Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 1963–1978 | Cite as

Perception of Aspen and Sun/Shade Sugar Maple Leaf Soluble Extracts by Larvae of Malacosoma disstria

  • M. Panzuto
  • F. Lorenzetti
  • Y. Mauffette
  • P. J. Albert


We investigated the behavioral feeding preference and the chemoreception of leaf polar extracts from trembling aspen, Populus tremuloides, and from sun and shade sugar maple, Acer saccharum, by larvae of the polyphagous forest tent caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria, a defoliator of deciduous forests in the Northern Hemisphere. Three polar extracts were obtained from each tree species: a total extract, a water fraction, and a methanol fraction. M. disstria larvae were allowed ad libitum access to an artificial diet from eclosion to the fifth instar. Two-choice cafeteria tests were performed comparing the mean (±SE) surface area eaten of the total extracts, and the following order of preference was obtained: aspen > sun maple < shade maple. Tests with the other fractions showed that M. disstria larvae preferred the total aspen extract to its water fraction, and the latter to its methanol fraction. The response to sun maple was similar to aspen. However, for the shade maple experiment, there was no difference between the total extract and its water fraction. Electrophysiological recordings for aspen showed that the sugar-sensitive cell elicited more spikes to the water fraction, followed by the total extract, and finally the methanol fraction. Spike activity to stimulations of sun and shade maple extracts revealed a similar trend, where methanol fraction > water fraction > total extract. Our findings are discussed in light of previously known information about this insect's performance on these host plants.

Malacosoma disstria Populus tremuloides Acer saccharum sun and shade leaves polar extracts feeding preference cellulose discs styloconic sensilla chemoreception electrophysiology 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Panzuto
    • 1
  • F. Lorenzetti
    • 1
  • Y. Mauffette
    • 1
  • P. J. Albert
    • 2
  1. 1.Département des Sciences BiologiquesUniversité de Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyConcordia UniversityMontréalCanada

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