We identified a four-component sex pheromone blend that is as attractive or more attractive to male navel orangeworm moths, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), than either unmated females or hexane extracts of pheromone glands of females. The blend consisted of (11Z,13Z)-hexadecadienal; (11Z,13Z)-hexadecadien-1-ol; (11Z,13E)-hexadecadien-l-ol; and a hydrocarbon, (3Z,6Z,9Z,12Z,15Z)-tricosapentaene (C23 pentaene), in ratios of ≈100:100:5:5. Other minor components of pheromone gland extracts included (11Z,13E)-hexadecadienal; (11E,13Z)hexadecadienal; (11Z,13Z)-hexadecadien-l-yl acetate; (Z)-11-hexadecenal; hexadecanal; hexadecanl-ol; and a second pentaene, (3Z,6Z,9Z,12Z,15Z)-pentacosapentaene (C25 pentaene). These minor components did not increase attraction of male navel orangeworm to the basic four-component blend. The use of another, cross-attracted pyralid moth, Pyralis farinalis L., as a model species was crucial in implicating the C23 pentaene as an important component of the navel orangeworm pheromone blend. The four-component navel orangeworm pheromone blend was optimized using a combination of wind tunnel and field bioassays. Attractiveness of field deployed synthetic pheromone lures decreased rapidly despite incorporation of stabilizers and use of different release devices, suggesting that degradation products antagonize male navel orangeworm responses. Overall, the combination of type I lepidopteran pheromone components consisting of C16 aldehydes and alcohols with type II components consisting of long-chain polyunsaturated hydrocarbons has now been documented in several lepidopteran species and may indicate a paradigm shift in the range of compounds that constitute sex pheromone blends for individual lepidopteran species. This suggests that careful reexamination of pheromone gland contents for both type I and type II compounds may prove fruitful in species that have been studied but for which full attractant blends have eluded identification.
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