Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 71–83 | Cite as

Further Studies on Sex Pheromones of Female Lygus and Related Bugs: Development of Effective Lures and Investigation of Species-Specificity

  • Michelle Fountain
  • Gunnhild Jåstad
  • David HallEmail author
  • Paul Douglas
  • Dudley Farman
  • Jerry Cross


Mirid bugs (Heteroptera: Miridae) are important pests of many crops worldwide. In previous work by others and ourselves, several species of Lygus bugs were shown to produce blends of three compounds, hexyl butyrate, (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate, and (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal. These have been proposed as components of the female-produced sex pheromones, but attraction of males to synthetic lures has been difficult to demonstrate. We studied the volatiles released by females of four species: Lygus rugulipennis, Lygus pratensis, Lygocoris pabulinus, and Liocoris tripustulatus. Analyses of volatiles from individual, undisturbed insects showed that the three compounds were produced in species-specific blends, by females only, or in greater quantities by females than by males. The three compounds were loaded into pipette tips, which released the defined blends over at least 30 days. Traps baited with the blend for L. rugulipennis caught more males than traps baited with virgin females, with all three compounds required for maximum attractiveness. Traps baited with the specific blends for each of the four species caught males of three of the species, indicating considerable cross-attraction. There is evidence that other, non-chemical factors, such as time-of-day of production of pheromone, contribute to species-specificity of attraction. This is the first report of consistent attraction of Lygus bugs to synthetic lures in the field.


Lygus rugulipennis Lygocoris pabulinus Lygus pratensis Liocoris tripustulatus Hexyl butyrate (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal Trapping 



This work was funded by Defra, the Horticultural Development Company and GlaxoSmithKline under HortLINK project HL0184. We thank the Project Coordinator, Mr Tom Maynard, and other researchers on the project, including Adrian Harris, Lakmali Amarawardana, Elke Groll, Vanesa Fuertes, Frederic Julie, Bethan Shaw and Gloria Endredi. We are also grateful to Prof. Jocelyn Millar (UC Riverside) for assistance in identification of compound 2.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Fountain
    • 1
  • Gunnhild Jåstad
    • 1
  • David Hall
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul Douglas
    • 2
  • Dudley Farman
    • 2
  • Jerry Cross
    • 1
  1. 1.East Malling ResearchKentUK
  2. 2.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of GreenwichKentUK

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