Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 11, pp 2127–2138 | Cite as

Male Sex Pheromonal Components Derived from Methyl Eugenol in the Hemolymph of the Fruit Fly Bactrocera papayae

  • Alvin Kah-Wei Hee
  • Keng-Hong Tan


Pharmacophagy of methyl eugenol (ME)--a highly potent male attractant, by Bactrocera papayae results in the hydroxylation of ME to sex pheromonal components, 2-ally-4,5-dimethoxyphenol (DMP) and (E)-coniferyl alcohol (CF). These compounds, which are also male attractants, are then sequestered and stored in the rectal gland prior to their release during courtship at dusk. Chemical analyses of the digestive tract (excluding the crop and rectal gland) showed the absence of the sex pheromonal components and their precursor, ME. However, B. papayae males were attracted to and fed on the ME-fed male hemolymph extracts but not on hemolymph extracts of ME-deprived males. After thin layer chromatography in a hexane:ethyl acetate solvent system, flies were attracted to and fed on the original point on the TLC plate where the hemolymph extract had been spotted, suggesting that the pheromone components were bound in polar complexes. Chemical analyses of the ME-fed male hemolymph and crop extracts revealed the presence of the sex pheromonal components. The presence of the ME-derived pheromonal components and the absence of ME in the hemolymph suggest that the hemolymph is involved in the transportation of sex pheromonal components from the crop to the rectal gland.

Bactrocera papayae pharmacophagy methyl eugenol 2-allyl-4 5-dimethoxyphenol (E)-coniferyl alcohol sex pheromone sequestration hemolymph rectal gland crop 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alvin Kah-Wei Hee
    • 1
  • Keng-Hong Tan
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  2. 2.Tan Hak Heng Co.Tanjong Bunga PenangMalaysia

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