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Volatile Signatures from Potato Mediate Oviposition in Females of the Guatemalan Moth Tecia solanivora (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)

Karlsson, Miriam Frida; Birgersson, Göran; Bosa, Felipe; Cotes, Prado Alba Marina; Bengtsson, Marie; Witzgall, Peter


The Guatemalan potato moth Tecia solanivora has become the most devastating pest of potato in Central America and adjacent South American countries. Guatemalan potato moth has only recently emerged as a pest of potato, probably due to host plant shift from a native solanaceous plant to potato (1, 2). The larvae feed in potato tubers. Gravid T. solanivora females are attracted to potato fields, where they lay eggs in soil crevices, close to tubers. In storage facilities, females oviposit directly on tubers. Potato foliage, in three phenological stages from sprouting to flowering, releases a wide range of aliphatic compounds, benzenoids, phenylpropanoids and monoterpene hydrocarbons. Behaviourally active compounds are released from both mature foliage and tubers, corresponding to female attraction to green plants in the field and to potato tubers in storage. However, sesquiterpene compounds released from leaves are almost entirely absent from tuber headspace. This is remarkable, in view of T. solanivora oviposition behaviour. Females are attracted to mature plants, but lay eggs in the soil surrounding these plants, not on the plants. Attraction and oviposition behaviour in Guatemalan potato moth is accordingly encoded by a combination of attractant and repellent volatiles

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International Society of Chemical Ecology - Annual Meeting 2008