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Host recognition by a polyphagous lepidopteran (Helicoverpa armigera): Primary host plants, host produced volatiles and neurosensory stimulation

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Rajapakse, C.N.K., Walter, G.H., Moore, C.J., Hull, C.D. and Cribb, B.W. (2006) Host recognition by a polyphagous lepidopteran (Helicoverpa armigera): Primary host plants, host produced volatiles and neurosensory stimulation. Physiological Entomology, 31 (3). pp. 270-277.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3032.2006.00517.x

Publisher URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/home


An important question in the host-finding behaviour of a polyphagous insect is whether the insect recognizes a suite or template of chemicals that are common to many plants? To answer this question, headspace volatiles of a subset of commonly used host plants (pigeon pea, tobacco, cotton and bean) and nonhost plants (lantana and oleander) of Helicoverpa armigera Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) are screened by gas chromatography (GC) linked to a mated female H. armigera electroantennograph (EAG). In the present study, pigeon pea is postulated to be a primary host plant of the insect, for comparison of the EAG responses across the test plants. EAG responses for pigeon pea volatiles are also compared between females of different physiological status (virgin and mated females) and the sexes. Eight electrophysiologically active compounds in pigeon pea headspace are identified in relatively high concentrations using GC linked to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). These comprised three green leaf volatiles [(2E)-hexenal, (3Z)-hexenylacetate and (3Z)-hexenyl-2-methylbutyrate] and five monoterpenes (α-pinene, β-myrcene, limonene, E-β-ocimene and linalool). Other tested host plants have a smaller subset of these electrophysiologically active compounds and even the nonhost plants contain some of these compounds, all at relatively lower concentrations than pigeon pea. The physiological status or sex of the moths has no effect on the responses for these identified compounds. The present study demonstrates how some host plants can be primary targets for moths that are searching for hosts whereas the other host plants are incidental or secondary targets.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© The Authors. © The Royal Entomological Society. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Keywords:GC-EAG; green leaf volatiles; Helicoverpa armigera; monoterpens; pigeon pea; sex.
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
Technology > Technology (General) > Chromatography
Plant pests and diseases
Live Archive:03 Feb 2009 06:05
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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