Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 7, pp 843–861 | Cite as

Identification of host plant attractants for the carrot fly,Psila rosae

  • P. M. Guerin
  • E. Städler
  • H. R. Buser


Cold-trapped carrot leaf volatiles were analyzed by gas chro-matography with an outlet splitter to a flame ionization detector and to a carrot fly antennogram preparation as the second detector (GC-EAD). Strongest EAD responses were elicited by products whose elution temperatures corresponded to the propenylbenzenes,trans-methylisoeugenol (3,4-dimethoxy-1-propenylbenzene) andtrans-asarone (2,4,5-trimethoxy-1-propenylbenzene) and, to a lesser extent, by-products matching the elution temperatures of the leaf aldehydes hexanal, (E)-2-hexenal, and heptanal, and of the terpenes linalool and caryophyllene. The identity of the propenylbenzenes was confirmed by gas chromatography-mass spectrom-etry. GC-EAD permitted accurate estimation of the olfactory thresholds; it was lowest fortrans-asarone at 500 attogram (5 × 10−16g)/ml of air passing over the antenna. Both the leaf aldehydes and propenylbenzenes were attractive when tested individually in the field with yellow sticky traps; fly captures were linearly related to the quantity of propenylbenzenes applied per trap. A combination oftrans-asarone and hexanal was more attractive than either compound singly, suggesting that the fly is adaptively equipped to respond to a mixture of compounds emanating from carrot foliage. In laboratory choice tests, flies were more attracted by vapors from intact carrot foliage than by that from a nonhost; leaf odor alone also mediated oviposition. We conclude that through the selectivity and sensitivity of its response to foliar volatiles, the carrot fly may achieve host-plant orientation and also at close range, in union with its response to less volatile leaf surface components, selection of an oviposition site.

Key words

Carrot fly Psila rosae Diptera Psilidae host odor leaf aldehydes propenylbenzenes trans-asarone trans-methylisoeugenol gas chromatography linked electroantennographic detection attractants field traps aldehydes aromatics alcohols terpenes 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Guerin
    • 1
  • E. Städler
    • 1
  • H. R. Buser
    • 1
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Research StationWädenswilSwitzerland

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