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Olfactory Response of the Spotted Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata (L.) to Host Plant Volatiles

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The spotted asparagus beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata (L.) is an invasive host-specific pest of asparagus cultivations. To contribute to the understanding of the role of plant volatiles in host-finding by this species, behavioural and electrophysiological tests were carried out. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays, testing intact or mechanically-damaged cladophylls vs. clean air, revealed sexually-dimorphic responses with males being the only sex attracted to both plant materials. Electroantennographic (EAG) assays showed that antennae of both sexes can perceive a wide range of asparagus volatiles. Male and female EAG profiles were almost similar and (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol was by far the most EAG-active compound. (E)-2-hexenal, (±)-linalool, and 3-heptanone elicited the strongest EAG amplitude within the corresponding chemical groups. Eight of the most EAG-active compounds elicited dose-dependent responses indicating the sensitivity of male and female olfactory systems to changes in stimulus concentration. In a Y-tube olfactometer bioassay, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol at the doses of 1, 10, and 50 μg did not elicit female attraction whereas a significant attraction at the 10 μg dose and a repellent effect at the 50 μg dose was induced in males. Sexual dimorphism of male behavioural response to host plant volatiles is discussed. This study provides a basis for future investigations that could contribute to the development of semiochemical-based monitoring and management strategies for this pest.

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The skilful cooperation of Adriano Cotugno for assistance in insect rearing and Y-tube olfactometer bioassays is gratefully acknowledged.


This research was financially supported by the Apulia Region (PSR program 2014-2020 - Sottomisura 16.2, DDS n.167, 28 July 2020. Title: “Innovazioni e soluzioni sostenibili per l’asparago pugliese (AS_PARA)”.

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Correspondence to Giacinto Salvatore Germinara.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

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Pistillo, O.M., D’Isita, I. & Germinara, G.S. Olfactory Response of the Spotted Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata (L.) to Host Plant Volatiles. J Chem Ecol 48, 41–50 (2022).

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