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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2005

Plant volatiles affect oviposition by codling moths

Witzgall Peter, Bengtsson Marie, Ansebo Lena, Yang Zhihua, Angeli Gino, Sauphanor Benoit


Oviposition in wild codling moth females, collected as overwintering larvae from apple, pear and walnut, was stimulated by volatiles from fruit-bearing green branches of these respective hostplants. Analysis of headspace collections showed that eight compounds present in apple, pear and walnut elicited a reliable antennal response in codling moth females: (E)-?-ocimene, 4,8-dimethyl-1,(E)3,7-nonatriene, (Z)3-hexenyl acetate, nonanal, ?-caryophyllene, germacrene D, (E,E)-?-farnesene, and methyl salicylate. Any one of these compounds is found in many other nonhost plants, and host recognition in codling moth is thus likely encoded by a blend of volatiles. A large variation in the blend proportion of these compounds released from apple, pear and walnut suggests a considerable plasticity in the female response to host plant odours. Wild females, collected as overwintering larvae in the field, laid significantly fewer eggs in the absence of host plant volatiles. The offspring of these females, however, reared on a semi-artificial diet in the laboratory,laid as many eggs with or without plant volatile stimulus. Tests with individual females showed that this rapid change in oviposition behaviour may be explained by selection for females which oviposit in the absence of odour stimuli, rather than by preimaginal conditioning of insects when rearing them on semi-artificial diet. Oviposition bioassays using laboratory-reared females are therefore not suitable to identify the volatile compounds which stimulate egglaying in wild females

Published in

2005, pages: 77-83

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Science
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Science
Sauphanor, Benoit
Angeli, Gino
Ansebo, Lena
Yang, Zhihua

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

URI (permanent link to this page)