Byers, J.A., Birgersson, G., and Francke, W. 2013. Aggregation pheromones of bark beetles, Pityogenes quadridens and P. bidentatus, colonizing Scotch pine: olfactory avoidance of interspecific mating and competition. Chemoecology 23:251-261.

Abstract-- The bark beetles Pityogenes bidentatus and Pityogenes quadridens (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae) are sibling species that feed and reproduce in bark areas on branches of Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris. To identify aggregation pheromone components of both species, hindguts and head/thoraxes of males and females of both species feeding in hosts were extracted in pentane and analyzed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Hindguts of male P. bidentatus contained grandisol as the major component along with small amounts of (4S)-cis-verbenol and other monoterpenes. Dose-response bioassays in the laboratory showed the components were attractive at 0.2 ng/min to walking beetles from a distance of 25 cm or more. In the field in southern Sweden, grandisol and (4S)-cis-verbenol were weakly attractive alone when released at rates of 0.05 and 0.5 mg/day, respectively, from a slow-rotating trap pair. Catch increased 3.6- to 13-fold when the two components were released together. Slow-rotating trap pair in Scotch pine forest in Skåne (Sweden) The male proportion of the catch was 0.8 early in the flight period, declined to 0.5 on the peak flight day, and then declined further during the next 2 weeks to 0.2 on the last day of the flight period. Hindguts of male P. quadridens contained (2S,5R)- and (2S,5S)-chalcogran, as well as (E)- 2-(3,3-dimethylcyclohexylidene)ethanol (E-grandlure 2) and E/Z-mixture of 2-(3,3-dimethylcyclohexylidene)acetaldehyde (grandlures 3 and 4), while female hindguts had only a trace amount of chalcogran. Laboratory studies proved E-grandlure 2 is an essential pheromone component for P. quadridens. Field bioassays with a slow-rotating trap pair in which the attractiveness of blends containing various candidate components were compared with that of less complete mixtures, showed that chalcogran and E-grandlure 2 were synergistic aggregation pheromone components of P. quadridens. Field tests also showed that grandisol (from P. bidentatus) reduced attraction of P. quadridens to its aggregation pheromone, whereas E-grandlure 2 and chalcogran (from P. quadridens) reduced response of P. bidentatus to its aggregation pheromone. Our results suggest that aggregation pheromone components from males of each species not only attract conspecifics but also aid individuals in avoiding interspecific mating and competition for food and spatial resources within the bark phloem layer.
Chemical Ecology