Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), the red flour beetle, is a common cosmopolitan pest exploiting a variety of stored products. We experimentally manipulated diet nutritional quality by using non-nutritive filler to examine how this influenced pheromone production and olfactory attractiveness of T. castaneum adult males. Volatiles released by individual males reared on high versus low nutrition diets were collected using solid phase microextraction, and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was used to identify and quantify the Tribolium aggregation pheromone 4, 8-dimethyldecanal (DMD). Males kept on high nutrition diet showed a three-fold increase in daily DMD production, which suggests the possibility that this pheromone could act as a condition-dependent mating signal. In pitfall trap assays, there was no significant difference in the mean response of virgin females to discs kept with low versus high nutrition males, although discs carrying male cues were significantly more attractive than blank discs. These results suggest that DMD production rates by T. castaneum males will depend on the nutritional quality of various stored products, but such differences may not alter males' ability to attract females.
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Vol. 103 • No. 5