As a result of relaxation of importation restrictions ordered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shipments of fresh avocados from Mexico began entering California year-round in 2007, despite the fact that these shipments were heavily infested with a number of exotic and potentially invasive armored scale species that are not thought to be present in California. Here, we report the identification of the sex pheromone of one of these species, Acutaspis albopicta (Cockerell), from a quarantine colony of these insects initiated from specimens collected from commercial shipments of Mexican avocados. The compound was identified as [(1S,3S)-2,2-dimethyl-3-(prop-1-en-2-yl)cyclobutyl)]methyl (R)-2-methylbutanoate, and was similar in structure to the pheromones of several other scale and mealybug species. In laboratory bioassays, the pheromone was highly attractive to male scales in microgram doses. The pheromone will provide a very sensitive and selective tool for detection of the scale to try and prevent its permanent establishment in California.
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Vol. 105 • No. 2