Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1027-1036

First online:

Chemiotropic behavior of female olive fly (Bactrocera oleae GMEL.) onOlea europaea L

  • Maria Luisa ScarpatiAffiliated withDipartimento di Chimica, University “La Sapienza”
  • , Roberto Lo ScalzoAffiliated withDipartimento di Chimica, University “La Sapienza”
  • , Giovanni VitaAffiliated withENEA Biotechnologies Project, Casaccia
  • , Augusto GambacortaAffiliated withDipartimento Discipline Scientifiche, University “Roma Tre”

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


An interpretation is given of a number of observations on the chemiotropic behavior ofBactrocera oleae in connection with olive maceration water and the fly's return to the olive groves after the first summer rains. To this end, the headspace of both maceration water and leaf leaching water, simulating rainfall, were examined. In both cases, the presence of ammonia, which is generally known to attract fruit flies (Diptera, Tephritidae), was detected and, for the first time, in addition to other compounds that are inert for the fly, the presence of styrene was also detected. This aromatic hydrocarbon was found to be a strong attractant. It is shown that both ammonia and styrene are products of the metabolism of microbial flora present on the olive and leaf surface.

Key Words

Olea europaea attractants Bactrocera oleae Diptera Tephritidae olive maceration water olive leaf leachate microbial metabolites styrene ammonia