Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 276–287 | Cite as

State-Dependent Plasticity in Response to Host-Plant Volatiles in a Long-Lived Moth, Caloptilia fraxinella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae)

  • Joelle K. Lemmen-Lechelt
  • Tyler J. Wist
  • Maya L. Evenden


Volatile chemicals produced by plants mediate host location, mate-finding and oviposition behavior in insects. State-dependent response to plant cues allows for timing of foraging, mating and oviposition on ephemeral host plants or plant parts. Caloptilia fraxinella is a herbivorous specialist on the foliage of ash trees (Fraxinus). Adults are long-lived and undergo a nine-month reproductive diapause over the fall and winter. Mating and oviposition occur in the spring when volatile chemicals released by ash leaves mediate host location. This study tested the plasticity of olfactory response of C. fraxinella to host plant volatiles using both electroantennogram and behavioral bioassays. The effect of moth physiological state on olfactory response was tested on male and female moths in different nutritional, mating, and diapause states. Antennal responses to host plant volatiles were plastic and depended on moth physiological state, and were highest when moths were reproductively active and would be seeking oviposition hosts. Moth sex and nutritional status also impacted antennal response to host plant volatiles. Oriented flight of females to ash seedlings varied with physiological state and nutritional status, with fed, reproductively active females having the highest response. Physiological state impacted oriented flight of males to female-produced sex pheromone signals whether or not a host plant was present, and there was no increase in behavioral response to sex pheromone in the presence of an ash host.


Electroantennogram Juvenile hormone Nutrition Reproductive diapause Wind tunnel 



We would like to thank members of the Evenden laboratory at the University of Alberta for their assistance with insect collection and laboratory bioassays. Thankyou to Dr. Wilbert Ronald and Jeffries Nurseries of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba for donating the ash seedlings. This study was financially supported by the Alberta Crop Industry Fund and a NSERC Discovery Grant (M.L.E.). Student support was provided by the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, and through scholarships from Alberta Innovates (T.W.) and NSERC-PGS-D3 to J.L. and T.W.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joelle K. Lemmen-Lechelt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tyler J. Wist
    • 1
    • 3
  • Maya L. Evenden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Alberta, CW405 Biological Sciences BuildingEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Plant Protection BiologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden
  3. 3.Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Government of Canada, Saskatoon Research and Development CentreSaskatoonCanada

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