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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Aldrich, Jeffrey
item Oliver, James
item Shifflet, T.
item Smith, Carolyn
item Dively, Galen

Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2007
Publication Date: 8/1/2007
Citation: Aldrich, J.R., Oliver, J.E., Shifflet, T., Smith, C.L., Dively, G.P. 2007. Semiochemical investigations of the insidious flower bug, orius insidiosus (say) (heteroptera: anthocoridae). Journal of Chemical Ecology. 33:1477-1493.

Interpretive Summary: Minute pirate bugs are beneficial insects that help suppress a variety of other insects from becoming more serious pests. Means to attract these bug pest infestations would be useful to enhance the biological control impact of these beneficial insects. Here we report the identification and synthesis of the sex attractant produced by females of the common North American flower bug. We also demonstrated that flowerbug females leave chemical footprints as they walk that stimulate other adult flower bugs to search for prey and mates in the vicinity. This study provides a basis for future research on ways to manage beneficial insects to improve their biological control potential. This information will be of interest to biological control specialists and to scientists studying insect predation, as well as companies involved in organic farming and gardening.

Technical Abstract: Females of the insidious flower bug, Orius insidiosus (Say) (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Anthocoridae), produce a volatile sex pheromone, and a non-volatile trail pheromone. The sex pheromone consists of the female-specific compound, (E)-2,7-octadienal, and a compound emitted by both sexes, (E)-2-octenal. A synthetic blend of octadienal and octenal significantly, but weakly, attracted O. insidiosus males to sticky traps in the field. The trail pheromone is somehow deposited by O. insidiosus females on the substrate as they walk and, once contacted, stimulates conspecific adults to search in the vicinity. Orius insidiosus males most likely respond to the trail pheromone as the ultimate means to locate potential mates, whereas the benefit of females responding to the trail pheromone may be that this signal acts as a cue indicating the likelihood of finding nearby prey. The O. insidiosus trail pheromone compounds were not identified but, if identified and synthesized, an artificial pheromone could conceivably be applied to plants to focus foraging Orius predators on pest infestations. The volatile and non-volatile pheromones of O. insidiosus, along with prior research demonstrating that Orius and other anthocorids frequently exploit prey-associated odors as kairomones to guide their foraging, highlight the extent to which the minute pirate bugs rely on chemical communication. The semiochemistry of Anthocoridae, particularly their reliance on non-volatile pheromones and kairomones, reinforces the emerging realization that other terrestrial heteropterans also substantially communicate via contact chemoreception although this communicative channel has not been thoroughly investigated.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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