, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 803-827

Effects of plant odor on oviposition by the black swallowtail butterfly,Papilio polyxenes (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)

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Abstract

Black swallowtail females laid more eggs on plant models treated with contact stimulants and volatiles from carrot leaves than on models treated only with contact stimulants. The volatiles enhanced landing rates and females alighted more frequently on artificial leaves treated with host volatiles than on adjacent control leaves. Volatiles from cabbage, a nonhost, inhibited landing rates on artificial leaves treated with carrot contact stimulants. Examination of antennae revealed two major types of sensilla, believed to be olfactory in function. Electroantennogram preparations responded more strongly to carrot volatiles than to cabbage volatiles and several shared responses at particular retention times to carrot volatile components eluting from a gas chromatograph. Our results are consistent with a long-standing hypothesis that behavioral responses to essential oil components characteristic of the larval food plants have facilitated host shifts in the genus Papilio.