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New Zealand Plant Protection 58 (2005): 31-36

Chemistry of the sex pheromone gland of the fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea, discovered in New Zealand

A.M. El-Sayed, AR. Gibb and D.M. Suckling


The sex pheromone glands of two females of the fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea Drury (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae), that were discovered in Auckland in March 2003 were extracted in hexane and were subjected to GC-MS analysis. Four compounds were identified, (9Z,12Z,15Z)-octadeca-9,12,15-trienal, (9Z,12Z)-octadeca-9,12-dienal, (3Z,6Z)-9S,10R-cis-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene, and (1,3Z,6Z)-9S,10R-cis-9,10-epoxyhenicosa-1,3,6-triene. The ratio of these four compounds in the gland extracts was 6.6:0.6:27.9:0.1. Except for a trace amount of the trienic epoxide detected in the New Zealand sample, the ratio of the three other compounds was very similar to native North American females of this species. A direct comparison between the synthetic commercial lure, Nitolure, and the sex pheromone gland of females found in New Zealand indicates that the sex pheromone gland contains significantly more of (3Z,6Z)-9S,10R-cis-epoxyhenicosa-3,6-diene than the synthetic lure, while the lure lacks the trace amount of the trienic epoxide. Therefore the effectiveness of Nitolure at trapping fall webworm in New Zealand remains uncertain.

Keywords: pheromone, Arctiidae, fall webworm delimitation, biosecurity.

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