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A Male-Predominant Cuticular Hydrocarbon, 7-Methyltricosane, is used as a Contact Pheromone in the Western Flower Thrips Frankliniella occidentalis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Oladele A. Olaniran
  • Akella V.S. Sudhakar
  • Falko P. Drijfhout
  • Ian A.N. Dublon
  • David R. Hall
  • James G.C. Hamilton
  • William D.J. Kirk
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number4
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)559-568
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/03/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Externally publishedYes


In a laboratory bioassay, adult female Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) spent more time near filter paper disks that had been exposed to adult males than near unexposed disks; this effect was not observed on disks exposed to adult females. The response could only partly be explained by the known male-produced aggregation pheromone, neryl (S)-2-methylbutanoate, suggesting the presence of an unknown male-produced compound. In gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses, 7-methyltricosane was detected on disks exposed to males, but not on disks exposed to females. Extracts of cuticular lipids also showed relatively large amounts of 7-methyltricosane on males, whereas only trace amounts were found on females and none on larvae. Bioassays of synthetic 7-methyltricosane showed that adults responded only after contact. The response to this compound was clearly different from that to n-tricosane or hexane-only controls. Females that contacted 7-methyltricosane on glass beads stayed in the vicinity and frequently raised the abdomen, a behavior that rejects mating attempts by males. Males stayed in the vicinity and wagged the abdomen sideways, a behavior used in fighting between males. This is the first identification of a contact pheromone in the order Thysanoptera.