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Modulation of Reproductive Behaviors by Non-Host Volatiles in the Polyphagous Egyptian Cotton Leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis

Binyameen, Muhammad; Hussein, Altaf; Yusefi, Fatemeh; Birgersson, Göran; Schlyter, Fredrik


In order to locate mates, food, and oviposition sites, insects mainly rely on volatile cues released by their sexual partners, food sources, and host and non-host plants. Calling, mating, and oviposition behaviors, as well as fecundity and longevity, of newly emerged Spodoptera littoralis (Bois.) moths were recorded in the presence of volatiles from leaves of a host plant, Gossypium hirsutum (cotton) and two non-host plants, Adhatoda vasica (Av) or Picea abies (spruce), either alone or in host/non-host combinations. Females exposed to cotton volatiles started calling earlier than females exposed to non-host plant volatiles (NHV), or the blank control. Likewise, moth pairs exposed to cotton volatiles started mating earlier than the other treatments. The period of calling in females alone was longer than females kept with males, having the opportunity to mate. However, the callings, as well as mating durations in the moth pairs, in different treatments were not different. Longevity was decreased either in the absence of cotton or the presence of Av, and spruce leaves. Fecundity was reduced in moths exposed to a combination of spruce and cotton. The effect of NHV on attraction of 2-3-day-old male moths towards a pheromone (Ph) source was studied in a wind tunnel. In the no-choice assay, more males arrived at close approach and landed on the Ph source when the host plant, cotton, was offered in the background as compared to the non-hosts. In the dual-choice assay, more males landed on the Ph source in front of the host plant compared to the Ph source in front of non-hosts. Gas chromatography-electroantennographic detection on female S. littoralis revealed five antennally active compounds in headspace collections of spruce and three compounds in Av.


Adhatoda vasica; Cotton; Electrophysiology; Lepidoptera; Noctuidae; Non-host plants; Semiochemical diversity; Spruce; Sustainable pest management

Publicerad i

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2013, Volym: 39, nummer: 10, sidor: 1273-1283
Utgivare: SPRINGER