Isopentyl Butanoate: Aggregation Pheromone of the Brown Spiny Bug, Clavigralla tomentosicollis (Hemiptera: Coreidae), and Kairomone for the Egg Parasitoid Gryon sp. (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae)


The brown spiny bug, Clavigralla tomentosicollis Stål (Hemiptera: Coreidae) is a key pest of leguminous crops in many countries in Africa, causing significant yield losses especially in cowpea, pigeon pea and common beans. Although C. tomentosicollis uses olfaction to aggregate, little is known about the identity of the aggregation pheromone. This study aimed to identify the aggregation pheromone of C. tomentosicollis and to test its potential role in the behavior of its egg parasitoid, Gryon sp. In Y-tube olfactometer bioassays, only male volatiles strongly attracted both sexes of C. tomentosicollis. Coupled gas chromatography/electroantennographic detection (GC/EAD) and GC/mass spectrometry were used to identify antennally-active compounds from male volatiles. Antennae of both sexes detected identical components including a male-specific component, identified as isopentyl butanoate, which was also detected by antenna of the egg parasitoid. In olfactometer bioassays, both sexes of C. tomentosicollis and the egg parasitoid responded to isopentyl butanoate. These results suggest that isopentyl butanoate serves as an aggregation pheromone for both sexes of C. tomentosicollis and a useful kairomone to attract the parasitoid in the management of C. tomentosicollis.

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We thank Mrs. Wanyama, Onesmus Kaye, Kirwa, Hillary Kipchirchir for the technical assistance and Mr. Xavier Cheseto for his contribution. We also acknowledge Dr. Elie A. Dannon from IITA-Bénin for the assistance and guidance during this work. We are grateful to the staff at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Duduville, Nairobi, for their support without which our research would not have been possible. Financial support for this research was provided by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and the Kenyan Government. Hilaire Kpongbe was supported by a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) In-Region Postgraduate Scholarship.

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HK, JVB, FK, MT, and BT conceived and designed the research. HK conducted experiments and analysed data. HK, JVB, FK, MT, and BT wrote the manuscript. EJT gave us support in the morphological identification of Gryon sp. All authors edited the manuscript and approved the final version.

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Correspondence to Baldwyn Torto.

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Kpongbe, H., Van Den Berg, J., Khamis, F. et al. Isopentyl Butanoate: Aggregation Pheromone of the Brown Spiny Bug, Clavigralla tomentosicollis (Hemiptera: Coreidae), and Kairomone for the Egg Parasitoid Gryon sp. (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae). J Chem Ecol 45, 570–578 (2019).

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  • Aggregation pheromone
  • Biological control
  • Clavigralla tomentosicollis
  • Gryon sp.
  • Kairomone