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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376479

Research Project: Sustainable Approaches for Pest Management in Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Plant volatiles modulate landscape-level population dynamics of the polyphagous mirid bug Apolygus lucorum

item HONGSHENG, PAN - Xinjiang Academy Of Agricultural And Reclamation Science
item CHUNLI, XIU - Academy Of Agricultural Science
item Williams, Livy
item YANHUI, LU - Academy Of Agricultural Science

Submitted to: Journal of Pest Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/18/2020
Publication Date: 1/6/2022
Citation: Hongsheng, P., Chunli, X., Williams Iii, L.H., Yanhui, L. 2022. Plant volatiles modulate landscape-level population dynamics of the polyphagous mirid bug Apolygus lucorum. Journal of Pest Science. 47:87–9.

Interpretive Summary: Crop plant odors help insect pests find crops and make decisions to feed and reproduce on them. A thorough knowledge of insect response to plant odors is necessary to understand seasonal flight of pests between agricultural fields, and to develop effective and sustainable pest management strategies. In laboratory trials we demonstrated that crop odors varied throughout the growing season, and in discovered that an important insect pest of many crops was found to be physiologically responsive and behaviorally attracted to several of these plant odors. Subsequent field studies corroborated our laboratory results: movement and egg-laying by the insect between crop plant species was consistent with seasonal changes in emission of odors by the crops. Thus, emission of certain plant odors guides the pest’s colonization of and reproduction on different crops. These findings help advance our understanding of plant volatiles’ role in choice and selection of crops by pests with a broad range of host plants. The identified plant odors may be developed into attractant lures for monitoring pest abundance, and for manipulation of pest behavior to reduce crop damage.

Technical Abstract: Plant-derived volatiles play a significant role in host selection of phytophagous insects, but their role in seasonal host shifts remain unclear. The polyphagous mirid bug Apolygus lucorum displays marked seasonal host alternation. During summer, volatiles from flowering plants play a key role in A. lucorum foraging. Though A. lucorum adults deposit overwintering eggs on jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) and grape (Vitis vinifera) during autumn, it is unclear whether plant volatiles equally mediate this host selection behavior. During 2015 and 2016, we found that population densities of A. lucorum adults on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) during August were higher than those in September, whereas the opposite pattern was observed on fruit trees (i.e., jujube and grape). The ratio of adult dispersal from cotton fields during September were higher than those in August, and opposite patterns were observed from the neighboring jujube/grape orchard. In Y-tube olfactometer trials, A. lucorum adults preferred cotton plant volatiles in August versus fruit tree odors in September. Three electro-physiologically active volatiles (butyl acrylate, butyl propionate and butyl butyrate) were identified from jujube and grape plants. During September, active volatiles are emitted in considerably greater amounts by jujube and grape than those in August, while volatile emission in cotton decreases. Temporal shifts in plant volatile emission thus modulate host plant foraging of A. lucorum, and guide its colonization on different host plants. These findings help advance our knowledge of the role of plant volatiles in host plant selection and seasonal dynamics of polyphagous herbivores.