Environmental Entomology (2010) 39, 600-609

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Huilin Yu, Yongjun Zhang, Kris A.G. Wyckhuys, Kongming Wu, Xiwu Gao and Yuyuan Guo (2010)
Electrophysiological and behavioral responses of Microplitis mediator (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) to caterpillar-induced volatiles from cotton
Environmental Entomology 39 (2), 600-609
Abstract: Microplitis mediator Haliday (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is an important larval endoparasitoid of various lepidopteran pests, including Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner). In China, H. armigera is a key pest of cotton and is currently the focus of several biological control efforts that use M. mediator as principal natural enemy of this pest. To improve the success of biological control efforts, behavioral studies are needed that shed light on the interaction between M. mediator and H. armigera. In this study, we determined M. mediator response to volatile compounds from undamaged, mechanically injured, or H. armigera--damaged plants and identified attractive volatiles. In Y-tube olfactometer assays, we found that mechanically damaged plants and/or plants treated with H. armigera oral secretions did not attract wasps. However, volatiles from H. armigera-damaged plants elicited a strong attraction of both M. mediator sexes. Headspace extracts from H. armigera-damaged cotton were analyzed by coupled gas chromatography-electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD), and a total of seven different compounds were found to elicit electroantennogram (EAG) responses, including an unknown compound. Six different EAD-active volatiles were identified from caterpillar-damaged cotton plants, of which 3, 7-dimethyl-1, 3, 6-octatriene and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate were the principal compounds. Olfactometer assays indicated that individual synthetic compounds of 3, 7-dimethyl-1, 3, 6-octatriene, (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, and nonanal were attractive to M. mediator. Field cage studies showed that parasitism of H. armigera larvae by M. mediator was higher on cotton plants to which 3, 7-dimethyl-1, 3, 6-octatriene was applied. Our results show that the combination of terpenoids and green leaf volatiles may not only facilitate host, mate, or food location but may also increase H. armigera parasitism by M. mediator
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Yu Yuan Guo, Kong Ming Wu, Xi-Wu Gao, Yong-Jun Zhang, Kris A.G. Wyckhuys

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Helicoverpa armigera Cotton (Gossypium)
Microplitis mediator (parasitoid) Helicoverpa armigera Cotton (Gossypium)