Volatile compounds induced by herbivory act as aggregation kairomones for the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica Newman)
The Japanese beetle is a polyphagous insect that typically aggregates on preferred host plants in the field. We studied the response of Japanese beetles to artificial damage, fresh feeding damage, and overnight feeding damage to test the hypothesis that beetles are attracted to feeding-induced volatiles. Crabapple leaves that had been damaged overnight by Japanese beetles or fall webworms attracted significantly more Japanese beetles than did undamaged leaves. Artificially damaged leaves or leaves freshly damaged by Japanese beetles, however, were not significantly more attractive than undamaged leaves. Leaves that had been damaged overnight by Japanese beetles or fall webworms produced a complex mixture of aliphatic compounds, phenylpropanoid-derived compounds, and terpenoids. In comparison, artificially damaged leaves or leaves with fresh Japanese beetle feeding damage generated a less complex blend of volatiles, mainly consisting of green-leaf odors. Feeding-induced odors may facilitate host location and/or mate finding by the Japanese beetle.
Key WordsPopillia japonica Coleoptera Scarabeidae apple Malus ×domestica attractant induction plant-insect interaction semiochemical terpene
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