Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 10, pp 965–974 | Cite as

Fatal Attraction: Ricinus communis Provides an Attractive but Risky Mating Site for Holotrichia parallela Beetles

  • Hongfei Zhang
  • Weizheng Li
  • Qianwen Luo
  • Lei Yang
  • Dongfeng Gong
  • Xiaohui Teng
  • Xianru Guo
  • Guohui Yuan


The castor bean, Ricinus communis L., is a non-host plant for the large black chafer, Holotrichia parallela Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). In laboratory bioassays we found that this plant was no less attractive than the main host plant (peanut, Arachis hypogaea) and three food plant species: velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti), the glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum), and the Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila). In field trapping experiments a Soxhlet extract of castor bean leaves caught more beetles than the optimal sex lure blend [(R)-(−)-linalool and (L)-isoleucine methyl ester blended in a ratio of 1:4], compared at equal doses (500 μl), and laboratory bioassays indicated that a castor bean plant could enhance the attractiveness of different blend ratios of sex lures. Olfactometer bioassays showed that males prefer volatiles emitted from different combinations of castor bean plant extracts and a signaling female over a female alone. In the presence of castor bean plants copulation rates of H. parallela were highest among all test environments both in laboratory bioassays (60%) and in field tests (70%). This study, combined with our previous observation of the feeding behavior of H. parallela adults on castor bean leaves, suggests that castor bean plants may provide an attractive but risky mating site for H. parallela beetles. The enhancement of male mate-location and copulation rate in the presence of castor bean plants can balance its paralytic effects on H. parallela after intake of potential toxins contained in its leaves.


Holotrichia Castor plant Non-host plant Fatal attraction Risky mating site 



We would like to thank ten undergraduate apprentices, Chao Chen, Qingbo Lü, Yüzhao Zuo, Zhixin Hao, Jiawei Fan, Huijie Fan, Tengyun Du, Guanghua Wei, Yali Tian, and Youhong Wang for their participation in insect rearing and bioassays. The authors gratefully acknowledge support by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31471772). We would like to thank LetPub ( for providing linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.

Author Contribution

Conceptualization: GY ⋅ XG.

Data curation: WL ⋅ HZ.

Funding acquisition: GY.

Investigation: HZ ⋅ WL.

Methodology: HZ ⋅ QL ⋅ LY ⋅ DG ⋅ XT.

Project administration: GY.

Resources: HZ ⋅ WL.

Software: WL ⋅ HZ.

Writing – original draft: HZ ⋅ WL.

Writing – review & editing: HZ ⋅ WL.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing Financial Interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary material

10886_2018_994_MOESM1_ESM.xls (40 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 40 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology, College of Plant ProtectionHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouChina

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