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Research Project: Area-Wide Screwworm Eradication

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Title: Evidence for the presence of a female produced sex pheromone in the banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Author
item Uzakah, R - University Of Ibadan
item Odebiyi, J - University Of Ibadan
item Chaudhury, Muhammad
item Hassanali, A - African Insect Science For Food And Health (ICIPE)

Submitted to: Scientific Research and Essays
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2015
Publication Date: 8/15/2015
Citation: Uzakah, R.P., Odebiyi, J.A., Chaudhury, M.F., Hassanali, A. 2015. Evidence for the presence of a female produced sex pheromone in the banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Scientific Research and Essays. 10:471-481.

Interpretive Summary: Insects use many different types of chemicals as behavior-modifying cues. These chemicals, called pheromones and kairomones, have great potential in pest management. Studies reported here investigated chemical cues that are involved in mating and aggregation behavior of banana weevil, a pest of banana in every country where bananas are grown. Results show that the banana weevils produce two types of pheromones - a sex pheromone, produced by the female weevils, and an aggregation pheromone, produced by the male weevils. The aggregation pheromone is highly effective as an attractant for the weevils but the sex pheromone is less effective. The aggregation pheromone has been isolated and identified by other workers and is now being used successfully for mass-trapping weevils. If the sex pheromone is also isolated can be used in traps in conjunction with the aggregation pheromone to increase the efficiency of mass-trapping.

Technical Abstract: Behavior-modifying chemicals such as pheromones and kairomones have great potential in pest management. Studies reported here investigated chemical cues involved in mating and aggregation behavior of banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus, a major insect pest of banana in every country where bananas are grown. All four life stages of the weevil are associated with banana plants and the larval stage is the most destructive one due to injuries caused to the plant. Studies were conducted to determine adult weevil responses to their trapped volatiles and to their live conspecifics. Results show that two types of pheromones were produced by these weevils, - a female-produced sex pheromone, and a male-produced aggregation pheromone. The aggregation pheromone was highly effective as an attractant. The female sex pheromone appears to be only active at a short distance. The aggregation pheromone has since been isolated by other workers and has been found to be effective in mass-trapping of weevils. Greater success may be achieved if the female pheromone is also isolated and used in conjunction with the aggregation pheromone-based lures now being used for mass-trapping.