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Characterization of Male-Produced Aggregation Pheromone of the Bean Flower Thrips Megalurothrips sjostedti (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number4
Volume45
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)348–355
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/02/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Aggregation of the bean flower thrips, Megalurothrips sjostedti (Trybom) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), has been observed on cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. To understand the mechanism underpinning this behavior, we studied the responses of M. sjostedti to headspace volatiles from conspecifics in a four-arm olfactometer. Both male and female M. sjostedti were attracted to male, but not to female odor. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analyses revealed the presence of two distinct compounds in male M. sjostedti headspace, namely (R)-lavandulyl 3-methylbutanoate (major compound) and (R)-lavandulol (minor compound); by contrast, both compounds were only present in trace amounts in female headspace collections. A behavioral assay using synthetic compounds showed that male M. sjostedti was attracted to both (R)-lavandulyl 3-methylbutanoate and (R)-lavandulol, while females responded only to (R)-lavandulyl 3-methylbutanoate. This is the first report of a male-produced aggregation pheromone in the genus Megalurothrips. The bean flower thrips is the primary pest of cowpea, which is widely grown in sub-Saharan Africa. The attraction of male and female M. sjostedti to these compounds offers an opportunity to develop ecologically sustainable management methods for M. sjostedti in Africa.