Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 431–440 | Cite as

Cerambycid Beetle Species with Similar Pheromones are Segregated by Phenology and Minor Pheromone Components

  • Robert F. Mitchell
  • Peter F. Reagel
  • Joseph C. H. Wong
  • Linnea R. Meier
  • Weliton Dias Silva
  • Judith Mongold-Diers
  • Jocelyn G. Millar
  • Lawrence M. Hanks


Recent research has shown that volatile sex and aggregation-sex pheromones of many species of cerambycid beetles are highly conserved, with sympatric and synchronic species that are closely related (i.e., congeners), and even more distantly related (different subfamilies), using the same or similar pheromones. Here, we investigated mechanisms by which cross attraction is averted among seven cerambycid species that are native to eastern North America and active as adults in spring: Anelaphus pumilus (Newman), Cyrtophorus verrucosus (Olivier), Euderces pini (Olivier), Neoclytus caprea (Say), and the congeners Phymatodes aereus (Newman), P. amoenus (Say), and P. varius (F.). Males of these species produce (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one as their dominant or sole pheromone component. Our field bioassays support the hypothesis that cross attraction between species is averted or at least minimized by differences among species in seasonal phenology and circadian flight periods of adults, and/or by minor pheromone components that act as synergists for conspecifics and antagonists for heterospecifics.


Reproductive isolation Sex pheromone Aggregation pheromone Cerambycidae Longhorned beetle Anelaphus pumilus Cyrtophorus verrucosus Euderces pini Neoclytus caprea Phymatodes aereus Phymatodes amoenus Phymatodes varius 



We thank Steve Buck and the University of Illinois Committee on Natural Areas, the Champaign County Forest Preserves District, Vermilion County Conservation District, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for access to field sites, and Christina Silliman for help in field bioassays. We appreciate funding support from The Alphawood Foundation of Chicago to LMH, the National Research Initiative of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (2009-35302-05047) and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (2012-67013-19303) to JGM and LMH, a NIH postdoctoral training grant (5K12 GM000708-15) to RFM, and CAPES Foundation-Brazil (proc. BEX 7234/12-0) to WDS. We also thank Professor Kenji Mori for arranging a gift of (R)-2-methylbutanoic acid, the precursor to synthetic (R)-2-methylbutan-1-ol, for this project.

Supplementary material

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Online Resource 1 (DOCX 158 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Mitchell
    • 1
    • 4
  • Peter F. Reagel
    • 1
    • 5
  • Joseph C. H. Wong
    • 1
  • Linnea R. Meier
    • 1
  • Weliton Dias Silva
    • 3
  • Judith Mongold-Diers
    • 1
  • Jocelyn G. Millar
    • 2
  • Lawrence M. Hanks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  3. 3.Department of Entomology and AcarologyUniversity of São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  4. 4.Center for Insect Science and Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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