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  • Author or Editor: Lohonyai Zsófia x
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Several synthetic floral lures have been described for the cetoniin scarabs Cetonia aurata aurata L. and Potosia cuprea Fabr. (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae), exploiting their olfaction-guided behavioural preference for a wide range of flower volatiles.

A ternary mixture of 3-methyl eugenol, 1-phenylethanol and (E)-anethol has previously been described as a powerful synthetic floral attractant for both C. a. aurata and P. cuprea. The first objective of the present research was to test whether isoeugenol and eugenol, with a very similar molecular structure to 3-methyl eugenol, can substitute 3-methyl eugenol in the ternary blend. All baited traps caught significantly more of both species than unbaited control traps, however, traps containing 3-methyl eugenol caught significantly more than those with either isoeugenol or eugenol. This indicates a fine tuning in behavioural response to 3-methyl eugenol.

The second objective was to devise simpler attractant combinations for C. a. aurata and P. cuprea, based on previous field studies with synthetic floral compounds. Both C. a. aurata and P. cuprea showed strong attraction to the combination of 2-phenylethanol and 4-methoxyphenethyl alcohol, while the combination of 2-phenylethanol and 1,2,4-trimethoxybenzene resulted in medium-size catches, however, mostly catching P. cuprea. This level of selectivity may lead to the development of more selective lures for P. cuprea, and provide a better understanding of the feeding-related olfactory ecology of the two important pest chafer species.

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When applied in funnel traps, the known three-component floral lure of Cetonia a. aurata and Potosia cuprea attracts large numbers of beetles. Further increasing the attractive power of these traps offers the opportunity to develop a more potent mass-trapping tool that directly reduces local scarab populations and, hence, fruit damage. The current study was initiated by the observation of adult beetles aggregating and feeding in large numbers on ripening fruit, accompanied by the presence of fermentation volatiles detectable by the human nose. Addition of apple pieces to the ternary C. aurata aurata / P. cuprea lure resulted in increased catches, but only in traps where the apple fermented as a result of beetle feeding. Volatile extracts collected from fermenting apple were subjected to GC-EAG, and bioactive peaks were identified as 1-hexanol, acetic acid, n-butyric acid, isovaleric acid, hexanoic acid and 3-methylphenol by GC-MS and GC peak enhancement. In preliminary field trials, a synthetic mixture of all identified compounds reduced activity of the ternary lure, indicating that some were inhibitory. As certain individual compounds or their particular combinations enhanced activity of the ternary lure only numerically, further experiments are discussed to optimize a synergistic blend of fruit fermentation and/or beetle-derived volatiles.

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