Aggregation pheromone of the cereal leaf beetle: Field evaluation and emission from males in the laboratory

Sujaya Rao, Allard A. Cossé, Bruce W. Zilkowski, Robert J. Bartelt

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29 Scopus citations


The previously identified, male-specific compound of the cereal leaf beetle (CLB, Chrysomelidae; Oulema melanopus), (E)-8-hydroxy-6-methyl-6-octen-3-one, was studied further with respect to field activity and emission rate from male beetles. In a 5-week field experiment in Oregon, the compound was shown to function as an aggregation pheromone in attracting male and female CLBs migrating from overwintering sites in spring. Traps baited with the synthetic compound (500 μg per rubber septum) caught 3.3 times more CLBs than control traps. Lower doses of the pheromone (50 and 150 μg) were less attractive than the 500 μg dose. One relatively abundant, volatile compound from the host plant (oats), (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, that elicited responses from beetle antennae was not attractive, either by itself or as a synergist of the pheromone. Both sexes were captured about equally for all treatments. We also measured daily pheromone emission by male beetles in the laboratory. Individual males feeding on oat seedlings under greenhouse conditions emitted as much as 6 μg per day, which is about 500 times higher than had been previously observed under incubator conditions. The pheromone emission rate was at least five times higher during the day than at night, and in one male, emission spanned a period of 28 d. The release rate of synthetic pheromone from the 500 μg septa was very similar to the maximum from single males; thus, future experiments should evaluate even higher doses. The field results indicate that the pheromone has potential as a monitoring tool for early detection of CLBs as they move from their overwintering sites into newly planted cereal crops in spring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2165-2175
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • (E)-8-hydroxy-6-methyl-6-octen-3-one
  • (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate
  • Aggregation pheromone
  • Cereal leaf beetle
  • Chrysomelidae
  • Coleoptera
  • Emission rates
  • Field evaluation
  • Oulema melanopus


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