Functional characteristics of a tiny but specialized olfactory system: Olfactory receptor neurons of carrot psyllids (Homoptera: Triozidae)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


With only approximately 50 olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), the carrot psyllid Trioza apicalis (Homoptera: Psylloidea) may have the smallest olfactory system described in adult Neopteran insects. Using single sensillum recordings (SSR) and gas chromatograph-linked SSR, we characterized 4 olfactory sensilla forming a distinct morphological type, which together house approximately 25% of all ORNs. We recorded responses to extracts and single constituents from Daucus carota ssp. sativus, from the conifers Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, and Juniperus communis, as well as from male and female T. apicalis. Receptor neurons were highly selective; only 9 compounds in total elicited repeatable responses, and each neuron responded to at most 3 individual compounds. Chemical profiles of carrot and conifers showed significant overlap, with 4 out of 9 electrophysiologically active compounds occurring in more than one type of extract, but a carrot-specific compound elicited the most repeated responses. We identified 4 tentative neuron classes and found a rather high degree of neuronal redundancy, with 1 neuron class present in 3 and another present in all 4 of the sensilla, respectively.


External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
  • Zoology


  • sensillum, single sensillum recording, olfaction, host plant, GC-SSR, Trioza apicalis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-769
JournalChemical Senses
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch