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J Chem Ecol. 2010 Oct;36(10):1114-21. doi: 10.1007/s10886-010-9851-x. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

The influence of pine volatile compounds on the olfactory response by Neodiprion sertifer (Geoffroy) females.

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agroambientali-Entomologia, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, viale G. Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy.


Females of the pine sawfly Neodiprion sertifer (Hymenoptera Diprionidae) usually avoid Pinus pinea trees as host plants. In contrast, this sawfly species is highly attracted by P. sylvestris and P. nigra trees. Here, we investigated which pine volatiles might mediate this behavior by in situ sampling experiments and olfactometer laboratory tests. Volatiles emitted from P. pinea, P. sylvestris, and P. nigra foliage were sampled by solid-phase microextraction (SPME). Analysis of these volatiles by coupled gaschromatography/mass spectrometry revealed that the relative amounts of the compounds emitted by the three species were significantly different. A discriminant analysis showed that the amounts of limonene and myrcene significantly contributed to the species-specific volatile patterns. Pinus pinea emitted higher relative amounts of limonene than the other pine species. Pinus sylvestris emitted the highest relative amounts of myrcene. When testing the response of N. sertifer females to these pine terpenoids in an olfactometer bioassay, a low amount of limonene was attractive, while a repellent effect was evident when higher amounts were used. The sawfly females showed no significant olfactory response to myrcene. These data suggest that low relative amounts of limonene have a significant function in attracting N. sertifer females, while high amounts might contribute to avoidance of a tree.

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