Male-Produced Pheromone in the European Woodwasp, Sirex noctilio

Miriam F. Cooperband, Katalin Böröczky, Ashley Hartness, Tappey H. Jones, Kelley E. Zylstra, James H. Tumlinson, Victor C. Mastro

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29 Scopus citations


A male-produced pheromone that attracts both males and females was identified for the European woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, a serious pest of pine trees. Males displayed excitatory behaviors when placed in groups, and were attracted to the odors from males that were 2-5-d-old, but not to odors from males that were 0-1-d-old. An unsaturated short-chain alcohol, (Z)-3-decen-1-ol, was discovered in samples collected on SuperQ filters over groups of males and identified by using micro-derivatization reactions and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The compound was not detected in volatile samples from females. Gas chromatography coupled electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) of antennae from males exposed to male headspace odors produced strong antennal responses to the main peak of (Z)-3-decen-1-ol, as well as to an unknown minor component that had a similar retention time. Antennae from both males and females responded to synthetic (Z)-3-decen-1-ol. Several different synthetic candidates for the GC-EAD active minor components were selected based on GC-MS and GC-EAD responses to male headspace collections. These synthetic compounds were tested for antennal activity using GC-EAD, and those that produced strong responses were blended with the major component and tested for male attraction in the Y-tube olfactometer at different concentrations and ratios. Males tested in the Y-tube olfactometer were attracted to a synthetic blend of (Z)-3-decen-1-ol and (Z)-4-decen-1-ol at a ratio of 100:1. Whereas the addition of some suspected minor compounds reduced attraction, the addition of a third compound found in male emanations that produced strong male antennal responses, (E,E)-2,4-decadienal (at a ratio of 100:1:1), resulted in attraction of both males (Y-tube and wind tunnel) and females (wind tunnel).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-62
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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