A sensitive bioassay for spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) repellency: A double bond makes a difference

John C. Snyder, George F. Antonious, Richard Thacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Choice bioassays were used to determine repellency of homologous n-alkanes (C 8H 18-C 21H 44) to spider mites. When tested at 400 μg/cm 2, the C 15-C 19 alkanes were highly repellent; the C 16 n-alkane, n-hexadecane, was most repellent. Subsequently the EC 50 values, the concentration at which 50% of the mites were repelled, were determined for the C 15-C 19 n-alkanes and their analogous 1-n-alkenes (C 15H 30-C 19H 38). The EC 50 value for 1-heptadecene, the C 17 1-n-alkene, was the lowest observed. Except for the 17-carbon hydrocarbons, the EC 50 values for the n-alkanes were less than those for their analogous 1-n-alkenes. Depending on the compounds evaluated, there was as much as a six-fold difference of repellency between an n-alkane its analogous 1-n-alkene. Thus, the bioassay has sufficient sensitivity to detect behavioral differences associated with the presence or absence of a single double bond. The EC 50 values for the most repellent hydrocarbons were similar to that reported for 2,3-dihydrofarnesoic acid, a naturally occurring repellent isolated from trichome secretions of a wild tomato, Solanum habrochaites, and also were similar to concentrations used to evaluate arthropod repellents. Consequently, this bioassay may be useful for providing a better understanding of the relationships between structures and activities of natural products that are repellent to spider mites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Arthropod
  • Avoidance
  • Behavior
  • Deterrence
  • Insect
  • Lycopersicon
  • Non-preference
  • Solanum habrochaites
  • Tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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