Antennal Responses of Four Species of Tree-killing Bark Beetles (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) to Volatiles Collected from Beetles, and Their Host and Nonhost Conifers

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Host selection in tree-killing bark beetles (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) is mediated by a complex of semiochemical cues. Using gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) and GC-mass spectrometric analyses, we conducted a comparative study of the electrophysiological responses of four species of tree-killing bark beetles, the Douglas-fir beetle, Dendroctonus pseudotsugae, Hopkins, the mountain pine beetle, D. ponderosae Hopkins, the spruce beetle, D. rufipennis Kirby, and the western balsam bark beetle, Dryocoetes confusus Swaine, to volatiles captured by aeration of 1) bole and foliage of four sympatric species of conifers, Douglas-fir,Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm., interior spruce, Picea engelmannii x glauca, and interior fir, Abies lasiocarpa x bifolia, and 2) con- and heterospecific beetles at three stages of attack. We identified 13 monoterpenes in the conifers and nine compounds in the volatiles of beetles that elicited antennal responses. There was no qualitative difference in the terpene constitution of the four species of conifers and very little difference across beetle species in their antennal response to compounds from conifers or beetles. The lack of species-specific major or minor components in conifers suggests that beetles would need to detect differences in the ratios of different compounds in conifers to discriminate among them. Attraction to hosts and avoidance of nonhost conifers may be accentuated by perception of compounds emitted by con- and heterospecific beetles, respectively. The 22 compounds identified are candidate semiochemicals with potential behavioural roles in host location and discrimination.