Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2011
Publication Date: 8/25/2011
Citation: Robbins, P.S., Salsbury, G.A., Woodruff, R.E., Lapointe, S.L., Linn, C.E. 2011. Methyl 2-(methylthio)benzoate: A sex attractant for the June beetles, Phyllophaga tristis and P. apicata. Journal of Insect Science. 11:108. Available online: insectscience.org/11.108. Interpretive Summary: A male sex attractant was identified for Phyllophaga tristis and P. apicata, two closely related and widespread species of May/June beetles. This sex attractant might be used to determine presence/absence and flight periods of these species in Florida as well as other United States locations. This sex attractant could also be used to mass trap males or disrupt mating in those situations where larvae or adults are observed as crop pests. Additionally, this identification provides information that may help to shed light on the evolutionary relationships of this large (861 species), widespread (Canada through South America) and economically important genus.
Technical Abstract: Male antennae of Phyllophaga tristis (Fabricius) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae) were tested using a coupled gas chromatograph-electroantennogram detector (GC-EAD) system for electrophysiological responses to five sex pheromones identified from other Phyllophaga species including L-valine methyl ester, L-isoleucine methyl ester, L-leucine methyl ester, methyl 2-(methylthio)benzoate and methyl 2-amino benzoate. Male antennae responded only to methyl 2-(methylthio)benzoate. In a 2003 field test near Greensburg, Kansas, cross-vane traps baited with rubber septa containing 1 mg of methyl 2-(methylthio)benzoate captured 466 male P. tristis. Control traps baited with rubber septa loaded with only hexane captured none. Similarly, in a field test in 2010 in Gainesville, Florida, 265 male P. apicata were captured in traps baited with 1 mg of methyl 2-(methylthio)benzoate whereas control traps captured only a single male.