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Identification of a Sex Attractant Pheromone for Male Winterform Pear Psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola

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Abstract

Pear psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola (Förster) (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), a major economic pest of pears, uses a female-produced sex attractant pheromone. We compared the chemical profiles obtained from cuticular extracts of diapausing and post-diapause winterform males and females to isolate and identify the pheromone. Post-diapause females produced significantly more of the cuticular hydrocarbon, 13-methylheptacosane, than post-diapause males and diapausing females. In olfactometer assays, conspecific males were attracted to synthetic racemic 13-methylheptacosane, whereas females were not, indicating that the behavioral response to this chemical is sex-specific. Furthermore, 13-methylheptacosane was as attractive to males as a cuticular extract of females, suggesting that this chemical was largely responsible for the female attractiveness. A field study showed that males but not females were attracted to 13-methylheptacosane, confirming the olfactometer results. This study provides evidence that 13-methylheptacosane is a sex attractant pheromone for C. pyricola winterform males. This is the first identification of a sex pheromone in the Psylloidea. Our results open the path to developing monitoring tools and possibly new strategies for integrated pest management of this insect.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Deb Broers and Merilee Bayer for conducting olfactometer and field assays and to Bonnie Ohler and J. Steven McElfresh for their assistance with the chemistry. We are also grateful to Erik Wenninger, David Hall, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. This research was supported by Research Grant Award No. US-4048-07 from the United States - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), USDA-CSREES-NRI (2006-35302-17475), and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission (PR-05-504).

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Correspondence to Christelle Guédot.

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Guédot, C., Millar, J.G., Horton, D.R. et al. Identification of a Sex Attractant Pheromone for Male Winterform Pear Psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola . J Chem Ecol 35, 1437–1447 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-009-9725-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-009-9725-2

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