Role of volatile and contact pheroniones in the mating behaviour of Bagrada hilaris (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae).
Volatiles and contact pheromones involved in the mating behaviour of the Painted bug, Bagrada hilaris Burmeister (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), were investigated in behavioural and chemical experiments. Vertical open Y-shaped olfactometer bioassays showed that odour from males attract females but not males, while that from females did not attract either gender. Adult females were also attracted by hexane extracts of volatile compounds collected from males. In open arena bioassays, males displayed the characteristic steps of courtship behaviour in the presence of virgin females. Such courtship behaviour was displayed in the presence of females killed by freezing, but not in the presence of freeze-killed females washed with hexane. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of volatile compounds produced by cohorts of 20 B. hilaris adults and collected over 48 h showed that both males and females produce the compounds nonanal, decanal and (E)-2-octenyl acetate. Of these compounds males produce significantly more (E)-2-o-octenyl acetate, i.e. 186.74 ng and 67.53 ng for males and females respectively. These findings indicate this compound is possibly a long range volatile pheromone, and a complex lipophilic fraction of the adult cuticle possible contact pheromone involved in short range courtship behaviour.