Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp 2047–2061 | Cite as

Genetic regulation of sex pheromone production and response

Interaction of sympatric pheromonal types of European corn borer,Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)
  • J. A. Klun
  • M. D. Huettel


The sex pheromone communication system of the European corn borer moth varies intraspecifically. Analyses of pheromonal extracts of wild females, collected in a region where the types (each producing a different isomeric proportion ofZ- andE-11-tetradecenyl acetate) are sympatric, showed that theZ pheromone-production allele frequency was ca. 4 times greater than theE allele. The paucity ofE production and response alleles in the population indicates that moths inheriting those alleles concomitantly inherit some undefined disadvantage. The types interbreed, but the frequency of heterozygous pheromone-production types among wild females was less than predicted by Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and was evidence of positive assortative mating. Rates of male captures in field traps baited with females of the three pheromonal types also evidenced assortative mating in the population. Progeny tests with males captured in the traps provided circumstantial evidence that pheromone response and production functions in the species are regulated by separate genetic loci and that the loci are not always complementary; i.e., a male can carry an allele coding for production of one pheromonal isomer ratio but can be genetically predisposed to respond to another.

Key words

11-Tetradecenyl acetate population genetics behavioral genetics Ostrinia nubilalis European corn borer Lepidoptera Pyralidae 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anglade, P., Stockel, J., andI.W.G.O. Cooperators. 1984. Intraspecific sex variability in the European com borer,Ostrinia nubilalis Hbn. (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae).Agronomie 4:183–187.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, J.B., McDonough, L.M., andHoffman, M.P. 1987. Western avocado leaf-roller,Amorbia cuneana (Walsingham) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): Discovery of populations utilizing different ratios of sex pheromone components.J. Chem. Ecol. 12:1239–1245.Google Scholar
  3. Buechi, R., Preisner, E., andBrunetti, R. 1982. Das sympatrische vorkommen von zwei pheromonstämmen des maisezünslers, Ostrinia nubilalis Hbn. in der südschweiz.Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 55:33–53.Google Scholar
  4. Drecktrah, H.G., andBrindley, T.A. 1967. Morphology of the internal reproductive systems of the European corn borer.Iowa State J. Sci. 41:467–480.Google Scholar
  5. Glover, J.J., Tang, X.-H., andRoelofs, W.L. 1987. Sex pheromone blend discrimination by male moths fromE andZ strains of European corn borer.J. Chem. Ecol. 13:143–151.Google Scholar
  6. Grant, G.G., Frech, D., andGrisdale, D. 1975. Tussock moths: Pheromone cross stimulation, calling behavior, and effect of hybridization.Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 68:519–524.Google Scholar
  7. Grule, J.W., andTaylor, O.R., Jr. 1979. The inheritance of pheromone production in the sulphur butterfliesColias eurytheme andC. philodice.Heredity 42:359–371.Google Scholar
  8. Hartl, D.L. 1980. Principles of Population Genetics. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  9. Hansson, B., Lofstedt, C., andRoelofs, W.L. 1987. Inheritance of olfactory response to sex pheromone components inOstrinia nubilalis.Naturwissenenschafien 74:497–499.Google Scholar
  10. Kitteredge, J.S., andTakahashi, F.T. 1972. The evolution of sex pheromone communication in the arthropoda.J. Theor. Biol. 35:467–471.Google Scholar
  11. Klun, J.A., andCooperators. 1975. Insect sex pheromones: Intraspecific pheromonal variability ofOstrinia nubilalis in North America and Europe.Environ. Entomol. 4:891–894.Google Scholar
  12. Klun, J.A., andMaini, S. 1979. Genetic basis of an insect chemical communication system: The European corn borer.Environ. Entomol. 8:423–426.Google Scholar
  13. Klun, J.A., Chapman, O.L., Mattes, K.C., Wojthkowski, P.W., Beroza, M., andSonnet, P.E. 1973. Insect sex pheromones: Minor amount of opposite geometrical isomer critical to attraction.Science 181:661–663.Google Scholar
  14. Klun, J.A., Leonhardt, B.A., Lopez, J.D., Jr., andLaChance, L.E. 1982. FemaleHeliothis subflexa (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) sex pheromone: Chemistry and congeneric comparisons.Environ. Entomol. 11:1084–1090.Google Scholar
  15. Lanier, G.N. 1970. Pheromones: Abolition of specificity in hybrid bark beetles.Science 169:71–72.Google Scholar
  16. Lanier, G.N. 1972. Biosystematics of the genusIps (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) in North America. Hopping's groups IV and X.Can. Entomol. 104:361–388.Google Scholar
  17. Lanier, G.N., Birch, M.C., Schmitz, R.F., andFurniss, M.M. 1972. Pheromones ofIps pini (Coleoptera: Scolytidae): Variation in response among three populations.Can. Entomol. 104:1917–1923.Google Scholar
  18. Mitter, C., andKlun, J.A. 1987. Evidence of pheromonal constancy among sexual and asexual females in a population of fall cankerworm,Alsophila pometaria (Lepidoptera: Geometridae).J. Chem. Ecol. 13:1823–1831.Google Scholar
  19. Raulston, J.R., Lingren, P.E., Sparks, A.N., andMartin, D.F. 1979. Mating interaction between native tobacco budworms and released backcross adults.Environ. Entomol. 8:349–353.Google Scholar
  20. Reed, G.L., Showers, W.B., Huggans, J.L., andCarter, S.W. 1972. Improved procedures for mass rearing the European com borer.J. Econ. Entomol. 65:1472–1476.Google Scholar
  21. Roelofs, W.L., Du, J.-W., Tang, X.-H., Robbins, P.S., andEckenrode, C.J. 1985. Three European corn borer populations in New York based upon sex pheromones and voltinism.J. Chem. Ecol. 11:829–836.Google Scholar
  22. Roelofs, W.L., Glover, T., Tang, X.-H., Sreng, I., Robbins, P., Eckenrode, C., Löfstedt, C., Hansson, B.S., andBengtsson, B.O. 1987. Sex pheromone production and perception in European com borer moths is determined by both autosomal and sex-linked genes.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 84:7585–7589.Google Scholar
  23. Sanders, C.J., Daterman, G.E., andEnnis, T.G. 1977. Sex pheromone responses ofChoristoneura spp. and their hybrids (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae).Can. Entomol. 109:1201–1220.Google Scholar
  24. Schwarz, M.,Klun, J.A.,Fritz, G.L.,Uebel, E.G., andRaina, A.K. 1988. European com borer sex pheromone: Structure-activity relationships.J. Chem. Ecol. In press.Google Scholar
  25. Webster, R.P., Charlton, R.E., Schal, C., andCardé, R.T. 1986. High-efficiency pheromone trap for the European corn borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae).J. Econ. Entomol. 79:1139–1142.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Klun
    • 1
  • M. D. Huettel
    • 2
  1. 1.Insect Chemical Ecology LaboratoryU.S. Dept. of AgricultureBeltsville
  2. 2.Beneficial Insects Laboratory, Agricultural Research ServiceU.S. Dept. of AgricultureBeltsville

Personalised recommendations