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J Chem Ecol. 2003 Aug;29(8):1813-33.

Electroantennographic and behavioral responses of the sphinx moth Manduca sexta to host plant headspace volatiles.

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ARL Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210077, Tucson, Arizona 85721-0077, USA.


Coupled gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) using antennae of adult female Manduca sexta was employed to screen for olfactory stimulants present in headspace collections from four species of larval host plants belonging to two families: Solanaceae--Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato), Capiscum annuum (bell pepper), and Datura wrightii; and Martyniaceae--Pronboscideaparviflora. Headspace volatiles were collected from undamaged foliage of potted, living plants. GC-EAD revealed 23 EAD-active compounds, of which 15 were identified by GC-mass spectrometry. Identified compounds included aliphatic, aromatic, and terpenoid compounds bearing a range of functional groups. Nine EAD-active compounds were common to all four host plant species: (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, nonanal, decanal, phenylacetaldehyde, methyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, geranyl acetone, (E)-nerolidol, and one unidentified compound. Behavioral responses of female moths to an eight-component synthetic blend of selected tomato headspace volatiles were tested in a laboratory wind tunnel. Females were attracted to the blend. A comparison of responses from antennae of males and females to bell pepper headspace volatiles revealed that males responded to the same suite of volatiles as females, except for (Z)-3-hexenyl benzoate. EAD responses of males also were lower for (Z)-and (E)-nerolidol and one unidentified compound. Electroantennogram EAG dose-response curves for the 15 identified EAD-active volatiles were recorded. At the higher test doses (10-100 microg), female antennae yielded larger EAG responses to terpenoids and to aliphatic and aromatic esters. Male antennae did respond to the higher doses of (Z)-3-hexenyl benzoate, indicating that they can detect this compound. On the basis of ubiquity of the EAD-active volatiles identified to date in host plant headspace collections, we suggest that M. sexta uses a suite of volatiles to locate and identify appropriate host plants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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