Similarities in pheromonal communication of flea beetles Phyllotreta cruciferae Goeze and Ph. vittula Redtenbacher (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae)


Dr. Miklós Tóth (corresponding author), Plant Protection Institute, HAS, Budapest, Pf. 102, H-1525, Hungary. E-mail:


Remarkable similarities have been found in the pheromonal communication of Phyllotreta vittula Redtenbacher and of Ph. cruciferae Goeze (European population) (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). In previously published European field tests with Ph. cruciferae, only the major male-produced sesquiterpene identified from North American Ph. cruciferae [compound A, (6R,7S)-2,2,6,10-tetramethylbicyclo[5.4.0]undeca-1(11),9-diene] was behaviourally active; unexpectedly, the European species Ph. vittula also responded in these tests and in the same way. In the present study, both the European population of Ph. cruciferae and Ph. vittula were shown to produce the same blend of compounds found in North American Ph. cruciferae and in similar proportions. Compound A is concluded to be a pheromone component for Ph. vittula as well as for Ph. cruciferae. In previously published tests with host compounds, Ph. vittula preferred 3-butenyl isothiocyanate to allyl isothiocyante whereas the reverse was true for Ph. cruciferae. It was also learned earlier that compound A enhanced the response of both species toward allyl isothiocyanate. The present study further explored interactions between compound A and the two isothiocyanates. Thus, the highest catches of Ph. vittula were recorded in traps with the combination of racemic compound A with 3-butenyl isothiocyanate, while highest Ph. cruciferae catches (and of Ph. nigripes Fabr.) were observed in traps with the combination of compound A with allyl isothiocyanate. Therefore, with the optimal combination of pheromonal and host-derived stimuli, more specific communication channels may exist for the different Phyllotreta spp. Both Ph. cruciferae and Ph. vittula rank among the most important pest flea beetles in Europe.