Responses of the Mediterranean pine shoot beetle Tomicus destruens (Wollaston) to pine shoot and bark volatiles

Massimo Faccoli, Gianfranco Anfora, Marco Tasin
Journal of Chemical Ecology 2008, 34 (9): 1162-9
The pine shoot beetle Tomicus destruens has two dispersal phases per generation. In the first, mature adults move toward trunks of dying pines to lay eggs; in the second, callow adults move toward the shoots of healthy pines for maturation feeding. However, there is no information on the chemical stimuli that govern host selection by T. destruens adults. The aims of this study were: (1) to identify the volatiles released by shoots and bark of stone pine that are behaviorally and electrophysiologically active on T. destruens; (2) to verify which blends and concentrations of such volatiles are differently active on males and females, as well as on callow and mature adults, during the two host search phases (breeding and feeding). A four-arm olfactometer was used to test the behavior of walking T. destruens adults toward various sources of volatiles including fresh shoots and bark, their collected volatiles, and two synthetic blends. For each odor, the behavior of both callow and mature males and females was recorded individually. Shoot and bark extracts were analyzed by coupled gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and tested by gas chromatography coupled with electroantennography (GC-EAD) on T. destruens males and females. Two blends of two (alpha-pinene and beta-myrcene; blend A) and three (alpha-pinene, beta- myrcene, and alpha-terpinolene; blend B) synthetic compounds, chosen among those that induce EAD responses and known to be attractive for other bark beetle species, were tested in the olfactometer at five concentrations. Insect behavior was affected by the degree of sexual maturation but not by sex. Callow insects were attracted by shoots and their extracts, while mature individuals by bark and its extracts. Six extracted compounds were active on T. destruens antennae: limonene, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol and beta-caryophyllene, alpha-pinene, beta-myrcene, and alpha-terpinolene. alpha-Terpinolene, released only by bark, was active only on mature insects, whereas (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, released only by shoots, was active only on callows. Males and females showed similar EAD responses. Of the six extracted volatiles, two were attractive for callow adults (blend A) and three for matures (blend B). In both cases, responses were positively correlated with blend concentration, although a repellent effect was noted at the highest concentrations.

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