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J Chem Ecol. 2009 Feb;35(2):201-8. doi: 10.1007/s10886-008-9572-6. Epub 2009 Feb 7.

Vicia faba-Lygus rugulipennis interactions: induced plant volatiles and sex pheromone enhancement.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali-Entomologia, University of Perugia, Italy. francescafrati@tiscali.it

Erratum in

  • J Chem Ecol. 2009 Apr;35(4):505.


The profiles of volatile chemicals emitted by Vicia faba plants damaged by Lygus rugulipennis feeding, and by feeding plus oviposition, were shown to be quantitatively different from those released by undamaged plants. Samples of volatile chemicals collected from healthy plants, plants damaged by males as a consequence of feeding, plants damaged by females as a consequence of feeding and oviposition, plants damaged by feeding with mated males still present, and plants damaged by feeding and oviposition with gravid females still present, showed significant differences in the emission of hexyl acetate, (Z)-beta-ocimene, (E)-beta-ocimene, (E)-beta-caryophyllene, and methyl salicylate. In particular, treatments with mated females present on plants had a significant increase in emission levels of the above compounds, possibly due to eggs laid within plant tissues or active feeding, compared with undamaged plants and plants damaged by males feeding, with or without insects still present. Furthermore, the pheromonal blend released by mated L. rugulipennis females, mainly comprising hexyl butyrate, (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate, and (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal, was enhanced when females were active on broad bean plants, whereas such an increase was not observed in males. Both sexes gave electroantennogram responses to green leaf volatiles from undamaged plants and to methyl salicylate and (E)-beta-caryophyllene emitted by Lygus-damaged plants, suggesting that these compounds may be involved in colonization of host plants by L. rugulipennis. In addition, mated males and females were responsive to hexyl butyrate, (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate, and (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal released by mated females on V. faba, indicating that these substances could have a dual function as a possible aggregation pheromone in female-female communication, and as a sex pheromone in female-male communication.

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