Differences In Defensive Volatiles Of The Forked Fungus Beetle, Bolitotherus Cornutus, Living On Two Species Of Fungus

A. E. Holliday
Faye Marguerite Walker 09, Swarthmore College
E. D. Brodie III
Vincent A. Formica, Swarthmore College


Forked fungus beetles, Bolitotherus cornutus, feed, mate, and live on the brackets of several species of shelf fungus that grow on decaying logs. In response to the specific threat stimulus of mammalian breath, B. cornutus beetles produce a volatile defensive secretion. We tested beetles collected from different host fungi to determine whether defensive secretion blends varied with host type. Using solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we detected large amounts of the alkylated benzoquinones, methyl-p-benzoquinone (toluquinone) and ethyl-p-benzoquinone, and smaller quantities of p-benzoquinone, 3-methylphenol (m-cresol), 3-ethylphenol, 2-methylhydroquinone, and 2-ethylhydroquinone in secretions. Volatile composition did not differ between male and female beetles. Secretions did differ between beetles collected from two species of fungus, Ganoderma applanatum and Fomes fomentarius, with the relative amount of p-benzoquinone secreted being the most important factor. Other relationships among the volatile components are discussed.