3,7-Dimethylpentadecane: a Novel Sex Pheromone Component from Leucoptera sinuella (Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae)

Wilson Barros-Parada, Jan Bergmann, Tomislav Curkovic, Cristian Espinosa, Eduardo Fuentes-Contreras, Jorge Guajardo, Heidy Herrera, Sebastián Morales, Abel F.O. Queiroz, Álvaro Vidal

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3 Scopus citations


Leucoptera sinuella is a leaf-miner moth present in several regions in the world, which has been recently introduced into Chile. The larvae feed exclusively on the leaves of poplar and willow trees, and the damage caused by the feeding behavior poses a threat to the wood-producing industry. Besides, L. sinuella larvae invade nearby orchards for pupation, causing rejections in Chilean fresh fruit for export. Here we report the identification of the female-produced sex pheromone of L. sinuella as a first step towards the development of pheromone-based methods for pest management of this species. First, we analyzed hexane extracts of the abdominal glands of virgin females by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and identified the major compound in these extracts to be 3,7-dimethylpentadecane, while minor compounds in the extracts proved to be 3,7-dimethyltetradecane and 7-methylpentadecane. Structure assignments were carried out by comparison of retention times and mass spectra of the natural products with those of authentic reference samples. Second, we conducted field tests, which showed that traps baited with synthetic 3,7-dimethylpentadecane were significantly attractive to males in a dose-dependent response. Our results also showed that a mixture of 3,7-dimethylpentadecane, 3,7-dimethyltetradecane, and 7-methylpentadecane in proportions similar to those found in gland extracts was the most attractive lure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-829
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Branched hydrocarbon
  • Invasive species
  • Leaf-miner
  • Poplar
  • Type III pheromone


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