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Multiple roles of a male-specific compound in the sexual behavior of the dried bean beetle, acanthoscelides obtectus

Vuts, József, Powers, Stephen J., Caulfield, John C., Pickett, John A. and Birkett, Michael A. 2015. Multiple roles of a male-specific compound in the sexual behavior of the dried bean beetle, acanthoscelides obtectus. Journal of Chemical Ecology 41 (3) , pp. 287-293. 10.1007/s10886-015-0560-3

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Abstract

Males of Acanthoscelides obtectus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae, Bruchinae) emit methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate that attracts females for mating. This study identified further roles for this compound in the sexual behavior of A. obtectus. Earlier observations revealed that males touched females with their antennae while tandem-running with them and initiated mounting and copulation, whereas they showed no such behavior toward other males. A series of subsequent laboratory choice tests were set up to establish if certain cuticular compounds aid contact sex recognition in A. obtectus. Males chose virgin females over other males. The activity toward females could be eliminated by rinsing with hexane, but was regained by application of female extract onto previously rinsed females. Gas chromatographic (GC) comparison of hexane extracts revealed the presence of two male-specific compounds, methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate and octadecanal, which were absent from the behaviorally active female samples. Of the two compounds, methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate was found to be responsible for the inhibition of male sexual behavior, similar to that observed with crude male extracts applied to virgin females. Furthermore, males preferred virgin over mated females. GC analyses revealed the presence of methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate in mated females in amounts sufficient to curtail mating attempts. It appears that methyl (E,R)-2,4,5-tetradecatrienoate, besides being a male-produced sex pheromone, acts as a male-recognition signal in A. obtectus. Males also transfer it onto females during mating, resulting in mated females being avoided by courting males.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0098-0331
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2017 17:41
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/106804

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