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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #101606


item Bartelt, Robert

Submitted to: Physiological Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/17/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The paper reports key biological information about an important insect pest. The crucifer flea beetle is a serious pest of various crucifer crops. In the northern Great Plains of the United States and Canada, the beetles cause significant economic feeding damage to seedlings of canola and oilseed rape. As for many destructive insects, a pheromone for the flea beetles is envisioned to be a potentially important pest management tool. (Pheromones are natural chemicals emitted by insects to attract others of their kind for mating). However, a pheromone is not yet known for this flea beetle. A first step toward pheromone identification is to understand the pest's biology, and in this study it was learned that it is the males (rather than the females) that emit the pheromone. This information will be crucial to scientists' future pheromone identification efforts.

Technical Abstract: A field test was conducted to determine which sex of the crucifer flea beetle, Phyllotreta cruciferae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), was the attractive sex (i.e., was emitting a pheromone). Attraction had been reported previously, but to beetles of mixed sex, both sexes were attracted. In this study, groups of male or female beetles were caged with potted oilseed rape plants and set out in the field, and feral beetles attracted to these pots were trapped and counted. Pots with male beetles attracted significantly more (3.5 to 9 times more) than uninfested, control plants, but pots with female beetles were indistinguishable from control plants. Thus it is the males that apparently produce the attractive, long-range pheromone. This fundamental information will be an essential basis for further pheromone research with the species.