Electroantennographic and Behavioral Responses of the Sphinx Moth Manduca sexta to Host Plant Headspace Volatiles
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- Fraser, A.M., Mechaber, W.L. & Hildebrand, J.G. J Chem Ecol (2003) 29: 1813. doi:10.1023/A:1024898127549
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Coupled gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) using antennae of adult female Manduca sexta was employed to screen for olfactory stimulants present in headspace collections from four species of larval host plants belonging to two families: Solanaceae—Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato), Capiscum annuum (bell pepper), and Datura wrightii; and Martyniaceae—Proboscidea parviflora. Headspace volatiles were collected from undamaged foliage of potted, living plants. GC–EAD revealed 23 EAD-active compounds, of which 15 were identified by GC-mass spectrometry. Identified compounds included aliphatic, aromatic, and terpenoid compounds bearing a range of functional groups. Nine EAD-active compounds were common to all four host plant species: (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, nonanal, decanal, phenylacetaldehyde, methyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, geranyl acetone, (E)-nerolidol, and one unidentified compound. Behavioral responses of female moths to an eight-component synthetic blend of selected tomato headspace volatiles were tested in a laboratory wind tunnel. Females were attracted to the blend. A comparison of responses from antennae of males and females to bell pepper headspace volatiles revealed that males responded to the same suite of volatiles as females, except for (Z)-3-hexenyl benzoate. EAD responses of males also were lower for (Z)- and (E)-nerolidol and one unidentified compound. Electroantennogram EAG dose–response curves for the 15 identified EAD-active volatiles were recorded. At the higher test doses (10–100 μg), female antennae yielded larger EAG responses to terpenoids and to aliphatic and aromatic esters. Male antennae did respond to the higher doses of (Z)-3-hexenyl benzoate, indicating that they can detect this compound. On the basis of ubiquity of the EAD-active volatiles identified to date in host plant headspace collections, we suggest that M. sexta uses a suite of volatiles to locate and identify appropriate host plants.