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Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Identification of Cattle-Derived Volatiles that Modulate the Behavioral Response of the Biting Midge Culicoides nubeculosus

Isberg, Elin; Bray, Daniel; Birgersson, Göran; Hillbur, Ylva; Ignell, Rickard


Identification of host-derived volatiles is an important step towards the development of novel surveillance and control tools for Culicoides biting midges. In this study, we identified compounds from headspace collections of cattle hair and urine that modulate the behavioral response of Culicoides nubeculosus, a research model species with a similar host-range as the vectors of Bluetongue disease and Schmallenberg disease in Europe. Combined gas chromatography and electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) analysis revealed 23 bioactive compounds, of which 17, together with octanal, were evaluated in a two-choice behavioral assay in the presence of CO2. Decanal, 2-phenylethanal, 1-octen-3-ol, 2-ethylhexanol, 3-methylindole, phenol, and 3-ethylphenol elicited attraction of host seeking C. nubeculosus, whereas heptanal, octanal, nonanal, 3-propylphenol, and 4-propylphenol inhibited the insects' attraction to CO2, when compared to CO2 alone. 6-Methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 3-methylphenol, 4-methylphenol, and 4-ethylphenol elicited both attraction and inhibition. The behavioral responses were dependent on the concentration tested. Our results show that cattle-derived odors have the potential to be used for the manipulation of the behavior of Culicoides biting midges.


Culicoides nubeculosus; Attraction; Behavioral inhibition; Bluetongue; Schmallenberg; Diptera; Ceratopogonidae

Published in

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2016, Volume: 42, number: 1, pages: 24-32
Publisher: SPRINGER