The Aggregation Pheromone of Phyllotreta striolata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) Revisited
Aggregations of the striped flea beetle Phyllotreta striolata on their crucifer host plants are mediated by volatiles emitted from feeding males. The male-specific sesquiterpene, (6R,7S)-himachala-9,11-diene (compound A), was shown previously to be physiologically and behaviorally active, but compound Awas attractive only when combined with unnaturally high doses of the host plant volatile allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) in field trapping experiments. This indicated that our understanding of the chemical communication in this species is incomplete. Another male-specific sesquiterpenoid, (3S,9R,9aS)-3-hydroxy-3,5,5,9-tetramethyl-5,6,7,8,9,9ahexahydro- 1H-benzoannulen-2(3H)-one (compound G), has been reported from an American P. striolata population. We confirmed the presence of compound G, and investigated its interaction with compound A and AITC in a P. striolata population in Taiwan. Compound G was attractive to Taiwanese P. striolata in laboratory bioassays, but significantly more beetles were attracted to a blend of compounds A and G. Under the same conditions, P. striolata showed no preference for the blend of A and G combined with a range of doses of AITC over the sesquiterpenoid blend alone. The sesquiterpenoid blend was tested further in field trapping experiments and attracted significantly more beetles than traps baited with compound A and ecologically relevant amounts of AITC.We conclude that A and G are components of the malespecific aggregation pheromone of P. striolata in Taiwan, and that the attractiveness of the pheromone is not reliant on the presence of AITC. Our results further indicate that the malespecific sesquiterpenoid blends differ qualitatively between the Taiwanese and American populations of P. striolata.