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The cuticular hydrocarbons of insects are species-specific and often function as semiochemicals. The activity of Tribolium brevicornis cuticular hydrocarbons as feeding deterrents that ostensibly function to prevent pupal cannibalism and predation was evaluated. The cuticular hydrocarbons of T. brevicornis pupae were characterized and flour disk bioassays conducted with individual and combined extract components incorporated into artificial diets on which Tribolium adults fed for six days. Feeding by T. brevicornis and T. castaneum on flour disks containing cuticular extracts of T. brevicornis pupae resulted in reduced consumption and weight loss relative to feeding on control flour disks. In both cases, feeding deterrence indices exceeded 80% suggesting that T. brevicornis cuticular hydrocarbons could function to deter cannibalism and predation of pupae by larvae and adult beetles. Sixteen different cuticular hydrocarbons were identified in T. brevicornis pupal extracts. Eight of the commercially available linear alkanes were tested individually in feeding trials with eight Tribolium species. One compound (C28) significantly reduced the amount of food consumed by three species compared to control disks, whereas the compounds C25, C26, and C27 elicited increased feeding in some species. Four other compounds had no effect on consumption for any species. When four hydrocarbon mixtures were tested for synergistic deterrence on T. brevicornis and T. castaneum, none significantly influenced consumption. Our results indicate that the cuticular chemistry of T. brevicornis pupae could serve to deter predation by conspecific and congeneric beetles.
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