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Journal of chemical ecology

Defensive roles of (E)-2-alkenals and related compounds in heteroptera.


PMID 23054031

Abstract

We examined whether shared volatiles found in various heteropteran species and developmental stages function to repel predators. The nymphal dorsal abdominal gland secretions of Riptortus pedestris (Heteroptera: Alydidae) and Thasus acutangulus (Heteroptera: Coreidae), and the metathoracic scent gland secretion of Euschistus biformis (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) adults were identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). (E)-2-Hexenal, 4-oxo-(E)-2-hexenal (4-OHE), and (E)-2-octenal were found in all three species and deemed likely candidates for repelling predators. In addition to (E)-2-alkenals, the adult E. biformis secreted (E)-2-hexenyl acetate, (E)-2-octenyl acetate, and four hydrocarbons. We evaluated the potential predator repellent properties of these compounds and compound blends against a generalist, cosmopolitan insect predator, the Chinese praying mantid (Mantodea: Mantidae: Tenodera aridifolia sinensis). Mantids that experienced (E)-2-hexenal, (E)-2-octenal, and (E)-2-octenyl acetate moved away from the site of interaction, while 4-OHE and (E)-2-hexenyl acetate did not affect mantid behavior. The compound blends did not have additive or synergistic repellency effects on predator behavior. Compound repellency was not related to compound volatility. Instead, the repellent effect is likely related to predator olfaction, and the affinity of each compound to receptors on the antennae. Our results also suggest the repellents might intensify the visual defensive signals of aposematism (T. acutangulus nymphs) and mimicry (R. pedestris nymphs) in heteropteran bugs.