Location: Crop Bioprotection Research
Title: Similarities in pheromonal communication of flea beetles Phyllotreta cruciferae Goeze and Ph. vittula Redtenbacher (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) Authors
Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 22, 2011
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Citation: Toth, M., Csonka, E., Bartelt, R.J., Cosse, A.A., Zilkowski, B.W. 2012. Similarities in pheromonal communication of fleabeetles Phyllotreta cruciferae Goeze and Ph. vittula Redtenbacher (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). Journal of Applied Entomology. 136(9):688-697. Interpretive Summary: Flea beetles are important pests of mainly cruciferous crops, causing damage in part by feeding on seedlings in early spring, and in part through propagating several plant pathogens. Phyllotreta cruciferae ranks among the most important pest flea beetles of cruciferous crops in Europe and in North-America. Phyllotreta vittula is an important pest in Europe causing serious damages also on monocotyledonous plants. We set out to study their pheromonal and host-plant related chemical communication because knowledge gained in these areas may form the basis of the development of new tools and methods useful in their control. We found that a male-specific pheromone component identified from North American Ph. cruciferae are also emitted by males of a European population of Ph. cruciferae and of Ph. vittula.
Technical Abstract: Remarkable similarities have been found in the pheromonal communication of Phyllotreta vittula Redtenbacher and of Ph. cruciferae Goeze (European population) (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). In previous European field tests with Ph. cruciferae, only the major male-produced sesquiterpene identified from North American Ph. cruciferae [Compound A, (6R,7S)-2,2,6,10-tetramethylbicyclo[5.4.0]undeca-1(11),9-diene] was behaviorally active; unexpectedly, the European species Ph. vittula also responded in these tests and in the same way. Here, both the European population of Ph. cruciferae and Ph. vittula were shown to produce the same blend of compounds found in North American Ph. cruciferae and in similar proportions. Compound A is concluded to be a pheromone component for Ph. vittula as well as for Ph. cruciferae. In previous tests with host compounds, Ph. vittula preferred 3-butenyl isothiocyanate to allyl isothiocyante whereas the reverse was true for Ph. cruciferae. It was also learned earlier that Compound A enhanced the response of both species toward allyl isothiocyanate. The present study further explored interactions between Compound A and the two isothiocyanates. Thus, the highest catches of Ph. vittula were recorded in traps with the combination of racemic Compound A with 3-butenyl isothiocyanate, while highest Ph. cruciferae catches (and of Ph. nigripes Fabr.) were observed in traps with the combination of Compound A with allyl isothiocyanate. Therefore, with the optimal combination of pheromonal and host-derived stimuli, more specific communication channels may exist for the different Phyllotreta spp. Both Ph. cruciferae and Ph. vittula rank among the most important pest flea beetles in Europe.