Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2003
Publication Date: 4/15/2004
Citation: Bland, J.M., Park, Y.I., Raina, A.K., Dickens, J.C., Hollister, B. 2004. Trilinolein identified as a sex-specific component of tergal glands in alates of Coptotermes formosanus. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 30(4):835-849. Interpretive Summary: Efforts are directed toward the eradication of the Formosan subterranean termite. The female termite uses chemicals to attract the male termite. The identity of this chemical is unknown. In order to use this chemical to stop the mating of termites, it had to be identified. This report demonstrates the isolation and identification of the chemical used by the Formosan subterranean termite to attract its mate. With this knowledge, the mating of termites and their proliferation resulting in structural damage may be inhibited. The Formosan termite is a serious pest across much of the United States and many other countries. Scientist can use the knowledge gained from this project to produce compounds or strategies that may lead to commercial products that will decrease the spread of this pest.
Technical Abstract: The major component of the newly discovered female alate sex gland of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki was identified by high performance liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometry. A single component was unique to the female alate, identified as the triacylglycerol, trilinolein. This putative contact sex pheromone was specific to the identified sex pheromone gland and not found in other areas of alate abdomen. Although trilinolein was inactive when tested alone in behavioral tests, it did elicit neural responses from sensilla on male antennae and maxillary palps, organs known to be important for tandeming behavior.