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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381845

Research Project: Molecular and Biochemical Characterization of Biotic and Abiotic Stress on Plant Defense Responses in Maize

Location: Chemistry Research

Title: Zea mays volatiles that influence oviposition and feeding behaviors of Spodoptera frugiperda

item Yactayo Chang, Jessica
item Mendoza, Jorrel
item Willms, Steve
item Beck, John
item Rering, Caitlin
item Block, Anna

Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2021
Publication Date: 8/4/2021
Citation: Yactayo Chang, J.P., Mendoza, J.S., Willms, S.D., Beck, J.J., Rering, C.C., Block, A.K. 2021. Zea mays volatiles that influence oviposition and feeding behaviors of Spodoptera frugiperda. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 47, 799-809.

Interpretive Summary: Fall armyworm is a major insect pest of many agricultural crops, including corn. These moths can fly long distances to locate suitable plants on which to lay their eggs. ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL investigated how fall armyworm uses plant-produced odors to locate suitable corn plants and discovered that several of these odors attracted fall armyworm moths. These odors can potentially be used in traps to monitor armyworm populations. Other odors were found to be repellent to fall armyworms. Breeding strategies focused on producing plants with increased amounts of these repellent odors could make corn less attractive to this pest and reduce dependence on pesticides.

Technical Abstract: Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a major global pest of many agricultural crops, including maize (Zea mays). This insect is known to use host plant-derived volatile organic compounds to locate suitable hosts during both its adult and larval stages, yet the function of individual compounds remains mostly enigmatic. In this study we use a combination of volatile profiling, electrophysiological assays, pair-wise choice behavioral assays, and chemical supplementation treatments to identify and assess specific compounds from maize that influence S. frugiperda host location. Our findings reveal that methyl salicylate is an oviposition attractant for adult moths but does not impact larval behavior. (E)-alpha-bergamotene is also an oviposition attractant and impacts larval behavior, depending on the available host volatile context. While geranyl acetate can act and an oviposition attractant or repellent depending on the host volatile context and (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT) is an oviposition deterrent. These data show that S. frugiperda uses different plant volatile cues for host location in its adult and larval stage, and that the background volatile context that specific volatiles are perceived in, alters their impact as behavioral cues.