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Laboratory Bioassays of Vegetable Oils as Kairomonal Phagostimulants for Grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae)

Latchininsky, Alexandre V., Schell, Scott P., Lockwood, Jeffrey A.
Journal of chemical ecology 2007 v.33 no.10 pp. 1856-1866
grasshoppers, Melanoplus sanguinipes, kairomones, phagostimulants, insect attractants, plant fats and oils, vegetable oil, fatty acid composition, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, feeding behavior, bioassays
Vegetable oils have kairomonal attractant properties to grasshoppers primarily due to the presence of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids. These fatty acids are dietary essentials for grasshoppers and, once volatilized, can be detected by the insects' olfactory receptors. A laboratory bioassay method has been developed to identify vegetable oils that have fatty acid profiles similar to grasshoppers and that induce grasshopper attraction and feeding. Such oils could be useful kairomonal adjuvants and/or carriers for acridicide formulations. Three sets of laboratory bioassays demonstrated that the addition of a standard aliquot of different vegetable oils resulted in varying degrees of grasshopper feeding on otherwise neutral substrates. Addition of olive oil stimulated the greatest feeding in all three sets of assays, regardless of the age of the tested insects. Furthermore, addition of canola or flax oils markedly enhanced grasshopper feeding. These three oils--i.e., olive, canola, and flax oil--proved to be the best performing grasshopper stimulants. A second group of oils included rapeseed-flax mix and rapeseed oils; however, their performance was not as consistent as oils in the first group--especially with regard to nymphal feeding. A third group of oils consisted of soybean, corn, peanut, and sunflower oil. Theoretical expectations regarding these oils varied wildly, suggesting that the results of a single bioassay should be cautiously interpreted as being negative.