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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Stimulation of Sex Pheromone Production in Corn Earworm Moths, Helicoverpa Zea Zoddie (Lepidoptera:noctuidae), by Injection of Extracts of Heads of Males of the Caribbean Fruit Fly, Anastrepha Suspensa (Loew)

item Teal, Peter

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 29, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Most insects use chemical perfumes called pheromones to attract mates only during very specific periods of the day or night. Control of the time during which pheromones are produced is critical for reproductive success. A scientist at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA, ARS in Gainesville, Florida has been studying how insects regulate the induction of pheromone production with hormones called neuropeptides. Their research has shown that males of the Caribbean fruit fly, a pest of high economic importance to citrus grown in the US, produce neuropeptides that will stimulate females of the Cotton Bollworm moth, a serious pest of cotton, to produce pheromone at times when they do not normally make pheromone. This indicates strongly that the Caribbean Fruit fly uses these neuropeptides to regulate production of pheromone. By determining how these neuropeptides control pheromone production it may be possible to develop methods to stop their action and inhibit production of pheromones in both the Caribbean Fruit Fly and Cotton Bollworm moth. This could lead to the development of alternative strategies for control of pest moths.

Technical Abstract: Females of the Corn earworm moth, Helicoverpa zea Boddie, were induced to produce sex pheromone during the photophase, when no pheromone is normally produced, by injection of aqueous extracts obtained from the heads of sexually mature males of the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew). The amounts of sex pheromone present in extracts of pheromone glands from moths, obtained 1 h after injection of between 0.25-10 head equivalents of extracts, were greater than that present in extracts from females injected with only saline. Moths injected with 1 head equivalent of fly extract produced as much pheromone as was produced by moths injected with 5 pmol of synthetic pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN). However, the amount of pheromone was lower in extracts obtained from females injected with 10 head equivalents than in extracts from females injected with 1 head equivalent. ELISA studies, conducted using antisera which binds with PBAN, and the biologically active C-terminal decapeptide fragment of PBAN, indicated that material present in extracts from fly heads bound with the antibody in a dose dependent fashion.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015