Lemon Terpenes Influence Behavior of the African Citrus Triozid Trioza erytreae (Hemiptera: Triozidae)

  • Akua K. Antwi-Agyakwa
  • Ayuka T. Fombong
  • Emilie Deletre
  • Sunday Ekesi
  • Abdullahi A. Yusuf
  • Christian Pirk
  • Baldwyn TortoEmail author


The African citrus triozid, Trioza erytreae Del Guercio (Hemiptera: Triozidae) is one of the primary vectors of the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter spp. which causes citrus greening, a disease of global economic importance in citrus production. Despite its economic importance, little is known about its chemical ecology. Here, we used behavioral assays and chemical analysis to study the chemical basis of interaction between T. erytreae and one of its preferred host plants, Citrus jambhiri. In dual choice Y-tube olfactometer assays, lemon leaf odors attracted females but not males compared to plain air or solvent controls. However, in a petri dish arena assay, both sexes were arrested by lemon leaf odors. Coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis revealed quantitative differences in the odors of flushing and mature leaves, dominated by terpenes. Twenty-six terpenes were identified and quantified. In Petri dish arena assays, synthetic blends of the most abundant terpenes mimicking lemon flushing leaf odors elicited varying behavioral responses from both sexes of T. erytreae. A nine-component blend and a blend of the three most abundant terpenes; limonene, sabinene and β-ocimene arrested both sexes of T. erytreae. In contrast, a six-component blend lacking in these three components elicited an avoidance response in both sexes. Furthermore, both sexes of T. erytreae preferred the three-component synthetic blend to lemon crude volatile extract. These results suggest that lemon terpenes might be used in the management of T. erytreae.


Citrus jambhiri Trioza erytreae African citrus triozid Kairomone Candidatus Liberibacter spp. Terpenes 



The authors are grateful to Ms. Lydia Mukomuga Kailanya and citrus farmers in Mikinduri district, Meru County, Kenya for their assistance in the field collection of the triozids for insectary rearing. We also thank Dr. Daisy Salifu for guidance in data analysis. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this research by the following organisations and agencies: BMZ/ GIZ through the project on “Strengthening Citrus Production Systems through the Introduction of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Measures for Pests and Diseases in Kenya and Tanzania (SCIPM)” (Project no.: 14.1432.5-001.00/Contract no.: SCIPM 81180346) through the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe); UK Aid from the UK Government; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); and the Kenyan Government. AKAA was supported by a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) In-Region Postgraduate Scholarship. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the donors.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Behavioural and Chemical Ecology UnitNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Social Insects Research Group, Department of Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of PretoriaHatfieldSouth Africa
  3. 3.CIRAD, UPR HORTSYSMontpellierFrance

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