Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/6/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Approaches and methods are needed to control pest insects that involve less pesticide use and are not harmful to human health and the environment. One approach is the development of lures and traps for females of pest species, based on their natural attraction to mates, host plants and foods. Scientists at the Insect Attractants, Behavior, and Basic Biology Research Laboratory, in Gainesville, Florida, have found that the pheromone of male cabbage looper moths is highly attractive to both males and females that are deprived of food as adults. This finding indicates that females are attracted to males to gain access to nutrients, and that in the absence of competing food sources such as plant nectaries male pheromone lures should be effective in attracting females into traps. Such information will aid in the development of techniques to monitor female moth activity and to reduce numbers of ovipositing female moths with lures comprised of male pheromone.
Technical Abstract: We tested the hypothesis that females are attracted to males to obtain nutrients by comparing the attraction of fed versus unfed cabbage looper moths, Trichoplusia ni (Hubner), to male pheromone. Starved females and starved males were more attracted to male pheromone, either an extract of male hairpencils or a synthetic blend of d-linalool, p-cresol and m-cresol, than they were to females or males that were provided a sugar-honey mixture. Food availability did not affect male attractiveness or male pheromone production. Female T. ni that were fed either honey, fructose, glucose, maltose, or sucrose exhibited low attraction responses, compared to females that were not fed. Under conditions of food shortage (e.g. from plant nectars) cabbage looper females may obtain nutrients and boost fecundity via nutrients obtained from male spermatophores, and thus the search for signalling males may relate not only to reproduction but to obtaining nutrients.