The banana fruit fly, Bactrocera musae (Tryon) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is an economically important pest endemic to Australia and mainland Papua New Guinea. The chemistry of its rectal glands, and the volatiles emitted during periods of sexual activity, has not been previously reported. Using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), we find that male rectal glands contain ethyl butanoate, N-(3-methylbutyl) acetamide, ethyl laurate and ethyl myristate, with ethyl butanoate as the major compound in both rectal gland and headspace volatile emissions. Female rectal glands contain four major compounds, ethyl laurate, ethyl myristate, ethyl palmitate and (E,E)-2,8-dimethyl-1,7-dioxaspiro[5.5]undecane, as well as 11 minor compounds. For both male and female B. musae, all compounds found in the headspace were also present in the rectal gland extracts, suggesting that the rectal gland is the main source of the headspace volatiles. Gas chromatography–electroantennography (GC-EAD) of rectal gland extracts confirms that male antennae respond to male-produced ethyl laurate and female-produced (E,E)-2,8-dimethyl-1,7-dioxaspiro[5.5]undecane, while female antennae respond to male-produced ethyl butanoate but no female-produced compounds. This is an important step in understanding the volatiles involved in the chemical communication of B. musae, their functional significance, and potential application.
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- B. musae
- insect volatile
- Fruit fly