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Title: The olfactory basis for attraction of the bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to host-plant flowers
Author: Bruce, Toby Johann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 2595
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 2000
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The objective of this work was to investigate whether or not olfactory clues play a role in host plant location by the polyphagous moth, Helicoverpa armigera. Volatiles collected from flowers of African marigold, Tagetes erecta, and sweet pea, Lathyrus odouratus, were found to elicit electroantennographic (EAG) responses from the antennae of female H. armigera. Compounds active in GC-EAG analyses of T. erecta floral headspace samples, identified by GC-MS and comparison of retention times on polar and non-polar GC columns with authentic standards, were (E)-myroxide, benzaldehyde, (f)-linalool, phenylacetaldehyde and (-)- piperitone. EAG-active compounds in L. odouratus floral headspace samples were identified as diacetone, (-)-linalool, phenylacetaldehdyde and benzyl alcohol. Increases in upwind flight to air entrained extracts of floral odours indicated that these cues caused attraction when presented to female H. armigera. A synthetic T. erecta blend comprising benzaldehyde, (f)- linalool, phenylacetaldehyde and (+)-limonene gave significant increases in upwind flight approaches. Limonene (either (+)- or (-)-) was found to be important for the behavioural response despite having low EAG-activity. There was no significant difference in upwind flight response to odours from the live flower and the synthetic floral blend. Significant increases in upwind flight were also obtained when insects were presented with a synthetic L. odouratus blend which contained the four EAG-active compounds identified from GCEAG studies. In field trapping experiments in Israel there was a significant difference in H. armigera catches in traps with a standard 4-component T. erecta lure compared with unbaited traps over the whole season. Mean H. armigera catch per trap per night (both sexes) over the whole season in unbaited traps, floral odour traps, pheromone traps and light traps were 0.004,0.11,8.8 and 1.35 respectively. The floral baited traps were non-selective catching large numbers of Ilymenoptera and Diptera as well as other moth species. Field trapping experiments in Pakistan indicated that the floral lure was significantly attractive to Earias spp. and other Lepidoptera although very few H. armigera were caught due to low population density. Olfactory cues are discussed in relation to host-plant finding behaviour of H. armigera. They are involved in early stages of host seeking behaviour prior to alighting on the plant and stimulate searching behaviour.
Supervisor: Cork, Alan Sponsor: Natural Resources Institute
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QL Zoology ; SF Animal culture