The gypsy moth Lymantria dispar L. is a widespread pest that causes economic damage to cork oak forests. Females produce the sex pheromone (+)-(7R,8S)-epoxy-2-methyloctadecane, known as (+)-disparlure [(+)D], for long-distance attraction of conspecific males. A (+)D analogue, 2-decyl-1-oxaspiro[2.2]pentane (OXP-01), neither stimulating nor attractive by itself, causes short-time inhibition of male response in a 1:1 blend with (+)D. The authors investigated whether and how the biological activity of the natural pheromone is affected by OXP-01 on a long-time basis (up to 16 days), also by looking at possible physicochemical reciprocal interactions.
Blending of (+)D with OXP-01 decreased, under low evaporation rate, the pheromone effectiveness, as assessed by electroantennogram recordings. In male trappings, within the first 24 h, OXP-01 decreased and later enhanced the blend attractiveness, but only under high evaporation rate. Gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy indicates that quantitative retrieval of (+)D from blend cartridges is higher than for pure pheromone, and nuclear magnetic resonance measurements show that OXP-01 produces, possibly by Van der Waals interactions, a bimolecular entity with pheromone causing retention and lengthening of its attractiveness over time.
The biological and physicochemical interactions between (+)D and OXP-01 may provide valuable information for the optimisation of pheromone-based control strategies for gypsy moths. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry