Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1407–1427

Identification of olfactory cues used in host-plant finding by diamondback moth,Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)

  • Kenneth A. Pivnick
  • Blair J. Jarvis
  • George P. Slater

DOI: 10.1007/BF02059870

Cite this article as:
Pivnick, K.A., Jarvis, B.J. & Slater, G.P. J Chem Ecol (1994) 20: 1407. doi:10.1007/BF02059870


Olfactory attraction of female diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella) to odors of intact and homogenized host plants, as well as individual compounds characteristic of host plants, were investigated by behavioral and electrophysiological methods. Moths were attracted to odors ofBrassica juncea andB. napus seedlings in a Y-tube bioassay. Solvent fractions of homogenizedB. juncea leaves were attractive to moths whether or not isothiocyanates (IC) were present. Moths were attracted in Y-tube bioassays and to field traps baited with individual ICs. Volatiles fromB. juncea andB. napus elicited an electroantennogram (EAG) response and were attractive in the Y-tube bioassay. Allyl IC was shown to be the attractive component in homogenized plant volatiles but was found to be virtually absent from intact plant volatiles. Gas chromatographic fractionation of intact plant volatiles revealed a terpene-containing fraction to be most attractive to the moths. We were unable to isolate individual attractive compounds from this fraction. Our results suggest that certain elements of this fraction, possibly in combination, are important olfactory cues for host-plant finding by the diamondback moth with mustard oils playing an important and possibly synergistic role, particularly when plants are damaged.

Key Words

Plutella xylostella Lepidoptera Plutellidae Brassica host plant attraction EAG bioassay host plant location plant volatiles mustard oils isothiocyanates 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Pivnick
    • 1
  • Blair J. Jarvis
    • 2
  • George P. Slater
    • 2
  1. 1.Agriculture Canada, Research StationSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Plant Biotechnology InstituteNational Research CouncilSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.University of Toronto Sioux Lookout Program, Box 1500 Zone HospitalSioux LookoutCanada

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