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Olfactometer Responses of Plum Curculio Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) to Host Plant Volatiles, Synthetic Grandisoic Acid, and Live Conspecifics

Virginia Hock, Gérald Chouinard, Éric Lucas, Daniel Cormier, Tracy Leskey, Aijun Zhang
Journal of insect behavior 2017 v.30 no.5 pp. 475-494
Conotrachelus nenuphar, aggregation pheromones, apples, benzaldehyde, blueberries, fruits, host plants, insect behavior, males, monitoring, multivoltine habit, odors, olfactometers, optical isomers, pests, plums, starvation, synthetic pheromones, univoltine habit, virgin females, volatile compounds
The plum curculio Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is a major pest of pome and stone fruit, but will also attack other fruits. Males produce the aggregation pheromone grandisoic acid; emitting only the (+)-enantiomer which is attractive to both sexes of the univoltine and multivoltine strains, while the synthetic racemic mixture contains optical isomers with equal amounts of (+)- and (−)-enantiomers. Synergy between odours can increase trap captures and improve monitoring techniques, therefore tests were performed in a dual-choice olfactometer with odours attractive to plum curculios according to literature to determine 1) under what physiological conditions (mating status, age, starvation period) these odours are attractive or repulsive, 2) if the (+)-enantiomer or the odour of live males synergizes with host plant volatiles, and 3) if there is a difference in response between plum curculio strains. Females were exposed to: benzaldehyde; trans-2-hexenal; apples; extracts of: plums, apples, blueberries; grandisoic acid; and live males. Plum essence was found to be the most attractive host-plant odour for both immature and mature virgin females, and immature whole apples were attractive to starved females, while trans-2-hexenal, McIntosh apple essence, benzaldehyde along with the combination of benzaldehyde and plume essence was found to be repulsive. Starvation, age, and mated status all influence response to odours. No synergistic or additive affects were observed between any of the odour combinations tested, including the combination of both the natural and synthetic pheromone and plum essence or apples.