(R)-(+)-γ-Decalactone is Conserved in North America as a Pheromone Component of Osmoderma eremicola (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) and a Kairomone of Elater abruptus (Coleoptera: Elateridae)

Geryd L. Steffek, Anna S. Grommes, Lawrence M. Hanks, Robert F. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The scarab genus Osmoderma (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) includes several large species called hermit beetles that develop within dead and decaying hardwood trees. Males of at least three Palearctic species produce the aggregation-sex pheromone (R)-(+)-γ-decalactone, including the endangered O. eremita (Scopoli). However, hermit beetles have received less attention in the western hemisphere, resulting in a large gap in our knowledge of the chemical ecology of Nearctic species. Here, we identify (R)-(+)-γ-decalactone as the primary component of the aggregation-sex pheromone of the North American species Osmoderma eremicola (Knoch). Field trials at sites in Wisconsin and Illinois revealed that both sexes were attracted to lures containing (R)-(+)-γ-decalactone or the racemate, but only males of O. eremicola produced the pheromone in laboratory bioassays, alongside an occasional trace of the chain-length analog γ-dodecalactone. Females of the congener O. scabra (Palisot de Beauvois) were also significantly attracted by γ-decalactone, suggesting further conservation of the pheromone, as were females of the click beetle Elater abruptus Say (Coleoptera: Elateridae), suggesting that this compound may have widespread kairomonal activity. Further research is needed to explore the behavioral roles of both lactones in mediating behavioral and ecological interactions among these beetle species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Volume50
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Aggregation-sex pheromone
  • Hardwood forests
  • Hermit beetle
  • Kairomone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry

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