Bioactive Male-Produced Volatiles from Anastrepha obliqua and their Role in Attraction of Conspecific Females


The study of insect semiochemicals, especially pheromones, is of fundamental importance for the development of strategies for controlling agricultural pests. In this study, volatile compounds involved in the communication between males and females of the fruit fly, Anastrepha obliqua (Diptera: Tephritidae), for mating purposes were characterized to develop attractant formulations for females of this species. Extracts containing volatile compounds released by males of A. obliqua were obtained by the dynamic headspace technique and analyzed by gas chromatography coupled with an electroantennographic detector (GC-EAD) and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Twenty-one volatile compounds were identified in the aeration extracts of males. Five of them caused EAD responses from the antennae of females: 1-heptanol, linalool, (Z)-3-nonen-1-ol, (E,Z)-3,6-nonadien-1-ol, and (Z,E)-α-farnesene. Six synthetic mixtures of these compounds, including the five-component blend and all possible four-component blends, were formulated in a biopolymer and used in behavioral bioassays conducted in the laboratory arena with conspecific virgin females. One blend of 1-heptanol, linalool, (Z)-3-nonen-1-ol, and (Z,E)-α-farnesene attracted more females than the collection of volatiles from virgin males used as control. The other mixtures were as attractive to A. obliqua females as the control treatment. This study indicates potential for use of these compounds in monitoring and control strategies for this pest.

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The authors would like to thank the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the financial support given to DMAFN (grant numbers: 422233/2018-8, 303404/2019-1; Ph.D scholarships given to NCA, LLF and RFT and a research fellowships given to RRN and FCAG (grant numbers: 304038/2017-2 and 308858/2019-0 and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for a MSc scholarship granted to CSS. A patent application has been filed for this discovery.


This study was supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (URL: (grant numbers: 304038/2017–2; 422233/2018–8 e 303404/2019–1). NCA, LLF, RFT received fellowships from Conselho Nacional de desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) during their Ph.D and CSS was a recipient of a scholarship from Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) ( during her Ms.C. RRN. FCAG are CNPq fellows. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Conceived and designed the experiments: Ruth Rufino do Nascimento, Adriana de Lima Mendonça.

Performed the experiments: Nathaly Costa de Aquino, Luana Lima Ferreira, Raphael de Farias Tavares. Claudinete dos Santos Silva.

Analyzed the data: Nathaly Costa de Aquino, Raphael de Farias Tavares, Paulo Milet-Pinheiro.

Contributed reagents/materials/analytical tools: Fabiane Caxico de Abreu Galdino, Paulo Milet-Pinheiro, Daniela Maria do Amaral F. Navarro, Iara Sordi Joachim-Bravo.

Wrote, review and edited the paper: Ruth Rufino do Nascimento, Nathaly Costa de Aquino, Paulo Milet-Pinheiro, Iara Sordi Joachim-Bravo, Raphael de Farias Tavares.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ruth R. Do Nascimento.

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De Aquino, N.C., Ferreira, L.L., Tavares, R. et al. Bioactive Male-Produced Volatiles from Anastrepha obliqua and their Role in Attraction of Conspecific Females. J Chem Ecol 47, 167–174 (2021).

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  • Fruit flies
  • Diptera
  • Tephritidae
  • Semiochemicals
  • Pheromones
  • Electroantennography
  • Attractant formulations