Chemical and behavioral evidence for a third pheromone component in a North American population of the black cutworm moth, Agrotis ipsilon

César Gemeno, Kenneth F. Haynes

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38 Scopus citations


The sex pheromone of Agrotis ipsilon had been previously identified as a blend of (Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate (Z7-12:Ac) and (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate (Z9-14: Ac). A synthetic blend of Z7-12: Ac and Z9-14: Ac (30 μg: 10 μg) is effective in attracting males in the field. In several countries, addition of (Z)-11-hexadecenyl acetate (Z11-16:Ac) to the previously identified blend increases male captures, but this had not been demonstrated in North America. We found Z11-16:Ac, in addition to Z7-12:Ac and Z9-14:Ac, from pheromone gland extracts of females from North America. The mean ratio of Z7-12:Ac, Z9-14:Ac, and Z11-16:Ac produced by individual females was 70.5:14.2:15.3, respectively. In Kentucky, addition of Z11-16: Ac (60 μg) to a two-component blend o f Z7- 12: Ac and Z9-14: Ac significantly increased the trap capture rate in the field. Traps baited with this three-component blend were 3.3 times (1995) and 4.6 times (1996) more effective in capturing male A. ipsilon than the two-component blend. This improved effectiveness resulted in detection of A. ipsilon in 60% more of the sampling periods in the two years. In the wind tunnel, males flew upwind and contacted a rubber septum loaded with a three-component blend including Z11-16: Ac significantly more frequently than they did to any two-component blend. These results demonstrate that Z11-16:Ac is a pheromone component in this North American population of A. ipsilon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1011
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments—We thank S. Rose and B. Chastain for providing technical assistance. Drs. D. A. Potter and P. Weston reviewed an earlier draft of this manuscript. C.G. was funded in part by a Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute for Agricultural Research of Spain. This material is based in part upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research Service, US Department of Agriculture under Agreement No. 94-37302-0613. The GC-MSD system was purchased in part by funds from the University of Kentucky major equipment program (MRES94-01-Haynes). This investigation (Paper no. 97-08-83) was conducted in connection with a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experimental Station.


  • Agrotis ipsilon
  • Feltia jaculifera
  • Lepidoptera
  • Male attraction
  • Pheromone traps
  • Sex pheromone
  • Wind tunnel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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