The Influence of Host Plant Volatiles on the Attraction of Longhorn Beetles to Pheromones

R. Maxwell Collignon, Ian P. Swift, Yunfan Zou, J. Steven McElfresh, Lawrence M. Hanks, Jocelyn G. Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Host plant volatiles have been shown to strongly synergize the attraction of some longhorn beetle species (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) to their pheromones. This synergism is well documented among species that infest conifers, but less so for angiosperm-infesting species. To explore the extent of this phenomenon in the Cerambycidae, we first tested the responses of a cerambycid community to a generic pheromone blend in the presence or absence of chipped material from host plants as a source of host volatiles. In the second phase, blends of oak and conifer volatiles were reconstructed, and tested at low, medium, and high release rates with the pheromone blend. For conifer-infesting species in the subfamilies Spondylidinae and Lamiinae, conifer volatiles released at the high rate synergized attraction of some species to the pheromone blend. When comparing high-release rate conifer blend with high-release rate α-pinene as a single component, species responses varied, with Asemum nitidum LeConte being most attracted to pheromones plus α-pinene, whereas Neospondylis upiformis (Mannerheim) were most attracted to pheromones plus conifer blend and ethanol. For oak-infesting species in the subfamily Cerambycinae, with the exception of Phymatodes grandis Casey, which were most attracted to pheromones plus ethanol, neither synthetic oak blend nor ethanol increased attraction to pheromones. The results indicate that the responses to combinations of pheromones with host plant volatiles varied from synergistic to antagonistic, depending on beetle species. Release rates of host plant volatiles also were important, with some high release rates being antagonistic for oak-infesting species, but acting synergistically for conifer-infesting species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Antagonist
  • Cerambycidae
  • Coleoptera
  • Host plant volatiles
  • Pheromone
  • Synergist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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