Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis, antennal and behavioral responses to nonhost leaf and bark volatiles

Formally Refereed
Authors: William Shepherd, Brian Sullivan
Year: 2013
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Journal of Chemical Ecology 39:481-493


A growing body of evidence suggests that bark beetles detect and avoid release points of volatile compounds associated with nonhost species, and thus such nonhost volatiles may have potential utility in the management of bark beetles. We used a coupled gas chromatograph-electroantennographic detector (GC-EAD) to assay the olfactory sensitivity of the southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann, to volatiles from leaves and bark of eight species of nonhost angiosperm trees that are common in the range of D. frontalis. Tree species sampled were red maple (Acer rubrum L.), mockernut hickory [Carya alba (L.) Nutt. ex Ell.], sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.), black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica Marsh.), black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.), southern red oak (Quercus falcata Michx.), blackjack oak [Quercus marilandica (L.) Muenchh.], and water oak (Quercus nigra L.). Beetle antennae responded to a total of 28 identifiable compounds in these samples. The relative olfactory responsiveness to 14 of these, as well as to nonanoic acid and four additional volatiles reported to be associated with nonhost angiosperms, was assessed in GC-EAD analyses of synthetic dilutions spanning six orders of magnitude. The largest response voltage amplitudes were obtained with trans-conophthorin, nonanoic acid, terpinen-4-ol, phenylethyl alcohol, and eucalyptol, whereas the lowest response thresholds were to nonanoic acid, nonanal, linalool, (E)-2-hexen-1-ol, and phenylethyl alcohol. Funnel traps baited with various combinations of eleven antennally-active angiosperm volatiles along with a standard attractant captured significantly fewer male and female D. frontalis than traps baited with the standard attractant alone. Our data suggest that a diversity of semiochemicals may be involved in host species discrimination by D. frontalis, and several may have utility in their management.


inhibitor, bark beetle, GC-EAD, scolytinae, non-host, southern pine beetle, behavior


Shepherd, William P.; Sullivan, Brian T. 2013. Southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis, antennal and behavioral responses to nonhost leaf and bark volatiles. Journal of Chemical Ecology 39:481-493.