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J Chem Ecol. 2015 Jul;41(7):613-21. doi: 10.1007/s10886-015-0595-5. Epub 2015 Jun 13.

Attraction of Redbay Ambrosia Beetle, Xyleborus Glabratus, To Leaf Volatiles of its Host Plants in North America.

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Entomology and Nematology Department, Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 700 Experiment Station Rd, Lake Alfred, FL, 33850, USA,


The redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, is an important pest of redbay (Persea borbonia) and swamp bay (P. palustris) trees in forests of the southeastern USA. It is also a threat to commercially grown avocado. The beetle is attracted to host wood volatiles, particularly sesquiterpenes. Contrary to other ambrosia beetles that attack stressed, possibly pathogen-infected, and dying trees, X. glabratus readily attacks healthy trees. To date little is known about the role of leaf volatiles in the host selection behavior and ecology of X. glabratus. To address this question, an olfactometer bioassay was developed to test the behavioral response of X. glabratus to plant leaf volatiles. We found that X. glabratus was attracted to the leaf odors of their hosts, redbay and swamp bay, with no attraction to a non-host tree tested (live oak, Quercus virginiana), which served as a negative control. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GS/MS) analysis of leaves revealed the absence of sesquiterpenes known to be attractive to X. glabratus and present in host wood, suggesting that additional leaf-derived semiochemicals may serve as attractants for this beetle. An artificial blend of chemicals was developed based on GC/MS analyses of leaf volatiles and behavioral assays. This blend was attractive to X. glabratus at a level that rivaled currently used lures for practical monitoring of this pest. This synthetic redbay leaf blend also was tested in the field. Baited traps captured more X. glabratus than unbaited controls and equivalently to manuka oil lures. We hypothesize that leaf volatiles may be used by X. glabratus as an additional cue for host location.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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