Many species of cerambycid beetles in the subfamily Cerambycinae are known to use male-produced pheromones composed of one or a few components such as 3-hydroxyalkan-2-ones and the related 2,3-alkanediols. Here, we show that this pheromone structure is characteristic of the cerambycine genus Neoclytus Thomson, based on laboratory and field studies of 10 species and subspecies. Males of seven taxa produced pheromones composed of (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one as a single component, and the synthetic pheromone attracted adults of both sexes in field bioassays, including the eastern North American taxa Neoclytus caprea (Say), Neoclytus mucronatus mucronatus (F.), and Neoclytus scutellaris (Olivier), and the western taxa Neoclytus conjunctus (LeConte), Neoclytus irroratus (LeConte), and Neoclytus modestus modestus Fall. Males of the eastern Neoclytus acuminatus acuminatus (F.) and the western Neoclytus tenuiscriptus Fall produced (2S,3S)-2,3-hexanediol as their dominant or sole pheromone component. Preliminary data also revealed that males of the western Neoclytus balteatus LeConte produced a blend of (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one and (2S,3S)-2,3-hexanediol but also (2S,3S)-2,3-octanediol as a minor component. The fact that the hydroxyketone-hexanediol structural motif is consistent among these North American species provides further evidence of the high degree of conservation of pheromone structures among species in the subfamily Cerambycinae.
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Vol. 108 • No. 4