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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Attraction of the larval predator Elater ferrugineus to the sex pheromone of its prey, Osmoderma eremita, and its implication for conservation biology

Svensson GP, Larsson MC, Hedin J


Elater ferrugineus is a threatened click beetle inhabiting old hollow trees. Its larvae consume larvae of other saproxylic insects including the threatened scarab beetle Osmoderma eremita. Recently, (R)-(+)-gamma-decalactone was identified as a male-produced sex pheromone of O. eremita. Here we present evidence that E. ferrugineus adults use this odor as a kairomone for location of their prey. In field trapping experiments, significantly more trapping events of E. ferrugineus beetles were observed in Lindgren funnel traps baited with (R)-(+)-gamma-decalactone than in control traps (20 vs. 1, respectively). Analyses of headspace collections from E. ferrugineus beetles indicate that the predator itself does not produce the substance. Both sexes were attracted to the prey pheromone, suggesting that E. ferrugineus males use the odor as an indirect cue for location of mates or of the tree hollows, which make up their habitat. When compared to pitfall traps, the Lindgren system was significantly more effective in trapping E. ferrugineus, and no difference could be established for O: eremita, showing the high potential to use odor-based systems to catch both species. We suggest that (R)-(+)-gamma-decalactone could be used as a master signal in monitoring programs for these vulnerable beetle species, which are both regarded as indicators of the associated insect fauna of the threatened habitat of old hollow trees

Published in

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2004, Volume: 30, number: 2, pages: 353-363

      SLU Authors

    • Larsson, Mattias

      • Department of Crop Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


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