Sex-related differences in the tolerance of Oriental fruit moth (Grapholita molesta) to organophosphate insecticides

Frédérique M. De Lame, Jeon J. Hong, Peter W. Shearer, Lena B. Brattsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In vivo toxicity assays have shown that organophosphate insecticides are less toxic to male than to female Oriental fruit moths Grapholita molesta. While male moths have higher levels of acetylcholinesterase and general esterase activities, female moth acetylcholinesterase enzymes are less sensitive to aromatic and aliphatic organophosphates than male enzymes. Elevated esterase and acetylcholinesterase activities in male moths explain their greater tolerance to aromatic and aliphatic organophosphates. Male and female acetylcholinesterase enzymes are equally tolerant to heteroaromatic organophosphates, the most widely used of this class of insecticides in G molesta control. This observation, in contrast to the greater sensitivity of male acetylcholinesterases to aromatic and aliphatic organophosphates, shows the potential for the evolution of insensitive target sites in male moths, which would increase male G molesta tolerance to these insecticides. Significant sex-linked differences in insecticide tolerance have not been reported previously in lepidopterans. The practical implications of the observed differences in tolerance in male and female G molesta question the practice of using pheromone traps to monitor populations of these moths in orchards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-832
Number of pages6
JournalPest management science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


  • Acetylcholinesterases
  • General esterases
  • Grapholita molesta
  • Organophosphate
  • Oriental fruit moth
  • Sex-linked tolerance


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