Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 169–194 | Cite as

Identification, Synthesis, and Field Testing of the Sex Pheromone of the Citrus Leafminer, Phyllocnistis citrella

  • Jardel A. Moreira
  • J. Steven McElfresh
  • Jocelyn G. MillarEmail author


The citrus leafminer is an important vector of citrus canker in many of the major citrus production areas of the world. (7Z,11Z)-Hexadecadienal was reported as a sex attractant for this insect in the 1980s, based on trap catches during pheromone screening trials in Japan. However, attempts to reproduce this work in other areas of the world have not been successful. We report here that (7Z,11Z)-hexadecadienal is only one component of the pheromone, with the other critical component being the analogous trienal, (7Z,11Z,13E)-hexadecatrienal. Both compounds were identified in the effluvia from live female moths by coupled gas chromatography (GC)-electroantennography using nonpolar and polar GC columns, and the identifications were confirmed by comparisons of mass spectra with those of authentic standards. Stereoisomers of the two compounds, and a number of analogs, were synthesized to confirm the identifications. In field trials, neither compound alone was attractive to male moths, but blends of the two were highly attractive, with thousands of insects being caught per trial. Addition of the isomeric (7Z,11Z,13Z)-hexadecatrienal inhibited attraction to the two-component blend.

Key Words

Sex pheromone (7Z,11Z)-hexadecadienal (7Z,11Z,13E)-hexadecatrienal 5,7,11-hexadecatrienal citrus leafminer (7Z,11Z,13Z)-hexadecatrienal 



We thank Mariana Krugner for technical assistance, and the Citrus Research Board of California for financial support for this project.

Supplementary material

NY00009359_ESM.pdf (196 kb)
(196 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jardel A. Moreira
    • 1
  • J. Steven McElfresh
    • 1
  • Jocelyn G. Millar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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