Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 873–885 | Cite as

Synthetic blend of larval frass volatiles repel oviposition in the invasive box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis

  • Béla P. MolnárEmail author
  • Zoltán Tóth
  • Zsolt Kárpáti
Original Paper


Insects find their oviposition sites using visual, contact and olfactory cues. Volatile stimuli emitted by an intact or herbivore-occupied host plant, non-host plants or the herbivore itself can all influence the final decision of females concerning where to lay eggs. Volatile substances surrounding larval excreted pellets, i.e., frass of the invasive box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis Walker) were collected, and the physiological activity was investigated by coupled gas chromatographic–electroantennographic detection. Based on structural elucidation, two aromatic derivates and one terpene alcohol were identified to be physiologically active on the antennae of the adults: guaiacol, (±)-linalool and veratrol. For all compounds, antennal responses were found to be dose dependent with EAG amplitudes being the highest at the highest dose levels. Females were also more sensitive to all three compounds compared to males. Single sensillum recordings on mated female antennae revealed that these frass compounds triggered 22% of the tested olfactory sensory neurons housed in trichoid sensilla. Behavioral bioassays indicated that the blend of these compounds had an oviposition-repellent effect on conspecific females: individuals laid significantly fewer eggs on boxwood plants equipped with dispensers loaded with the synthetic blend compared to those treated with natural frass or the control plants. This difference likely originated from the measured rapid changes in the volatile profile of larval excrement when exposed to the air at room temperature. Our findings have the potential to unravel the complex ecology of this invasive moth species characterized by rapid range expansion and extensive damage in Europe.


Oviposition preference Frass volatiles Electrophysiology Single sensillum recording Invasive pest Crambidae 



We are grateful to Pál Vági (Department of Plant Anatomy, Faculty of Science, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary) for his contribution in taking scanning electron microscopy images and to Kistie B. Brunsell for the linguistic corrections.


This study was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA, PD1041310), the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (PCIG12-GA-2012-333980) and the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to ZK. During the study, ZT was supported by the ‘Lendület’ programme of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA, LP2012-24/2012) and a Hungarian Scientific Research Fund grant (OTKA, PD108938) and Postdoctoral Research Program of HAS (Grant No. SZ-029/2013).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human and animals

The invertebrate insect species (box tree moth, C. perspectalis) used in the present study has a horticultural pest status and is not protected in Hungary. Therefore, individuals can be freely collected and used in laboratory experiments without permit or approval from the institutional ethics committee or national authorities under Hungarian law (348/2006, paragraph 10/3). Collecting sites were either owned by the research institute (Plant Protection Institute, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest) or were publicly accessible; therefore, no permit was needed to access them. During experimentation, we avoided causing any unnecessary harm, suffering or distress to the study subjects. The insect collection was exclusively focused on the experimental species and did not involve endangered or protected species.

Informed consent

Informed consent does not apply to these studies.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1028 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 79 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 1195 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Béla P. Molnár
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zoltán Tóth
    • 2
  • Zsolt Kárpáti
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology Department, Plant Protection Institute, Centre for Agricultural ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Lendület Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, Plant Protection InstituteHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary

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