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Journal Article

Alcohol contributes to attraction of Heliothis (= Chloridea) virescens males to females

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Groot, A. T., Nojima, S., Heath, J. J., Ammagarahalli, B., van Wijk, M., Claβen, A., et al. (2018). Alcohol contributes to attraction of Heliothis (= Chloridea) virescens males to females. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 44(7-8), 621-630. doi:10.1007/s10886-018-0995-4.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-7B41-9
Female-emitted volatile sex pheromones in most moths are composed of biosynthetically related blends of fatty acid derivatives, such as aldehydes, acetate esters and alcohols. In many moths, as in the noctuid Heliothis (Chloridea) virescens, the pheromone gland contains alcohols (e.g., (Z)-11-hexadecen-1-ol, hereafter Z11–16:OH) that may serve dual functions as pheromone components as well as precursors of other pheromone components. The relative importance of Z11–16:OH to male attraction in H. virescens has been controversial. It occurs in the pheromone gland in relatively large amounts, but several studies could neither detect Z11–16:OH in gland emissions nor attribute any conspecific behavioral function to it in flight- tunnel assays. Trapping assays in the field, however, have more consistently documented that the addition of Z11–16:OH increased trap catch. Using a short section of thick film megabore column, in combination with derivatization and GC-CI-SIM-MS, we determined that Z11–16:OH is emitted from the sex pheromone gland during calling. Field trapping studies demonstrated that trap catch increased when Z11–16:OH was added to a 2-component minimal blend and to a 6-component blend. Behavioral observations in the field confirmed that more males responded to a pheromone blend that contained a low blend ratio of Z11–16:OH, but ≥5% Z11–16:OH depressed both male behavior and trap catch. We conclude that Z11–16:OH should be considered a component of the sex pheromone of H. virescens females.