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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

The role of olfaction in aphid host location

Webster, B


Aphids are major economic pests of many of the worlds' crops, causing damage directly by feeding and by acting as vectors for plant viruses. By understanding how aphids locate their host plants, it may become possible to develop new means of controlling populations by taking advantage of these natural host location/nonhost avoidance behaviours. Aphids have also become important model organisms in the study of insectplant interactions and an improved understanding of host location in aphids could yield insights into the behaviour and ecology of other insect orders. The use of olfaction by host-seeking aphids is well documented and, in recent years, considerable information has been gained on how volatiles can encode host identity and suitability, as well as the specific behaviours they elicit from aphids. The purpose of this review is to highlight the major findings on how aphids respond behaviourally to volatile compounds and how they can use them to locate their host plants and avoid unsuitable hosts.


Aphids; behaviour; host location; plant volatiles; semiochemical

Published in

Physiological Entomology
2012, volume: 37, number: 1, pages: 10-18

Authors' information

Webster, Ben
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Publication Identifiers


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