Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 753-769

Tasting green leaf volatiles by larvae and adults of Colorado potato beetle,Leptinotarsa decemlineata

  • B. K. MitchellAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, University of Alberta
  • , B. G. McCashinAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, University of Alberta

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Larvae and adults of the Colorado potato beetle,Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), are shown to have galeal gustatory cells that are highly sensitive to distillate of potato leaf extracts, (E)-2-hexen-1-ol, (E)-2-hexenal, and other saturated and unsaturated six-carbon alcohols. In larvae and adults, the sensory response patterns elicited by leaf homogenate, leaf distillate and a mixture of these two extracts differ in subtle ways. Beetle larvae feed most readily on Millipore disks treated with leaf homogenate and the mixture, but they did not feed on disks treated with leaf distillate. The differences in behavioral response and sensory input are used to derive a potential gustatory code that may stimulate different levels of feeding. This code may be disrupted by compounds present in nonhost leaves, thus leading to reduced feeding. Possible interactions of sapid leaf volatiles, amino acids, sugars, and potentially deterrent plant compounds are discussed.

Key Words

Contact chemoreception electrophysiology taste leaf alcohols galeal sensilla feeding behavior host selection gustatory coding Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata Coleoptera Chrysomelidae