Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 418–429 | Cite as

Season-Long Volatile Emissions from Peach and Pear Trees In Situ, Overlapping Profiles, and Olfactory Attraction of an Oligophagous Fruit Moth in the Laboratory

  • A. Najar-RodriguezEmail author
  • B. Orschel
  • S. Dorn


Insect herbivores that have more than one generation per year and reproduce on different host plants are confronted with substantial seasonal variation in the volatile blends emitted by their hosts. One way to deal with such variation is to respond to a specific set of compounds common to all host plants. The oriental fruit moth Cydia (=Grapholita) molesta is a highly damaging invasive pest. The stone fruit peach (Prunus persica) is its primary host, whereas pome fruits such as pear (Pyrus communis) are considered secondary hosts. In some parts of their geographic range, moth populations switch from stone to pome fruit orchards during the growing season. Here, we tested whether this temporal switch is facilitated by female responses to plant volatiles. We collected volatiles from peach and pear trees in situ and characterized their seasonal dynamics by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. We also assessed the effects of the natural volatile blends released by the two plant species on female attraction by using Y-tube olfactometry. Finally, we related variations in volatile emissions to female olfactory responses. Our results indicate that the seasonal host switch from peach to pear is facilitated by the changing olfactory effect of the natural volatile blends being emitted. Peach volatiles were only attractive early and mid season, whereas pear volatiles were attractive from mid to late season. Blends from the various attractive stages shared a common set of five aldehydes, which are suggested to play an essential role in female attraction to host plants. Particular attention should be given to these aldehydes when designing candidate attractants for oriental fruit moth females.


Oriental fruit moth Grapholita molesta Lepidoptera Female olfactory attraction Peach Pear Aldehyde Invasive pest 



We thank Edison Pasqualini (University of Bologna) and Massimiliano Melandri (Terremerse) for help with field sampling of insects; Dr. Rafal Piskorski (ETH Zurich) and Dr. Roman Kaiser (retired, previously Givaudan) for support with volatile identification; Dr. Robin Clery (Givaudan) for supplying chemical standards, support with volatile identification, and for useful discussions; Giudici Noris for providing his orchards for this project; and Dr. Jana Collatz (ETH Zurich) and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10886_2013_262_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (157 kb)
Online resource 1 Percentage contribution of each compound (± SE) to the total blends detected by TD-GC-MS in the headspace volatiles of peach and pear twigs from different phenological stages throughout an entire growing season. Concentration (in ng) for each single compound is shown in Table 2 (PDF 157 kb)
10886_2013_262_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (212 kb)
Online resource 2 Volatile compounds detected in this study from peach and pear twigs at different phenological stages and reported here for the first time for peach and/or pear trees (marked as a). Volatiles detected in other studies from peach, pear, apple, and other Rosaceae plant species (marked as x). Compounds listed with no marks (a or x) in any of the four host-plant categories might have been reported in plant families other than Rosaceae (PDF 211 kb)
10886_2013_262_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (100 kb)
Online resource 3 Score plot of the principal component analysis (PCA) of headspace volatiles from apple twigs at different phenological stages (from Vallat and Dorn (2005)). Stages attractive to codling moth females represented by filled dots and enclosed by open ovals. Non-attractive stages represented by open triangles (PDF 100 kb)
10886_2013_262_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (130 kb)
Online resource 4 Score plot of the principal component analysis (PCA) of (a) aldehydes, (b) alcohols and phenols, (c) terpenoids, and (d) aromatics compounds detected in apple twigs sampled from different phenological stages throughout an entire growing season (from Vallat and Dorn (2005)). Stages attractive to codling moth females represented by filled dots. Non-attractive stages represented by open triangles (PDF 129 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ETH Zurich, Institute of Agricultural Sciences/Applied Entomology SchmelzbergstrasseZurichSwitzerland

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