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      Identification of the Aggregation-sex Pheromone of the Cerambycid Beetle Phymatodes pusillus ssp. pusillus and Evidence of a Synergistic Effect from a Heterospecific Pheromone Component


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          The longhorn beetle Phymatodes ( Poecilium) pusillus ssp. pusillus is a rare, elusive species that is included on Red Lists of threatened species. Previously, 1-hexanol and 1-butanol were reported as putative components of the aggregation-sex pheromone of this species, but behavioral assays to confirm this have not been performed. In this study, we undertook a comprehensive examination of P. p. pusillus to verify the presence of a pheromone. Adult beetles were reared from colonized wood and used for headspace sampling. Analyses by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed that two compounds were present in large quantities in the extracts of males, but absent in extracts from females. Male and female antennae showed repeatable responses to the two compounds in electrophysiological recordings. Using synthetic standards, we were able to identify the compounds as 1-hexanol and 2-methyl-1-butanol. A field bioassay demonstrated that the two compounds were unattractive when applied singly, but elicited significant attraction of female and male beetles when applied in blends of different ratios. We also found that the species exhibited significant attraction to a blend of 3-hydroxy-2-hexanone and 2-methyl-1-butanol, which is the aggregation-sex pheromone of at least two closely related and sympatric species. The presence of the heterospecific component 3-hydroxy-2-hexanone synergized a response to 2-methyl-1-butanol. The pheromone of these species may function as a host cue for P. p. pusillus as the three species have similar phenology and substrate demands. The aggregation-sex pheromone of P. p. pusillus can be used for population monitoring and as a tool to study the general ecology and conservation requirements of this rare species.

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          Host plant influences on sex pheromone behavior of phytophagous insects.

          The sexual behavior of phytophagous insects is often integrated in a variety of ways with their host plants. This integration may be manifested as effects or influences of host plants on insect physiology and behavior, including sex pheromone communication, that reflect strategies by insects to optimize mating and reproduction. Certain insects sequester or otherwise acquire host plant compounds and use them as sex pheromones or sex pheromone precursors. Other insects produce or release sex pheromones in response to particular host plant cues. Chemicals from host plants often synergize or otherwise enhance insect responses to sex pheromones. By these means, host plants may be used by insects to regulate or mediate sexual communication. For many species of insects, host plant influences on insect sex pheromone communication may be important aspects of the formation of feeding and mating aggregations, of insect strategies to locate both hosts and mates, of behavioral reproductive isolation among sibling species, and of the regulation of reproduction to coincide with the availability of food and oviposition sites. Knowledge of these relationships is critical to understanding many different areas of the behavioral ecology of plant-feeding insects.
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            A review of the chemical ecology of the Cerambycidae (Coleoptera)

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              An endangered longhorn beetle associated with old oaks and its possible role as an ecosystem engineer.

              For more than 10 years, ecologists have been discussing the concept of ecosystem engineering (i.e., nontrophic interactions of an organism that alters the physical state of its environment and affects other species). In conservation biology, the functional role of species is of interest because persistence of some species may be necessary for maintaining an entire assemblage with many threatened species. The great capricorn (Cerambyx cerdo), an endangered beetle listed in the European Union's Habitats Directive, has suffered a dramatic decline in the number of populations and in population sizes in Central Europe over the last century. The damage caused by C. cerdo larvae on sound oak trees has considerable effects on the physiological characteristics of these trees. We investigated the impacts of these effects on the species richness and heterogeneity of the saproxylic beetle assemblage on oaks. We compared the catches made with flight interception traps on 10 oaks colonized and 10 oaks uncolonized by C. cerdo in a study area in Lower Saxony (Germany). Our results revealed a significantly more species-rich assemblage on the trees colonized by C. cerdo. Colonized trees also harbored more red-listed beetle species. Our results suggest that an endangered beetle species can alter its own habitat to create favorable habitat conditions for other threatened beetle species. Efforts to preserve C. cerdo therefore have a positive effect on an entire assemblage of insects, including other highly endangered species. On the basis of the impact C. cerdo seems to have on the saproxylic beetle assemblage, reintroductions might be considered in regions where the species has become extinct.

                Author and article information

                J Chem Ecol
                J. Chem. Ecol
                Journal of Chemical Ecology
                Springer US (New York )
                28 August 2018
                28 August 2018
                : 44
                : 11
                : 987-998
                ISNI 0000 0000 8578 2742, GRID grid.6341.0, Unit of Chemical Ecology, Department of Plant Protection Biology, , Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, ; Box 102, Sundsvägen 14, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                : 29 June 2018
                : 8 August 2018
                : 13 August 2018
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004357, Naturvårdsverket;
                Award ID: NV-03135-14
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100010109, Skogssällskapet;
                Award ID: 2016-029 LOMOL
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001862, Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas;
                Award ID: 2016-01372
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001725, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences;
                Award ID: BS2015-0065
                Award Recipient :
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                © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

                longhorn beetle,1-hexanol,2-methyl-1-butanol,population monitoring,threatened species,conservation


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