Diel periodicity of pheromone release by females of Planococcus citri and Planococcus ficus and the temporal flight activity of their conspecific males
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The diel periodicity of sex pheromone release was monitored in two mealybug species, Planococcus citri and Planococcus ficus (Hemiptera; Pseudococcidae), using sequential SPME/GCMS analysis. A maximal release of 2 ng/h pheromone by 9–12-day-old P. citri females occurred 1–2 h before the beginning of photophase. The highest release of pheromone by P. ficus females was 1–2 ng/2 h of 10–20-day-old females, approximately 2 h after the beginning of photophase. Mating resulted in termination of the pheromone release in both mealybug species. The temporal flight activity of the males was monitored in rearing chambers using pheromone baited delta traps. Males of both P. citri and P. ficus displayed the same flight pattern and began flying at 06:00 hours when the light was turned on, reaching a peak during the first and second hour of the photophase. Our results suggest that other biparental mealybug species display also diel periodicities of maximal pheromone release and response. Direct evaluation of the diel periodicity of the pheromone release by the automatic sequential analysis is convenient and will be very helpful in optimizing the airborne collection and identification of other unknown mealybug pheromones and to study the calling behavior of females. Considering this behavior pattern may help to develop more effective pheromone-based management strategies against mealybugs.
KeywordsSequential SPME/GCMS analysis Planococcus citri Planococcus ficus Diel pheromone release Diurnal male flight Mealybugs
We thank Omer Golan, KKL-JNF Forestry Department, for technical help and Eyal Erel of BIOBEE for supplying the P. citri colonies.
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