Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 1911–1924 | Cite as

Attraction of Spodoptera frugiperda Larvae to Volatiles from Herbivore-Damaged Maize Seedlings

  • Mark J. Carroll
  • Eric A. Schmelz
  • Robert L. Meagher
  • Peter E. A. Teal


Plants respond to insect attack with the induction of volatiles that function as indirect plant defenses through the attraction of natural enemies to the herbivores. Despite the fact that volatiles are induced in response to caterpillar attack, their reciprocal effects on the host location behaviors of the same foraging herbivores are poorly understood. We examined orientation responses of sixth instar fall armyworm [FAW; Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith)] to odors from herbivore-damaged and undamaged maize seedlings (Zea mays var. Golden Queen) in y-tube olfactometer bioassays. While both damaged and undamaged maize seedlings were attractive compared with air, sixth instars preferred odors from damaged maize seedlings over odors from undamaged maize seedlings. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of plant volatiles revealed that linalool and 4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene were the major volatiles induced by FAW herbivory 6 hr after initial damage. Given its prominence in induced plants and established attractiveness to adult FAW, linalool was evaluated both as an individual attractant and as a supplemental component of whole plant odors. Volatile linalool was more attractive than air to sixth instar FAW over a broad range of release rates. FAW also responded selectively to different amounts of linalool, preferring the higher amount. The orientation preferences of FAW were readily manipulated through capillary release of linalool into the airstream of whole plant odors. FAW preferred linalool over undamaged plant odors, and linalool-supplemented plant odors over unsupplemented plant odors, indicating that olfactory preferences could be changed by alteration of a single volatile component. These results suggest that although many induced volatiles attract natural enemies of herbivores, these defenses may also inadvertently recruit more larval herbivores to an attacked plant or neighboring conspecifics.


Olfaction Fall armyworm Plant-herbivore interactions Induction Linalool Olfactometer 



We thank Hans Alborn, Sean Collins, Art Zangerl, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments that improved the manuscript. We also thank Julia Meredith, Nancy Lowman, and Valerie McManus for assistance in the maintenance of plants and insects used in this experiment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark J. Carroll
    • 1
  • Eric A. Schmelz
    • 1
  • Robert L. Meagher
    • 1
  • Peter E. A. Teal
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, U.S. Department of AgricultureChemistry Research Unit, Agricultural Research ServiceGainesvilleUSA

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