chemical analyses of antifeedant compounds in the feces of H. abietis. In feeding bioassays, methanol extracts of the feces revealed strong antifeedant properties. Methanol extracts were fractionated by medium-pressure liquid chromatography and the antifeedant effects were mainly found in the fractions of highest polarity. Volatile compounds in the active fractions were identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and the nonvolatile compounds were characterized by pyrolysis–GC–MS. Based on mass spectra, a number of compounds with various chemical structures were selected to be tested for their antifeedant properties. Antifeedant effects were found among compounds apparently originating from lignin: e.g., a methylanisol, guaiacol, veratrol, dihydroxybenzenes, and dihydroconiferyl alcohol. A weak effect by fatty acid derivatives was found. The types of naturally occurring antifeedant compounds identified in this study may become useful for the protection of planted conifer seedlings against damage by H. abietis.


Bioassay Curculionidae Deterrent Dihydroconiferyl alcohol Dihydroxybenzene Faeces Feeding Fractionation GC–MS MPLC Oviposition Protection 


This study was supported by Formas (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning; G.N., R.U., A.K.B.K.), the Carl Trygger Foundation (A.K.B.K. and R.U.), the Swedish Hylobius Research Program (G.N.), and the University of Kalmar (R.U.). We also thank Björn Bohman for laboratory assistance and Claes Hellqvist for data processing and statistical calculations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna-Karin Borg-Karlson
    • 1
  • Göran Nordlander
    • 2
  • Anoma Mudalige
    • 1
  • Henrik Nordenhem
    • 2
  • C. Rikard Unelius
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Ecological Chemistry Group, KTHStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of EntomologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of KalmarKalmarSweden

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