Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 12, pp 1759–1785 | Cite as

Olfaction in the boll weevil,Anthonomus grandis Boh. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): Electroantennogram studies

  • Joseph C. Dickens


Electroantennogram (EAG) techniques were utilized to measure the antennal olfactory responsiveness of adult boll weevils,Anthonomus grandis Boh. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), to 38 odorants, including both insect and host plant (Gossypium hirsutum L.) volatiles. EAGs of both sexes were indicative of at least two receptor populations: one receptor population primarily responsive to pheromone components and related compounds, the other receptor population primarily responsive to plant odors. Similar responses to male aggregation pheromone components (i.e., compounds I, II, and III + IV) were obtained from both sexes, but females were slightly more sensitive to I. Both sexes were highly responsive to components of the “green leaf volatile complex,” especially the six-carbon saturated and monounsaturated primary alcohols. Heptanal was the most active aldehyde tested. More acceptors responded to oxygenated monoterpenes than to monoterpene hydrocarbons. β-Bisabolol, the major volatile of cotton, was the most active sesquiterpene. In general, males, which are responsible for host selection and pheromone production, were more sensitive to plant odors than were females. In fact, males were as sensitive to β-bisabolol and heptanal as to aggregation pheromone components. Electrophysiological data are discussed with regard to the role of insect and host plant volatiles in host selection and aggregation behavior of the boll weevil.

Key words

Cotton boll weevil Anthonomus grandis Coleoptera Curculionidae pheromone kairomone plant odor olfaction electroantennogram attractant host plant green leaf volatiles 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph C. Dickens
    • 1
  1. 1.Boll Weevil Research Laboratory Mississippi StateUSDA, ARSMississippi

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