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Deployment of Aggregation-Sex Pheromones of Longhorned Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Facilitates the Discovery and Identification of their Parasitoids

Abstract

Longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) include many species that are among the most damaging pests of managed and natural forest ecosystems worldwide. Many species of cerambycids use volatile chemical signals (i.e., pheromones) to locate mates. Pheromones are often used by natural enemies, including parasitoids, to locate hosts and therefore can be useful tools for identifying host-parasitoid relationships. In two field experiments, we baited linear transects of sticky traps with pheromones of cerambycid beetles in the subfamily Cerambycinae. Enantiomeric mixtures of four linear alkanes or four linear alkanes and a ketol were tested separately to evaluate their attractiveness to hymenopteran parasitoids. We hypothesized that parasitoids would be attracted to these pheromones. Significant treatment effects were found for 10 species of parasitoids. Notably, Wroughtonia ligator (Say) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) was attracted to syn-hexanediols, the pheromone constituents of its host, Neoclytus acuminatus acuminatus (F.) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Location and time of sampling also significantly affected responses for multiple species of parasitoids. These findings contribute to the basic understanding of cues that parasitoids use to locate hosts and suggest that pheromones can be used to hypothesize host relationships between some species of cerambycids and their parasitoids. Future work should evaluate response by known species of parasitoids to the complete blends of pheromones used by the cerambycids they attack, as well as other odors that are associated with host trees of cerambycids.

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Data Availability

Dataset is available upon request from first author, T.D. Johnson.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Jocelyn G. Millar for the gift of the four alkanediols used in our study and Judith Mongold-Diers for general assistance in the lab. For assistance with removal of parasitoids from traps, we thank undergraduate technicians Emily Althoff, Briana Banks, Elizabeth Hanson, Kaleb Lukens, Nicholas Mendes, Julia Monk, Kaylynn Pingad, Suzanne Vachula, Brian Willis, and Allen Yu. John S. Noyes provided assistance with the identification of some Encrytidae. Statistical advice was provided by Ben Bolker on Stackoverflow. This manuscript was improved by comments from Brian Allan, May Berenbaum, Lawrence M. Hanks, István Mikó, Robert F. Mitchell, Andrew Suarez, and an anonymous reviewer. Our experiment was funded by support from United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant number 2012-67013-19303 and the Alphawood Foundation of Chicago (to Lawrence M. Hanks and Jocelyn G. Millar). Elijah Talamas was supported by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the USDA. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Funding

Our experiment was funded by support from United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant number 2012–67013-19303 and the Alphawood Foundation of Chicago. Elijah Talamas was supported by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.

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T.D. Johnson designed and performed the experiment, as well as conducted statistical analyses, M.L. Buffington, M.W. Gates, R.R. Kula, and E.L. Talamas identified representative specimens of parasitoids captured, and T.D. Johnson, M.L. Buffington, M.W. Gates, R.R. Kula, and E.L. Talamas wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Todd D. Johnson.

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We have no conflicts of interest to report.

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This manuscript was approved for submission by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service Systematic Entomology Laboratory.

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All authors consented to participate in their respective roles for this study.

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All authors consented to submitting this manuscript for publication.

Code Availability

R code for analyses is available upon request from first author, T.D. Johnson.

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Johnson, T.D., Buffington, M.L., Gates, M.W. et al. Deployment of Aggregation-Sex Pheromones of Longhorned Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Facilitates the Discovery and Identification of their Parasitoids. J Chem Ecol 47, 28–42 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-020-01238-7

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Keywords

  • Eavesdropping
  • Host location
  • Kairomone
  • Neoclytus acuminatus
  • Pheromone
  • Wroughtonia ligator