Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 21, 2007
Publication Date: June 28, 2007
Citation: Bartelt, R.J., Cosse, A.A., Zilkowski, B.W., Fraser, I. 2007. Antennally active macrolide from the emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis emitted predominantly by females. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 33:1299-1302. Interpretive Summary: The emerald ash borer is a very serious, invasive beetle pest from Asia, which has killed millions of ash trees since arriving in the United States. It was first discovered near Detroit, MI, in 2002 and has now spread to surrounding states and Ontario. The adults feed only on foliage, but the larvae burrow beneath the bark, destroying vascular tissue and killing the tree. Besides natural dispersal by flight, the beetle is spread through movement of infested firewood and nursery stock. A first step in combating this pest is to know where it exists, and population monitoring has been extremely difficult. Simple and sensitive new methods are urgently needed. For many other insect pests, synthetic pheromones are used as monitoring tools. However, no pheromone is known for the emerald ash borer, or even for any member of its family, Buprestidae. This research was a preliminary search for pheromone candidate compounds. We looked for substances having properties typical of pheromones, such as being produced only by one sex and being sensitively detected by the beetle antennae. One such compound was identified and synthesized and awaits testing in the field to see if it actually is attractive. If so, it could become an important tool in the management of the emerald ash borer by the various governmental agencies. Interestingly, the compound identified is already known as a pheromone component in an unrelated beetle species, but it was not commercially available.
Technical Abstract: The macrocyclic lactone (3Z)-dodecen-12-olide was identified from the emissions of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, feeding on ash foliage. The compound was detected from both sexes but was at least 8 times more abundant from females. It was readily sensed by both male and female antennae. Identification was verified by synthesis. The behavioral effects of the lactone remain unstudied in A. planipennis, but a pheromonal attractant for this invasive pest could be important for monitoring. The lactone is part of the pheromone of Cryptolestes pusillus, an unrelated beetle species.