The eucalyptus weevil, Gonipterus platensis (Coleoptera, Curculionidae), is a major pest of eucalyptus plantations worldwide. To date, no pheromones have been identified for this species, despite their valuable potential as tools in monitoring or control strategies. Here we report the detection and identification of pheromones candidates of G. platensis. The weevil's volatile compounds were collected by solid phase micro extraction (SPME) and monolithic material sorption extraction (MMSE). Using Gas Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis, eleven insect specific compounds were detected and identified: verbenene, cis-verbenol, trans-verbenol, verbenone, 2-oxo-1,8-cineole, 9-hydroxy-1,8-cineole, 2-α-hydroxy-1,8-cineole, 3-oxo-1,8-cineole, 2-β-hydroxy-1,8-cineole, 3-α-hydroxy-1,8-cineole and 7-hydroxy-1,8-cineole. Three of these compounds, verbenene, cis-verbenol and trans-verbenol, were shown to be male-specific. Antennal sensitivity towards ten compounds emitted by G. platensis was detected using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry/Electroantennographic Detection (GC-MS/EAD). Extracts from virgin males proved to be attractive to virgin females in olfactometer bioassays. Further behavioural bioassays showed that both virgin females and virgin males were attracted to the male-specific compound cis-verbenol and that virgin females were attracted to trans-verbenol. Verbenone was attractive to mated females. Regarding 2-α-hydroxy-1.8-cineole and 2-oxo-1,8-cineole, which are produced by both sexes, the alcohol was attractive to virgin males and both the alcohol and the ketone were repellant to mated females. This is, to our knowledge, the first identification of pheromones candidates in Gonipterus spp. and also the first evidence of cineole metabolites acting as semiochemicals.
- cineole derivatives
- Olfactometer bioassay