Identification of Sex Pheromone Components of a New Zealand Geometrid Moth, the Common Forest Looper Pseudocoremia suavis, Reveals a Possible Species Complex

  • A. R. Gibb
  • D. Comeskey
  • L. Berndt
  • E. G. Brockerhoff
  • A. M. El-Sayed
  • H. Jactel
  • D. M. Suckling


Gas chromatography–electroantennographic detection analysis of sex pheromone gland extracts of the common forest looper Pseudocoremia suavis (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), a polyphagous defoliator of introduced Pinaceae and many New Zealand trees, revealed four compounds that elicited antennal responses. The two major active compounds (6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadec-6-ene and (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadeca-3,6-diene were identified by comparison with known standards. Of the two minor active compounds, one was tentatively identified as (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene, whereas the other could not be identified because of insufficient amounts in extracts. (6Z)-cis-9,10-Epoxynonadec-6-ene, (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadeca-3,6-diene, and (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene were present in P. suavis gland extracts from Eyrewell Forest, a Pinus radiata plantation in the South Island of New Zealand, in a ratio of 35:65:5, respectively. Trapping trials in Eyrewell Forest established that (6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadec-6-ene attracted male P. suavis. However, addition of (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene to the lure at <10% of (6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadec-6-ene reduced capture of male moths, suggesting that one of its enantiomers was acting as a behavioral antagonist. During January–March of 2005, a blend trial involving single, binary, and ternary mixtures of the three components at Eyrewell Forest and at three other sites (two in the South Island and one in the North Island) revealed the existence of a second taxon of P. suavis at the three additional sites that was attracted to lures containing (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadeca-3,6-diene, either singly or in binary and ternary mixtures with (6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadec-6-ene and (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene. This second taxon was not attracted to lures loaded solely with (6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadec-6-ene.


Common forest looper Species complex Pseudocoremia suavis Pseudocoremia fenerata Pseudocoremia leucelaea Geometridae Ennominae Pinus radiata (6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadec-6-ene (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxynonadeca-3,6-diene (3Z,6Z)-cis-9,10-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene Behavioral antagonist 



We thank John Allen (HortResearch, Palmerston North) and Diane Steward and Robert Franich (Forest Research, Rotorua) for mass spectrometry, and Carter Holt Harvey, Selwyn Plantation Board, and John and Jenny Taylor for access to trapping sites. Tetsu Ando, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan, provided samples of 3Z,6Z-cis-9,10-epo-21Hy, (3Z,6Z)-9S,10R-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene, and (3Z,6Z)-9R,10S-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene. Technical assistance in the field was provided by Paula Thompson (HortResearch, Lincoln) and Belinda Gresham (Ensis, Rotorua). Thanks are also due to Barry Donovan for placement and checking of a trap at Whataroa and to John Dugdale, Andréa Stephens, and David Logan for commenting on earlier versions of the manuscript. Funding was provided by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology (under C04X0302 to Forest Research) and the New Zealand Forest Health Collaborative.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. Gibb
    • 1
  • D. Comeskey
    • 2
  • L. Berndt
    • 3
  • E. G. Brockerhoff
    • 3
  • A. M. El-Sayed
    • 1
  • H. Jactel
    • 4
  • D. M. Suckling
    • 1
  1. 1.Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd.LincolnNew Zealand
  2. 2.Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd.Palmerston NorthNew Zealand
  3. 3.Ensis (Ensis—A joint venture of CSIRO and the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd.)Fendalton, ChristchurchNew Zealand
  4. 4.Institut National de la Recherche d'AgronomiquePierrotonFrance

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