Attraction of pepper weevil to volatiles from damaged pepper plants

Publication Type:Journal Article
Authors:Addesso, KM, McAuslane, HJ, Alborn, HT
Journal:Entomologia Experimentalis Et Applicata
Date Published:Jan
:Anthonomus eugenii

Pioneer herbivorous insects may find their host plants through a combination of visual and constitutive host-plant volatile cues, but once a site has been colonized, feeding damage changes the quantity and quality of plant volatiles released, potentially altering the behavior of conspecifics who detect them. Previous work on the pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), demonstrated that this insect can detect and orient to constitutive host plant volatiles released from pepper (Capsicum annuum L. (Solanaceae)). Here we investigated the response of the weevil to whole plants and headspace collections of plants damaged by conspecifics. Mated weevils preferred damaged flowering as well as damaged fruiting plants over undamaged plants in a Y-tube olfactometer. They also preferred volatiles from flowering and fruiting plants with actively feeding weevils over plants with old feeding damage. Both sexes preferred volatiles from fruiting plants with actively feeding weevils over flowering plants with actively feeding weevils. Females preferred plants with 48 h of prior feeding damage over plants subjected to weevil feeding for only 1 h, whereas males showed no preference. When attraction to male- and female-inflicted feeding damage was compared in the Y-tube, males and females showed no significant preference. Wind tunnel plant assays and four-choice olfactometer assays using headspace volatiles confirmed the attraction of weevils to active feeding damage on fruiting plants. In a final four-choice olfactometer assay using headspace collections, we tested the attraction of mated males and virgin and mated females to male and female feeding damage. In these headspace volatile assays, mated females again showed no preference for male feeding; however, virgin females and males preferred the headspace volatiles of plants fed on by males, which contained the male aggregation pheromone in addition to plant volatiles. The potential for using plant volatile lures to improve pepper weevil monitoring and management is discussed.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith