U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Pest Manag Sci 2021

DOI 10.1002/ps.6651


U.S. government work


BACKGROUND: Responses to sex pheromones are commonly antagonized by pheromone components of closely related species. Pheromone antagonism has not been widely explored for phylogenetically distant species that have completely different pheromone components. Yet, pheromone components of sympatrically occurring species may also interfere with each other even if these species are distantly related. Here, the effects of heterospecific pheromones on electrophysiology (electroantennogram, EAG) and behavioral responses were tested on the diamondback moth Plutella xyloslella (Plutellidae) and two sympatric noctuid moth species, Spodoptera litura and Spodoptera exigua, whose larvae also feed on Brassica crops.

RESULTS: The sex pheromone blend of P. xyloslella, and its components, did not elicit EAG responses in males of the two noctuid species, while sex pheromone components of the noctuid moths elicited significant EAG responses in P. xyloslella males. In wind tunnel bioassays, both (Z, E)-9, 12-tetradecadienyl acetate (ZE-9,12-14:OAc) and (Z, E)-9, 11-tetradecadienyl acetate (ZE-9,11-14:OAc), sex pheromone components from the noctuid moths, inhibited the upwind flight behavior of P. xyloslella males toward an intraspecific pheromone odor source. In Brassica fields, sex pheromone lures of P. xyloslella did not influence trap catches of the noctuid moths, while P. xyloslella pheromone lures baited with either ZE-9,11-14:OAc or ZE-9,12-14:OAc decreased trap catches of P. xyloslella males in a dose-dependent manner. Trap catches of P. xylostella males were also affected by the proximity of ZE-9,11-14:OAc or ZE-9,12-14:OAc to P. xylostella lures.

CONCLUSION: The uni-directional pheromone antagonism by ZE-9,11-14:OAc and ZE-9,12-14:OAc suggests innovative semiochemical-based strategies for the management of P. xyloslella and other economically important pests in Brassica fields.

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