Olfactory Responses to Aphid and Host Plant Volatile Releases: (E)-β-Farnesene an Effective Kairomone for the Predator Adalia bipunctata

Research paper by Frédéric Francis, Georges Lognay, Eric Haubruge

Indexed on: 01 Apr '04Published on: 01 Apr '04Published in: Journal of Chemical Ecology


The volatiles released from several aphid and host plant species, alone or associated, were studied for their infochemical role in prey location. Using a four-arm olfactometer, the attraction of several combinations of three aphid (Myzus persicae, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and Brevicoryne brassicae) and three plant (Vicia faba, Brassica napus, and Sinapis alba) species toward Adalia bipunctata larvae and adults was observed. Both predatory larvae and adults were attracted only by A. pisum and M. persicae when they were crushed, whatever the host plant. (E)-β-Farnesene, the aphid alarm pheromone, was the effective kairomone for the ladybird. Plant leaves alone (V. faba, B. napus, and S. alba) or in association with nonstressed whole aphids (the three species) did not have any attraction for the predator. The B. brassicae specialist aphid is the only prey that was not attracted to A. bipunctata larvae and adults, even if they were crushed. Release of B. brassicae molecules similar to the host plant allelochemicals was demonstrated by GC–MS analysis. The lack of behavioral response of the ladybird at short distance toward the cruciferous specialist aphid was related only to the absence of (E)-β-farnesene in the aphid prey volatile pattern.