Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 1549–1570 | Cite as

Aggregation pheromone of coconut rhinoceros beetle,Oryctes rhinoceros (L.) (coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

  • Rebecca H. Hallett
  • Alice L. Perez
  • Gerhard Gries
  • Regine Gries
  • Harold D. PierceJr.
  • Junming Yue
  • A. Cameron Oehlschlager
  • Lilliana M. Gonzalez
  • John H. Borden


Male coconut rhinoceros beetles,Oryctes rhinoceros (L.), produce three sex-specific compounds, ethyl 4-methyloctanoate, ethyl 4-methylheptanoate, and 4-methyloctanoic acid, the first of which is an aggregation pheromone. Synthesis of these compounds involving conjugate addition of organocuprates to ethyl acrylate is reported. In field trapping experiments, (4S)-ethyl 4-methyloctanoate and the racemic mixture were equally attractive and 10 times more effective in attracting beetles than ethyl chrysanthemumate, a previously recommended attractant. Ethyl 4-methylheptanoate was as attractive as ethyl chrysanthemumate and more attractive than 4-methyloctanoic acid, but further studies are required before it can be classed as an aggregation pheromone. Compared to ethyl 4-methyloctanoate alone, combinations of the three male-produced compounds did not increase attraction, whereas addition of freshly rotting oil palm fruit bunches to pheromone-baited traps significantly enhanced attraction. With increasing dose, captures ofO. rhinoceros increased, but doses of 6, 9, and 18 mg/day were competitive with 30 mg/day lures. Newly designed vane traps were more effective in capturing beetles than were barrier or pitfall traps. Results of this study indicate that there is potential for using ethyl 4-methyloctanoate in operational programs to controlO. rhinoceros in oil palm plantations.

Key Words

Coleoptera Scarabaeidae Oryctes rhinoceros coconut rhinoceros beetle aggregation pheromone pheromone chirality ethyl 4-methyloctanoate ethyl 4-methylheptanoate 4-methyloctanoic acid 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca H. Hallett
    • 1
  • Alice L. Perez
    • 2
  • Gerhard Gries
    • 1
  • Regine Gries
    • 1
  • Harold D. PierceJr.
    • 2
  • Junming Yue
    • 2
  • A. Cameron Oehlschlager
    • 2
  • Lilliana M. Gonzalez
    • 3
  • John H. Borden
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Pest Management Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistrySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.Chem Tica InternationalSan JoseCosta Rica

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