Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2008
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Citation: Wenninger, E., Stelinski, L.L., Hall, D.G. 2008. Behavioral evidence for a female-produced sex attractant in Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 128:450-459. Interpretive Summary: We conducted studies to examine whether male or female Asian citrus psyllids are attracted to conspecifics of the same or opposite sex. We found behavioral evidence that males are attracted to females and to odors left behind by females on plants. We found no evidence that males were attracted to other males, or that females were attracted to males or other females. Our results provide behavioral evidence for a female-produced volatile sex pheromone in the Asian citrus psyllid. Future identification and synthesis of a sex attractant pheromone would be an important contribution to current monitoring and management practices for this world-wide pest of citrus.
Technical Abstract: Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) is an important world-wide pest of citrus. It vectors three phloem-restricted bacteria in the genus Candidatus Liberibacter that cause huanglongbing (citrus greening disease). Studies were conducted to examine the behavioral responses of male and female D. citri to conspecifics of the same and opposite sex, with and without associated citrus host plants, in both open-air arena choice assays and Y-tube olfactometer assays. Virgin and mated male D. citri colonized citrus plants that were currently or had been previously colonized by virgin or mated female D. citri in greater numbers than control plants without females. However, males or females did not accumulate more on plants colonized by conspecifics of the same sex compared with uninfested plants and females showed no preference for plants pre-infested with males compared with uninfested controls. In complementary Y-tube assays, virgin and mated males chose arms with odor sources from mated females compared with blank controls in the absence of associated citrus host plant volatiles. In both behavioral assays mated female D. citri appeared more attractive compared with virgin females. The vibrational calling behavior of male D. citri was reduced when males were challenged by the odors of conspecific mated females relative to when males were challenged by the odor of other males. Collectively, our results provide behavioral evidence for a female-produced volatile sex attractant pheromone in D. citri. Future identification and synthesis of a sex attractant pheromone will be an important contribution to current monitoring and management practices for D. citri.