Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: None
Technical Abstract: The pepper weevil Anthonomus eugeenii is a serious pest on peppers in southern United States. The weevils lay their eggs in flower buds and immature fruit where the larvae feed on the developing seed. Consequently, infestations are hard to control by pesticide applications. The aggregation pheromone of the weevil was identified several years ago and shown to attract male as well as female weevils in a laboratory environment. However, the attraction was weak and in the field commercialized traps have consistently failed to work even for population monitoring purpose. One reason for this failure is that the role of the host plant signals has been largely ignored in classic pheromone communication research. In olfactory experiments both male and female weevils were strongly attracted to volatiles released by pepper plants with active feeding and the weevils were especially attracted to volatiles released by feeding damaged fruiting plants. Thus, a combination of plant volatiles and aggregation pheromone has the potential to be a potent attractant. Furthermore, after depositing an egg, female weevils secret an oviposition plug that when perceived by other females typically reduces subsequent oviposition by more than half. In the laboratory an oviposition plug extract as well as fractions thereof mimics this oviposition deterring effect. The goal with this project is to develop a semiochemical-based trapping/ oviposition deterring system for the pepper weevil that can be used to effectively monitor and possibly also control populations of this important pest.