Laboratory and field investigations to identify and evaluate plant co-attractants of the aggregation pheromone of the date palm pest Oryctes agamemnon are reported. Volatiles emitted by freshly cut palm core and palm core with feeding males, were collected, analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and evaluated in olfactometers alone or combined with synthetic pheromone. A collection of palm odor without male effluvia was attractive alone and enhanced attraction to synthetic pheromone in an olfactometer similar to that to a collection of palm odor emitted with feeding males and containing natural pheromone. Behavioral responses to collections of palm volatiles were correlated to the amount of volatiles material in them. Enhancement of the attractiveness of the pheromone was not correlated to chemicals specific to beetle feeding. The chemicals common to the active collections extracts were benzoate esters, mostly ethyl benzoate, anisole derivatives and sesquiterpenes. Blends of the most abundant components of the extracts were evaluated for enhancement of the attractiveness of pheromone (1 μg) in olfactometers at 1 or 10 μg doses. The mixtures were further evaluated by field trapping in Tunisia at 3–10 mg/day using reference (6 mg/day) or experimental pheromone formulations. A mixture of ethyl benzoate, 4-methylanisole and farnesol (1:1:1 w/w at 6.5 mg/day) enhanced captures in pheromone baited traps in 2014 and 2015 and this mixture was as active as the natural palm bait. The practical prospect of the result for the management for O. agamemnon, and other palm beetles is discussed.
Journal of Chemical Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 30, 2017
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