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Chemical ecology and insect conservation: optimising pheromone-based monitoring of the threatened saproxylic click beetle Elater ferrugineus

  • Glenn Svensson
  • Christoph Liedtke
  • Erik Hedenström
  • Palle Breistein
  • Joakim Bång
  • Mattias C Larsson
Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 549-555
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of Insect Conservation
Volym: 16
Nummer: 4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Springer


Elater ferrugineus is a saproxylic click beetle inhabiting old deciduous trees in Europe. It is threatened throughout its area of distribution due to habitat loss. No efficient monitoring method has been available for this species, but observed attraction of females to (R)-(+)-γ-decalactone, which is a male-produced sex pheromone of its prey, the scarab beetle Osmoderma eremita, has led to the development of an odour lure for monitoring. In addition, four esters have recently been identified from the pheromone-producing gland in female E. ferrugineus, and a blend of these esters is highly attractive to conspecific males in the field, revealing an alternative odour-based method for monitoring this species. However, no rigorous analysis has been performed to check whether all four esters show biological activity in male E. ferrugineus, and whether its own sex pheromone is a more potent lure than the prey kairomone for monitoring of E. ferrugineus. In this study, we reinvestigated the E. ferrugineus sex pheromone, using electrophysiological and behavioural analyses, and found that only one of the esters, 7-methyloctyl (Z)-4-decenoate, is active. In addition, trapping experiments revealed that 7-methyloctyl (Z)-4-decenoate is a much more efficient attractant for male E. ferrugineus than the prey pheromone is for conspecific females, or any sex of O. eremita. With a very efficient odour lure at hand, novel information about current distribution, local population sizes, and dispersal ranges in E. ferrugineus can now be obtained, which can aid in conservation efforts to protect this threatened insect and its habitat.


  • Biological Sciences
  • Zoology
  • Elateridae
  • Scarabaeidae
  • Sex pheromone
  • Kairomone
  • Field trapping
  • Conservation


  • The PheroBio project (Pheromone monitoring of Biodiversity)
  • Pheromone Group
  • ISSN: 1366-638X

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