Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 778–786 | Cite as

Sex Pheromone of the Spanish Population of the Beet Armyworm Spodoptera exigua



The pheromone composition of the Spanish population of the beet armyworm (BAW), Spodoptera exigua (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was identified. Analysis of female gland extracts showed the presence of compounds Z9,E12–14:Ac (1), Z9–14:Ac (2), Z11–16:Ac (3), Z9,E12–14:OH (4), Z9–14:OH (5), and Z11–16:OH (6) in a ratio of 26:11:1:22:31:9. The amount of compound per gland ranged from 2.08 ng for 5 to 0.09 ng for 3. However, analysis of female volatiles by SPME revealed only the presence of compounds, 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a 34:40:4:22 ratio. In electroantennogram assays, compound 1 elicited the highest response, and the C14 acetates evoked higher electrophysiological responses than the corresponding alcohols or C16 isomers. In a wind tunnel, no behavioral difference was observed between formulations based on the gland extracts and female volatiles. In both cases, males responded as when virgin females were used as the attractant source. Compound 1 alone elicited upwind flight by males, but required the presence of compound 5 in a 80:20 to 40:60 ratio for full activity. Ternary mixtures of 1, 5 and the minor components did not improve the performance of the 1+5 blend in a 60:40 ratio. In the field, the mixture 1+5+3 in a 56:37:7 ratio was the most attractive formulation, and is expected to be useful in future pest control strategies.

Key Words

Beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua Pest control Field tests Behavior Pheromone composition Lepidoptera Noctuidae 



We gratefully acknowledge T. Cabello (University of Almería) for providing us with BAW larvae for rearing and useful advice, P. Fuchs (Kenogard, S.A.) for conducting the field tests, and SEDQ S.A. for providing us with compounds 3–6. We are also indebted to MICINN for an I3P fellowship to P. Acín and a Ramón y Cajal contract to C.Q. Financial support was provided by CICYT (project AGL 2006-13489-C02-01/AGR).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular ModellingIQAC-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic Chemistry, Unity Associated to CSIC, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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