Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Electrophysiological and behavioural responses of the Eucalyptus weevil, Gonipterus platensis, to host plant volatiles

  • Sofia BrancoEmail author
  • Eduardo P. Mateus
  • Marco D. R. Gomes da Silva
  • Davide Mendes
  • Sílvia Rocha
  • Zvi Mendel
  • Stefan Schütz
  • Maria Rosa Paiva
Original Paper


Gonipterus spp. weevils (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) are pests of Eucalyptus stands in many world regions. Here, we determined the host plant volatiles that might mediate host selection behaviour in G. platensis. Eucalyptus globulus volatile organic compounds were collected by headspace solid-phase microextraction, monolithic material sorption extraction and simultaneous distillation–extraction. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry/electroantennographic detection (GC–MS/EAD) was used to determine which compounds triggered antennal responses in the insect. Further chemical analysis of the extracted compounds was conducted using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS). Gonipterus platensis antennal response was elicited by 51 host plant volatiles and was subsequently confirmed for 33 of these compounds using commercial standards. The behavioural response of G. platensis to individual compounds was assessed in a two-arm olfactometer with ten parallel walking chambers, coupled to video tracking and data analysis software. Weevils of known age, sex and mating status were tested. We identified eight kairomones and two allomones. The behavioural responses differed depending on insect sex and mating status. Three compounds attracted virgin females or both sexes: camphene, (+)-α-pinene and 2-phenylethanol and are potential candidates for application in integrated pest management approaches. Furthermore, the two allomones may have potential use for developing push–pull strategies.


Kairomones Allomones Eucalyptus globulus Gonipterus platensis Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry/electroantennographic detection 



Sofia Branco received a Ph.D. scholarship from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)—SFRH/BD/84412/2012. We would like to thank Ulrike Eisenwiener, Dr. Bernhard Weissbecker, Dr. Gerrit Holighaus, Dr. Christine Rachow and Dr. Martin Gabriel from the Department of Forest Zoology and Forest Protection, University of Göttingen, DE, for support with the electrophysiological and behavioural bioassays; Dr. Helena Santos and MSc Mónica Almeida for assistance with the maintenance of the Gonipterus laboratory culture.


This work has been supported by CENSE (Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research) which is financed by national funds from FCT/MEC (UID/AMB/04085/2013) and by the Associate Laboratory for Green Chemistry LAQV which is financed by national funds from FCT/MEC (UID/QUI/50006/2013) and co-financed by the ERDF under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007265).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals (vertebrates) performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CENSE- Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research, DCEA, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT)Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL)CaparicaPortugal
  2. 2.LAQV–REQUIMTE, Chemistry Department, FCTUNLCaparicaPortugal
  3. 3.Departamento de QuímicaUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal
  4. 4.Agricultural Research OrganizationThe Volcani CenterRishon LetsiyonIsrael
  5. 5.Department of Forest Zoology and Forest Conservation, Buesgen-InstituteGöttingen UniversityGöttingenGermany

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