Short Communication


, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 253-259

First online:

Volatile emissions from the flea beetle Altica litigata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) associated with invasive Ludwigia hexapetala

  • Raymond I. CarruthersAffiliated withUSDA-ARS Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research
  • , Marie K. FrancAffiliated withUSDA-ARS Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research
  • , Wai S. GeeAffiliated withUSDA-ARS Plant Mycotoxin Research
  • , Allard A. CosséAffiliated withUSDA-ARS Crop Bioprotection Research
  • , Brenda J. GrewellAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Sciences, USDA-ARS Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research, Mail Stop 4, University of California
  • , John J. BeckAffiliated withUSDA-ARS Plant Mycotoxin Research Email author 

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The flea beetle Altica litigata (Chrysomelidae) is an insect herbivore to plants within the families Lythraceae and Onagraceae, including ornamentals such as crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia spp. This insect is important both as a pest species and as a naturally occurring biological control agent due to its aggregate feeding behavior, which typically results in severe defoliation of the host plant. Despite the negative economic impact to ornamentals and contrary benefits as a biological control agent, there are few reports on the semiochemical communication of this family of insects. Uruguayan primrose-willow (Ludwigia hexapetala) is an invasive aquatic weed in California and serves as a host to A. litigata. To better characterize this association, the volatile emissions of A. litigata were collected while the flea beetles were: in containers by themselves, in containers with L. hexapetala leaves, in situ on L. hexapetala leaves in a growth chamber, and in situ on L. hexapetala leaves in the field. For comparison, the volatile emissions of A. litigata associated with two subspecies of creeping water primrose (L. peploides) were also evaluated. Two himachalene-type sesquiterpenes, showing the same carbon skeleton as compounds previously reported from Aphthona flava and Epitrix fuscula, were detected as volatiles from A. litigata.


Altica litigata Coleoptera Flea beetle Himachalene-type sesquiterpenes Ludwigia Primrose-willow Water primrose