The Role of Minor Pheromone Components in Segregating 14 Species of Longhorned Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) of the Subfamily Cerambycinae

Lawrence M. Hanks, Judith A. Mongold-Diers, Robert F. Mitchell, Yunfan Zou, Joseph C.H. Wong, Linnea R. Meier, Todd D. Johnson, Jocelyn G. Millar, Brian Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present research on the chemical ecology of 14 species of longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), in four tribes of the subfamily Cerambycinae, conducted in east-central Illinois over 8 yr. Adult males produce aggregation-sex pheromones that attract both sexes. Twenty independent field bioassays explored the pheromone chemistry of the species and tested the possible attractive or antagonistic effects of compounds that are not produced by a given species, but are pheromone components of other species. Analyses of beetle-produced volatiles revealed compounds that had not been reported previously from several of the species. The most common pheromone component was (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one, but pheromones of some species included isomers of the related 2,3-hexanediols. Males of the congeners Phymatodes amoenus (Say) and Phymatodes testaceus (L.) produced pure (R)-2-methylbutan-1-ol. Enantiomers of 2-methylbutan-1-ol also proved to be powerful synergists for Megacyllene caryae (Gahan), Sarosesthes fulminans (F.), and Xylotrechus colonus (F.). The major components of pheromone blends were consistently present in collections of headspace volatiles from male beetles, and only the major components were inherently attractive to a subset of species when tested as single components. Minor components of some species acted as powerful synergists, but in other cases appeared not to influence attraction. Among the minor components identified in headspace extracts from males, 2,3-hexanedione and 2-hydroxyhexan-3-one appeared to be analytical artifacts or biosynthetic by-products, and were neither attractants nor synergists. The antagonistic effects of minor compounds produced by heterospecific males suggest that these compounds serve to maintain prezygotic reproductive isolation among some species that share pheromone components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2236-2252
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 23 2019


  • Cerambycidae
  • aggregation
  • reproductive isolation
  • semiochemical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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