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Populations of the Gall Midge Dasineura oxycoccana on Cranberry and Blueberry Produce and Respond to Different Sex Pheromones


We identified and field-tested the sex pheromones of Dasineura oxycoccana (Johnson) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) midges collected from cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton, and from highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum L., commonly named cranberry tipworm (CTW) and blueberry gall midge (BGM), respectively. Coupled gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) analyses of pheromone gland extract from the ovipositor of calling CTW females revealed one component (<10 pg per ovipositor/pheromone gland) that elicited antennal responses from CTW males. Stepwise identification was based on its mass spectrum in a concentrated sample with 300 pheromone gland equivalents, retention indices (RI) on three GC columns (DB-5, DB-23, and DB 210), RI inter-column differentials, and RIs and double bond positions of other midge pheromones. These analyses indicated that (8Z)-2,14-diacetoxy-8-heptadecene (2,14-8Z-17) was the candidate pheromone of the CTW. GC-EAD analysis of pheromone gland extract from calling BGM females revealed two components that elicited antennal responses from BGM males. Retention times on the three GC columns were consistent with 2,14-8Z-17 and 2,14-17, indicating that these were candidate pheromone components of the BGM. The four stereoisomers of 2,14-8Z-17 were stereoselectively synthesized and field-tested in cranberry. Delta-type traps baited with SS-2,14-8Z-17 captured significantly more CTW males than did traps baited with any other single stereoisomer or with all four stereoisomers combined. In blueberry, delta-type traps baited with RR-2,14-8Z-17 captured significantly more BGM males than did traps baited with any other single stereoisomer or with all four stereoisomers combined. Subsequent field experiments demonstrated that RR-2,14-17 is the major pheromone component of BGM, and that RR-2,14-8Z-17 is a pheromone component that does not enhance attractiveness of RR-2,14-17. The BGM pheromone RR-2,14-17 has no antagonistic effect on the CTW pheromone SS-2,14-8Z-17 and vice versa. Our results substantiate the conclusion that populations of D. oxycoccana on cranberry and blueberry represent two cryptic species.

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We thank grower-cooperators Darshan Banns, Dan Gemmell, and Dick Middleton for access to their farms; Snehlata Mathur and Ringa Kurniawan for assistance with insect rearing and observations of calling behavior; Melissa Cook for providing blueberry gall midges used in pheromone analysis; Robert Britton for advice on stereospecific pheromone syntheses; Stevo Demuth for graphical art work; and three reviewers for constructive comments. The research was supported in part by grants from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (particularly the Developing Innovative Agri-Products Initiative), BC Cranberry Growers Association, BC Cranberry Marketing Commission, Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia and by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada–Industrial Research Chair to G.G. with Contech Enterprises and Global Forest Science as industrial sponsors.

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Correspondence to Sheila M. Fitzpatrick.

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Fitzpatrick, S.M., Gries, R., Khaskin, G. et al. Populations of the Gall Midge Dasineura oxycoccana on Cranberry and Blueberry Produce and Respond to Different Sex Pheromones. J Chem Ecol 39, 37–49 (2013).

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  • Cranberry tipworm
  • Blueberry gall midge
  • Cryptic species
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon
  • Vaccinium corymbosum