Specificity and sensitivity of plant odor-detecting olfactory sensory neurons in Ctenarytaina eucalypti (Sternorrhyncha: Psyllidae)

Jothi Kumar Yuvaraj, Martin N Andersson, Martin J Steinbauer, Kevin Farnier, Olle Anderbrant
Journal of Insect Physiology 2013, 59 (5): 542-51
The blue gum psyllid, Ctenarytaina eucalypti (Sternorrhyncha: Psyllidae), is an economic threat to Eucalyptus subgenus Symphyomyrtus plantations worldwide. To date, no generally applicable control method is available and the potential for semiochemical-based monitoring or control methods has not yet been investigated. Hence, we conducted the first study on the olfactory sense of C. eucalypti, investigating the specificity and sensitivity of its olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) to host plant volatiles using single sensillum recordings (SSR). Synthetic compounds were selected from published identifications of Eucalyptus volatiles and after analysis of headspace collections from Eucalyptus cordata. The antenna of C. eucalypti carries four cavities containing olfactory sensilla (S1-S4). Our recordings revealed that each of these sensilla houses three OSNs that could be distinguished electrophysiologically based on spike amplitude differences (A, B, and C neuron with large, intermediate, and small amplitude, respectively). The A neuron in sensillum S1 responded primarily to β-caryophyllene and weaker to β-ocimene, whereas the accompanying B-neuron responded strongly and very specifically to linalool. Furthermore, the B-neuron in both S2 and S3 responded strongly to 1-hexanol, Z3-hexenol, and Z3-hexenyl acetate. OSNs in S4 responded only weakly to a few of the synthetic compounds. Response thresholds in strongly responding OSNs to putative key compounds were close to the 1ng dose on the filter paper and responses exhibited a phasic-tonic profile irrespective of compound dose. C. eucalypti may use the physiologically active compounds for long-range host finding. Future laboratory and field experiments will reveal whether plant volatiles can be used in the management and monitoring of C. eucalypti.

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