Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 257–267 | Cite as

Identification of the Female-Produced Sex Pheromone of an Invasive Greenhouse Pest, the European Pepper Moth (Duponchelia fovealis)

  • Péter Béla Molnár
  • Csengele Bognár
  • Anna Laura Erdei
  • Takeshi Fujii
  • Pál Vági
  • Júlia Katalin Jósvai
  • Zsolt Kárpáti


The European pepper moth (Duponchelia fovealis, Lepidoptera, Crambidae, Spilomelinae) is an invasive pest of greenhouses in many countries, causing serious damages to horticultural plants. Coupled gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection analysis of the female gland extract revealed two antennally active peaks. Using coupled gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), one was identified as (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11–16:Ald); however, further analysis on different types of capillary columns indicated that the second active compound has two different isomers, (E)-13-octadecenal (E13–18:Ald) and (Z)-13-octadecenal (Z13–18:Ald). The approximate ratio of E13–18:Ald, Z13–18:Ald and Z11–16:Ald in the crude pheromone gland extract was 10:1:0.1, respectively. Single sensillum recordings showed that there was one sensory neuron that responded with a high amplitude spike to both E13–18:Ald and Z13–18:Ald, while another neuron housed in the same sensillum responded to Z11–16:Ald. Field evaluation of the identified compounds indicated that the E13–18:Ald was necessary to evoke the attraction of males; although the presence of Z13–18:Ald and Z11–16:Ald increased the catches in traps. The highest number of caught males was achieved when E13–18:Ald, Z13–18:Ald and Z11–16:Ald were present in baits in the same ratio as in the female gland extract. This pheromone can be used in a monitoring strategy and could potentially lead to the development of mating disruption.


European pepper moth Duponchelia Fovealis Sex pheromone Invasive pest Crambidae (E)-13-octadecenal (Z)-13-octadecenal (Z)-11–hexadecenal 



We would like to thank the Bíró Horticulture and Trade Corporation for providing the greenhouse for the trapping experiments. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions and comments. This study was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA, PD1041310), the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (PCIG12-GA-2012-333980), the GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00051 scientific grant and the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. We thank William B. Walker for linguistic corrections.

Author Contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: BPM CsB, ZsK. Performed the experiments: BPM, ALE, CsB, ZsK. Structure elucidation: ZsK, BPM, TF. Analyzed the data: JKJ, ALE, BPM. SEM pictures: PV. Wrote the paper: BPM, ALE, CsB, ZsK, JKJ, PV. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The invertebrate insect species (European pepper moth, Duponchelia fovealis) used in the present study has a horticultural pest status and is not protected in Hungary. Therefore, individuals can be freely collected and used in laboratory experiments without permit or approval from the institutional ethics committee or national authorities under Hungarian law (348/2006, paragraph 10/3). This article does not contain any studies performed by any of the authors with human subject participants


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Péter Béla Molnár
    • 1
  • Csengele Bognár
    • 1
  • Anna Laura Erdei
    • 1
  • Takeshi Fujii
    • 2
  • Pál Vági
    • 3
  • Júlia Katalin Jósvai
    • 4
  • Zsolt Kárpáti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Plant Protection Institute, Centre for Agricultural ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Laboratory of Applied Entomology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Plant Anatomy, Faculty of ScienceEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Department of Applied Chemical Ecology, Plant Protection Institute, Centre for Agricultural ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary

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