, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1765-1771

Response of the Seven-spot Ladybird to an Aphid Alarm Pheromone and an Alarm Pheromone Inhibitor is Mediated by Paired Olfactory Cells

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Electrophysiological responses of adult seven-spot ladybirds, Coccinella septempunctata, to (E)-β-farnesene, an aphid alarm pheromone, and (−)-β-caryophyllene, a plant-derived alarm pheromone inhibitor, were investigated by recording from single olfactory cells (neurons) on the antenna. Cells having high specificity for each of the two compounds were identified. Furthermore, these two cell types were frequently found in close proximity, with a larger amplitude consistently recorded for the cell responding specifically to (E)-β-farnesene. Preliminary behavioral studies in a two-way olfactometer showed that walking adults were significantly attracted to (E)-β-farnesene; this activity was inhibited with increasing proportions of (−)-β-caryophyllene. The possible ecological significance of colocation or pairing of olfactory cells for semiochemicals with different behavioral roles is discussed.