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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

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

Olaniran OA, Sudhakar AVS, Drijfhout FP, Dublon IAN, Hall DR, Hamilton JGC, Kirk WDJ


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 ton-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.

Published in

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2013, Volume: 39, number: 4, pages: 559-568

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Behavioral Sciences Biology

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