Canadian Forest Service Publications

(Z,Z)-6,9-Heneicosadien-11-one, labile sex pheromone of the whitemarked tussock moth, Orgyia leucostigma. 2003. Grant, G.G.; Slessor, K.N.; Liu, W.; Abou-Zaid, M.M. Journal of Chemical Ecology 29: 589-601.

Year: 2003

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 21506

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


The whitemarked tussock moth (WMTM), Orgyia leucostigma (J. E. Smith), is a major pest of coniferous and deciduous trees in eastern Canada. Chemical identification of its sex pheromone depended primarily on GC-EAD and HPLC analysis, with confirmation of behavioral activity by wind tunnel and field tests. We identified (Z,Z)-6,9-heneicosadien-11-one (Z,Z-6,9-ket) at 4–5 ng/female as the only essential sex pheromone component. Also detected in female extracts were (Z)-6-heneicosen-11-one (Z6-ket) at 2.5 ng/female, (Z,E)-6,8-heneicosadien-11-one (Z,E-6,8-ket) at about 0.5 ng/female, and a trace amount of (Z,E)-6,9-heneicosadien-11-one. Traps containing as little as 1 mg of Z,Z-6,9-ket attracted males at low population levels, indicating it is a potent sex attractant. Traps baited with Z6-ket attracted few males, and in wind-tunnel bioassays it was at least 100-fold less attractive to males than Z,Z-6,9-ket. No improvement in trap catch occurred with the addition of Z6-ket in various binary mixtures with Z,Z-6,9-ket, including the female ratio, and a ternary mixture of Z,Z-6,9-ket, Z6-ket, and Z,E-6,8-ket in the 9:5:1 ratio detected in females was no better than Z,Z-6,9-ket alone. We attribute the presence of Z,E-6,8-ket and Z,E-6,9-ket in female extracts to the spontaneous and rapid stereospecific isomerization of Z,Z-6,9-ket at room temperature. Male flight began at sunset but peaked during the second half of the night.

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