Fine-scale features on bioreplicated decoys of the emerald ash borer provide necessary visual verisimilitude

Michael J. Domingue, Drew P. Pulsifer, Mahesh S. Narkhede, Leland G. Engel, Raúl J. Martín-Palma, Jayant Kumar, Thomas C. Baker, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is an invasive tree-killing pest in North America. Like other buprestid beetles, it has an iridescent coloring, produced by a periodically layered cuticle whose reflectance peaks at 540 nm wavelength. The males perform a visually mediated ritualistic mating flight directly onto females poised on sunlit leaves. We attempted to evoke this behavior using artificial visual decoys of three types. To fabricate decoys of the first type, a polymer sheet coated with a Bragg-stack reflector was loosely stamped by a bioreplicating die. For decoys of the second type, a polymer sheet coated with a Bragg-stack reflector was heavily stamped by the same die and then painted green. Every decoy of these two types had an underlying black absorber layer. Decoys of the third type were produced by a rapid prototyping machine and painted green. Fine-scale features were absent on the third type. Experiments were performed in an American ash forest infested with EAB, and a European oak forest home to a similar pest, the two-spotted oak borer (TSOB), Agrilus biguttatus. When pinned to leaves, dead EAB females, dead TSOB females, and bioreplicated decoys of both types often evoked the complete ritualized flight behavior. Males also initiated approaches to the rapidly prototyped decoy, but would divert elsewhere without making contact. The attraction of the bioreplicated decoys was also demonstrated by providing a high dc voltage across the decoys that stunned and killed approaching beetles. Thus, true bioreplication with fine-scale features is necessary to fully evoke ritualized visual responses in insects, and provides an opportunity for developing insecttrapping technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014
ISBN (Print)9780819499813
StatePublished - 2014
EventBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 10 2014Mar 12 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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