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J Chem Ecol. 2005 Jul;31(7):1537-53.

Olfactory responses of banana weevil predators to volatiles from banana pseudostem tissue and synthetic pheromone.

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  • 1International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Centre, Kampala, Uganda. w.tinzaara@kari.go.ug

Abstract

As a response to attack by herbivores, plants can emit a variety of volatile substances that attract natural enemies of these insect pests. Predators of the banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus (Germar) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) such as Dactylosternum abdominale (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae) and Pheidole megacephala (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), are normally found in association with weevil-infested rotten pseudostems and harvested stumps. We investigated whether these predators are attracted to such environments in response to volatiles produced by the host plant, by the weevil, or by the weevil plant complex. We evaluated predator responses towards volatiles from banana pseudostem tissue (synomones) and the synthetic banana weevil aggregation pheromone Cosmolure+ in a two-choice olfactometer. The beetle D. abdominale was attracted to fermenting banana pseudostem tissue and Cosmolure+, whereas the ant P. megacephala was attracted only to fermented pseudostem tissue. Both predators were attracted to banana pseudostem tissue that had been damaged by weevil larvae irrespective of weevil presence. Adding pheromone did not enhance predator response to volatiles from pseudostem tissue fed on by weevils. The numbers of both predators recovered with pseudostem traps in the field from banana mats with a pheromone trap were similar to those in pseudostem traps at different distance ranges from the pheromone. Our study shows that the generalist predators D. abdominale and P. megacephala use volatiles from fermented banana pseudostem tissue as the major chemical cue when searching for prey.

PMID:
16222791
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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