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Male-biased aggregations of sugar beet root maggot, Tetanops myopaeformis (Röder) (Diptera: Ulidiidae), flies were observed on utility poles near sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L. [Chenopodiaceae]) fields in southern Idaho; this contrasts with the approximately equal sex ratio typically observed within fields. Peak observation of mating pairs coincided with peak diurnal abundance of flies. Volatiles released by individual male and female flies were sampled from 08:00 to 24:00 hours in the laboratory using solid-phase microextraction and analyzed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Eleven compounds were uniquely detected from males. Three of these compounds (2-undecanol, 2-decanol, and sec-nonyl acetate) were detected in greater quantities during 12:00-24:00 hours than during 08:00-12:00 hours. The remaining eight compounds uniquely detected from males did not exhibit temporal trends in release. Both sexes produced 2-nonanol, but males produced substantially higher (ca. 80-fold) concentrations of this compound than females, again peaking after 12:00 hours. The temporal synchrony among male aggregation behavior, peak mating rates, and release of certain volatile compounds by males suggest that T. myopaeformis flies exhibit lekking behavior and produce an associated pheromone. Field assays using synthetic blends of the putative aggregation pheromone showed evidence of attraction in both females and males.
PMID: 28423428 [PubMed - in process]