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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evolution of diabroticite rootworm beetle (Chrysomelidae) receptors for Cucurbita blossom volatiles.

The diabroticite rootworm beetles coevolved with plants of the family Cucurbitaceae as demonstrated by their feeding dependence on the tetracyclic triterpenoid cucurbitacins. These beetles also exhibit strong attraction to phenylpropanoid volatile components of Cucurbita blossoms. A mixture of 1,2,4-trimethoxybenzene, indole, and (E)-cinnamaldehyde, all blossom components, is highly attractive to the several species of diabroticite cucumber beetles and corn rootworms and is considered a simplified Cucurbita blossom kairomone odor. The evolutionary divergence in antennal receptor complementarity is best understood by comparing the species-specific responses of several Diabrotica to structural analogues of (E)-cinnamaldehyde, the major attractant for Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi. Cinnamyl alcohol is a strong attractant for Diabrotica barberi, and 4-methoxycinnamaldehyde is an exceptional attractant for Diabrotica virgifera. The very closely related species D. barberi and Diabrotica cristata are most strongly attracted to 4-methoxyphenethanol, which is unattractive to the other species studied.[1]


  1. Evolution of diabroticite rootworm beetle (Chrysomelidae) receptors for Cucurbita blossom volatiles. Metcalf, R.L., Lampman, R.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1991) [Pubmed]
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