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3,7-Dimethylpentadecane: a Novel Sex Pheromone Component from Leucoptera sinuella (Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae)


Leucoptera sinuella is a leaf-miner moth present in several regions in the world, which has been recently introduced into Chile. The larvae feed exclusively on the leaves of poplar and willow trees, and the damage caused by the feeding behavior poses a threat to the wood-producing industry. Besides, L. sinuella larvae invade nearby orchards for pupation, causing rejections in Chilean fresh fruit for export. Here we report the identification of the female-produced sex pheromone of L. sinuella as a first step towards the development of pheromone-based methods for pest management of this species. First, we analyzed hexane extracts of the abdominal glands of virgin females by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and identified the major compound in these extracts to be 3,7-dimethylpentadecane, while minor compounds in the extracts proved to be 3,7-dimethyltetradecane and 7-methylpentadecane. Structure assignments were carried out by comparison of retention times and mass spectra of the natural products with those of authentic reference samples. Second, we conducted field tests, which showed that traps baited with synthetic 3,7-dimethylpentadecane were significantly attractive to males in a dose-dependent response. Our results also showed that a mixture of 3,7-dimethylpentadecane, 3,7-dimethyltetradecane, and 7-methylpentadecane in proportions similar to those found in gland extracts was the most attractive lure.

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Technical assistance and collection of insects in the field from, Cristian Gálvez, Javiera Fernández, Elías González, Matías Olivera, Francisca Santibañez, Alexis Muñoz, Patricio Nuñez, Jorge Jaque and Luciano Veliz is acknowledged. Financial support from Vicerrectoría de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados (via grants VRIEA-PUCV 039.399/2017 and 039.498/2018 to JB), Fondo de Equipamiento Cientifico y Tecnologico (Fondequip-Conicyt) (grant EQM130154), and Fondo de Innovación para la Competitividad de la Región de O’Higgins (FIC-O’Higgins grant IDI 40008896-0) is acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Jan Bergmann.

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Barros-Parada, W., Bergmann, J., Curkovic, T. et al. 3,7-Dimethylpentadecane: a Novel Sex Pheromone Component from Leucoptera sinuella (Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae). J Chem Ecol 46, 820–829 (2020).

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  • Leaf-miner
  • Type III pheromone
  • Poplar
  • Branched hydrocarbon
  • Invasive species