The native leafmining moth Tischeria ekebladella (Lepidoptera: Tischeriidae) feeds on oaks and recently has become a pest of silviculture and urban green areas in central Europe. The behavioral responses of male moths to hexane extracts of whole bodies of calling females or males were tested under laboratory conditions. Only extracts of females elicited responses from males. Analysis of extracts by coupled gas chromatography/electroantennographic detection revealed the presence of two electroantennogramactive peaks. Structure elucidation of these compounds, by gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry and independent synthesis revealed them to be (3Z,6Z,9Z)-tricosa-3,6,9-triene and (3Z,6Z,9Z,19Z)-tricosa-3,6,9,19-tetraene. While the triene was present in both sexes, the tetraene was femalespecific. The latter is a new structure for a pheromone component of Lepidoptera and a novel natural product. Field trapping tests, carried out in a mixed oak forest near Budapest (Hungary), using synthetic compounds applied to rubber dispensers, showed that the tetraene per se elicited catches of males in large numbers. When the triene was added to the tetraene in a ratio of 1:1, there was no increase in trap catch; the triene alone did not elicit catches of males. For monitoring this insect, the tetraene, applied to rubber dispensers at a dose of 300 μg, is a potent sex attractant.
oak leaf miner
early diverging Lepidoptera
National Museum of Natural History, Netherlands
Article / Letter to the editor