Electrophysiological and behavioral responses to chocolate volatiles in both sexes of the pyralid moths Ephestia cautella and Plodia interpunctella

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Abstract

Volatiles from chocolate mediate upwind flight behavior in Ephestia cautella and Plodia interpunctella. We used gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection and found 12 active compounds derived from three different chocolate types, i.e., plain, nut-containing, and rum-flavored. Eight of the compounds were identified with mass spectrometry, and the activity of three compounds, ethyl vanillin, nonanal, and phenylacetaldehyde (PAA), was subsequently confirmed in both electrophysiological and behavioral assays. In the electroantennogram experiment, PAA and nonanal were consistently eliciting responses in both species and sexes. Ethyl vanillin was active in males of both species, and also in P. interpunctella females. E. cautella females showed no antennal activity in response to ethyl vanillin. All three volatiles were attractive to E. cautella males and P. interpunctella females in a flight tunnel. E. cautella females were significantly attracted only to ethyl vanillin. P. interpunctella males were attracted to PAA. Ethyl vanillin is a novel insect attractant, whereas both nonanal and phenylacetaldehyde mediate behavior in many insect species. A final experiment revealed that a blend of the three volatiles was required to induce landing in the flight tunnel bioassay, and that the landing rate was dependent on dose. The three-component blend attracted both sexes of P. interpunctella and females of E. cautella, whereas E. cautella males were not attracted.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
  • Zoology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2947-2961
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Volume31
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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