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Electrophysiological Responses of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Workers to Essential Oils of Eucalyptus and its Chemical Composition

Batista-Pereira, Luciane G., Fernandes, João B., Silva, M. Fátima G. F. da, Vieira, Paulo C., Bueno, Odair C., Corrêa, Arlene G.
Zeitschrift für Naturforschung 2014 v.61 no.9-10 pp. 749-755
Atta sexdens rubropilosa, Eucalyptus, allelochemicals, antennae, chemical composition, defoliation, electroantennography, electrophysiology, essential oils, foraging, leaf-cutting ants, pests, receptors, terpenoids, volatile compounds, wood, worker ants
The leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, 1908 is the most harmful of the Eucalyptus pests, causing severe losses in wood production through defoliation. Various strategies have been tried and effort spent on the development of methods to control this pest, however no practical and environmentally acceptable one currently exists. In this work the chemical composition of the essential oil of seven Eucalyptus species was identified and the selectivity and sensitivity of antennal receptors of A. sexdens rubropilosa workers to the volatile compounds were determined using the electroantennographic technique (EAG and GC-EAD). Analysis by GC-EAD showed in E. cloesiana and E. maculata, respectively, seventeen and sixteen terpenes that elicited responses in ant workers’ antennae, indicating the potential role of the essential oils as allelochemicals that determine the choice of the foraging material.