Identification of the female-produced sex pheromone of an invasive greenhouse pest, the European pepper moth (Duponchelia fovealis).
The European pepper moth (Duponchelia fovealis, Lepidoptera, Crambidae, Spilomelinae) is an invasive pest of greenhouses in many countries, causing serious damages to horticultural plants. Coupled gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection analysis of the female gland extract revealed two antennally active peaks. Using coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), one was identified as (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11-16:Ald); however, further analysis on different types of capillary columns indicated that the second active compound has two different isomers, (E)-13-octadecenal (E13-18:Ald) and (Z)-13-octadecenal (Z13-18:Ald). The approximate ratio of E13-18:Ald, Z13-18:Ald and Z11-16:Ald in the crude pheromone gland extract was 10:1:0.1, respectively. Single sensillum recordings showed that there was one sensory neuron that responded with a high amplitude spike to both E13-18:Ald and Z13-18:Ald, while another neuron housed in the same sensillum responded to Z11-16:Ald. Field evaluation of the identified compounds indicated that the E13-18:Ald was necessary to evoke the attraction of males; although the presence of Z13-18:Ald and Z11-16:Ald increased the catches in traps. The highest number of caught males was achieved when E13-18:Ald, Z13-18:Ald and Z11-16:Ald were present in baits in the same ratio as in the female gland extract. This pheromone can be used in a monitoring strategy and could potentially lead to the development of mating disruption.