Pine Emperor moths from KwaZulu-Natal use the same pheromone component previously isolated from Nudaurelia cytherea (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) from the Western Cape




pheromone attractant, plantation pest, pest management, (Z)-dec-5-en-1-yl-3-methylbutanoate


Nudaurelia spp. (Saturniidae) are sporadic pests of pine plantations in South Africa. Taxonomic uncertainty exists in South Africa with this group and represents an impediment to the development and implementation of pheromone-based management tactics. Populations from the Western Cape have been described as Nudaurelia cytherea while those from KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga have been described as Nudaurelia clarki. We compared Cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene sequences from moths from the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Mpumalanga regions. We also analysed female pheromone gland extracts with gas-chromatography electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) and gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for moths from KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. COI gene barcoding sequences were identical for moths from the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Mpumalanga regions providing preliminary evidence to suggest that these populations may be the same species. Based on the available literature, the morphology and origin of our samples suggests that pheromone analyses in this study were done on N. clarki. Male N. clarki antennae respond to two compounds in female extracts. One of these compounds was confirmed with a synthetic standard to be (Z)-dec-5-en-1-yl-3-methylbutanoate, the sex pheromone previously identified from N. cytherea. The identity of the second compound could not be confirmed. Both male and female antennae responded to four structurally related compounds in the synthetic pheromone standard. Field trials with custom-made traps confirmed attraction of N. clarki males to polydimethylsiloxane and polyisoprene lures loaded with synthetic (Z)-dec-5-en-1-yl-3-methylbutanoate.


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Author Biographies

Jeremy D. Allison, Natural Resources Canada-Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, 1219 Queen Street E, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 2E5, Canada

Prof. Jeremy Allison has been a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service Pest Ecology and Management team in Sault Ste. Marie since December 2011, and also has an adjunct Assistant Professor position at the University of Toronto.

Bernard Slippers, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002 Gauteng, South Africa

Prof. Bernard Slippers has been appointed as the new Director of FABI from 1 January 2018 and has a linked appointment as Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Pretoria.

Egmont R. Rohwer, Department of Chemistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002 Gauteng, South Africa

Prof. Egmont Rohwer is a Professor and Analytical Chemistry lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pretoria.

Patrick M. Mc Millan, Department of Chemistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002 Gauteng, South Africa

Mr. Patrick Mc Millan contributed as a Chemistry Honours student in this project and is currently pursuing his PhD in Chemical Bioprospecting at the Chemistry Department of the University of Pretoria.

Jan E. Bello, Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA, 92521

Dr. Jan Bello contributed to this research when he was a PhD student in the Department  of Entomology at the University of California. He is currently appointed as senior scientist and project lead at Provivi, Inc. in Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.

Marc C. Bouwer, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002 Gauteng, South Africa

Dr. Marc Bouwer contributed as primary supervisor of Miss Luki-Marie during her Masters in Chemistry, from which this manuscript arose. He was appointed as a Post Doctoral Researcher at FABI at the time, and has since been appointed as Researcher at Insect Science in Tzaneen, South Africa.


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Scheepers L-M, Allison JD, Slippers B, Rohwer ER, Mc Millan PM, Bello JE, et al. Pine Emperor moths from KwaZulu-Natal use the same pheromone component previously isolated from Nudaurelia cytherea (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) from the Western Cape. Afr. Entomol. [Internet]. 2023 Feb. 24 [cited 2024 May 27];31. Available from:




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