Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 9, pp 1169–1181 | Cite as

Identification of Sex Pheromone Components of Blueberry Spanworm Itame argillacearia (Lepidoptera: Geometridae)

  • E. C. A. De Silva
  • P. J. Silk
  • P. Mayo
  • N. K. Hillier
  • D. Magee
  • G. C. Cutler


Blueberry spanworm, Itame argillacearia (Packard), is an important defoliator of lowbush (syn. ‘wild’) blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton, in north-eastern North America. The goal of the present study was to identify the female I. argillacearia sex pheromone, which could be used in traps for monitoring or mass-trapping this pest. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and electroantennogram (EAG) recordings of sex pheromone gland extracts, in combination with chemical synthesis, a Y-tube olfactometer study and field experiments confirmed (2R,3S)-2-ethyl-3-((Z,Z)-tridecadi-2,5-enyl) oxirane (hereafter (Z,Z)-(3R,4S)-3,4-epoxy-6,9-heptadecadiene) and (Z,Z,Z)-3,6,9-heptadecatriene as female-produced sex pheromone components. (Z,Z)-(3R,4S)-3,4-Epoxy-6,9-heptadecadiene elicited a response from male I. argillacearia antennae during EAG recording, and in the Y-tube olfactometer tests males did not discriminate between a live female and (Z,Z)-(3R,4S)-3,4-epoxy-6,9-heptadecadiene. Field-trapping experiments showed that a blend of (Z,Z)-(3R,4S)-3,4-epoxy-6,9-heptadecadiene and (Z,Z,Z)-3,6,9-heptadecatriene was more attractive to male moths than (Z,Z)-(3R,4S)-3,4-epoxy-6,9-heptadecadiene alone.


Itame argillacearia Ennominae Sex pheromones Vaccinium angustifolium (2R,3S)-2-ethyl-3-((Z,Z)-tridecadi-2,5-enyl) oxirane (Z,Z,Z)-3,6,9-heptadecatriene 



Financial support for this research was through a Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture Technology Development grant, in partnership with the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia, and through an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – Atlantic Innovation Fund. We thank Allysa Brewer and Jessica McConaghy for synthetic chemistry support. We also thank J. Sproule, K. Ramanaidu, M. M. Ayyanath and several summer research interns for technical assistance, Bragg Lumber Co. for granting access to their blueberry fields, and two anonymous reviewers and Dr. David Hall for their valuable comments on the manuscript. All experiments reported here comply with the laws of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. C. A. De Silva
    • 1
  • P. J. Silk
    • 2
  • P. Mayo
    • 2
  • N. K. Hillier
    • 3
  • D. Magee
    • 4
  • G. C. Cutler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureDalhousie UniversityTruroCanada
  2. 2.Natural Resources CanadaCanadian Forest Service-Atlantic Forestry CentreFrederictonCanada
  3. 3.Department of BiologyAcadia UniversityWolfvilleCanada
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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