Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Semiochemical and communication ecology of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae).

Abstract

Knowledge of buprestid chemical ecology is sparse but the appearance of the invasive pest Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire in North America has provided the impetus to study in detail the semiochemistry and ecology of this important buprestid. The macrocyclic lactone (3Z)-12-dodecenolide [(3Z)-lactone] is identified as a key antennally-active compound that is produced by females and attracts males. Though a weak trap attractant alone, when combined with the host kairomone (3Z)-hexenol and the important visual cue of a green canopy trap, significant increases in male trap capture occur, thus defining (3Z)-lactone as both a sex pheromone of A. planipennis as well as the first and only known buprestid pheromone. The non-natural stereoisomer (3E)-12-dodecenolide and the saturated analog, 12-dodecanolide also exhibit mimetic activities towards male A. planipennis, suggesting a notable plasticity in this pheromonal structural motif. Efficient synthetic routes to these compounds have been developed. A series of fluoro-12-dodecanolides has also been synthesized containing CF2 groups as a strategy to bias the conformational space accessed by these macrolides and to assess if the analogs may act as mimetics for 12-dodecanolide pheromones associated in A. planipennis. These compounds also afford a unique opportunity to study the binding affinities of lactone surrogates with A. planipennis chemosensory proteins and olfactory receptors. Some progress has also been made in identifying the genes involved in the reception, processing and degradation of volatiles in this invasive insect. It is now evident that the behavior and ecology of A. planipennis involves a complex pattern of sensory modalities, including visual, tactile, olfactory and potentially acoustic components. Earlier reviews focused on studies of attractive host volatiles in development of a trapping system for early detection and visual and contact phenomena in A. planipennis mate finding. This review will update the semiochemistry and chemical ecology of A. planipennis and discuss studies on chemistry and behavior that have identified female-produced pheromone components and host kairomones.