Chemically mediated predator-free space: Herbivores can synergize intraspecific communication without increasing risk of predation

Brian H. Aukema, Kenneth F. Raffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Natural enemies of herbivores often locate cryptic insects by responding to volatiles associated with the prey's feeding and mating. For example, predators of bark beetles (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) exploit the aggregation pheromones that their prey use to attract mates and secure hosts. Bark beetles are cryptic insects that feed and develop in the subcortical tissues of trees and spend all but a portion of their life history within this habitat. The pine engraver, Ips pini, produces the pheromone ipsdienol throughout its transcontinental range. Predators of I. pini exploit this chemical as a kairomonal cue. Eastern and Midwestern I. pini populations also produce lanierone, which synergizes their attraction to ipsdienol. We evaluated the effects of varying amounts of lanierone, in combination with a constant amount of racemic ipsdienol, on the relative attraction of I. pini and its major predators in Wisconsin. Higher numbers of I. pini were captured with increasing release rates of lanierone. In contrast, the numbers of the major predators, such as Thanasimus dubius, Enoclerus nigrifrons, Platysoma cylindrica, and P. parallelum, did not differ among different lanierone release rates. The response of I. pini but not their predators to lanierone at ecologically realistic release rates may be part of a coevolving interaction between predators and prey and offers new strategies for semiochemically based pest management by selectively removing pests and leaving predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1923-1939
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments—This study was supported by National Science Foundation grants DEB 9408264 and DEB 9629776, US Department of Agriculture USDA NRI AMD 96 04317, S. C. Johnson and Sons Foundation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Dr. M. K. Clayton, Department of Statistics, UW-Madison, provided statistical advice. Mr. S. Krauth, Insect Research Collection, Department of Entomology, UW-Madison, and Mr. K. Katovich, Department of Entomology, UW-Madison, aided in insect identification. Field assistance by Mr. J. Gruber, Department of Entomology, UW-Madison is greatly appreciated. We thank Mr. P. Pingrey, Private Forestry Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, for providing the study site. We thank Pherotech Inc., Delta, British Columbia, for donating the funnel traps. We thank D. Mahr and D. Hogg, UW-Madison, and two anonymous reviewers for their critical reviews of this manuscript.


  • Aggregation pheromone
  • Cleridae
  • Coevolution
  • Coleoptera
  • Enoclerus nigrifrons
  • Ips pini
  • Ipsdienol
  • Kairomone
  • Lanierone
  • Pest management
  • Platysoma
  • Scolytidae
  • Synergism
  • Thanasimus dubius


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