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Chemical characterization of contact semiochemicals for host-recognition and host-acceptance by the specialist parasitoid Cotesia plutellae (Kurdjumov)

Roux O., Gers C., Tene-Ghomsi J.N., Arvanitakis L., Bordat D., Legal L.. 2007. Chemoecology, 17 (1) : p. 13-18.

DOI: 10.1007/s00049-006-0351-y

Cotesia plutellae is a specialist parasitoid of Plutella xylostella. This specificity is potentially under the control of several factors before and after oviposition. Thereby, the stimuli that lead female parasitoids to host locations and to oviposition, might be at the basis of the specificity. We explore here the response of C. plutellae females exposed to host cuticular lipids. A total cuticular lipid extract of host caterpillars was fractionated into a hydrocarbon fraction and a non-hydrocarbon fraction. Neither fraction alone had any effect on oviposition behaviour in C. plutellae but the hydrocarbon fraction alone did seem to have a positive effect on the rate of antennal contact by the females. To induce oviposition behaviour, both fractions were necessary and reflect cooperation between at least one compound in each fraction. Identification of cuticular lipids shows that hydrocarbons were dominant (77%). Non-hydrocarbon compounds were mainly represented by 15-nonacosanone (18% of the total lipid extract). This ketone is rare in insect cuticle lipids and is thought to originate from the cabbage epicuticle where it is dominant with n-C29 and 14- and 15-nonacosanol also found among the cuticular lipids of the host caterpillar.

Mots-clés : cotesia plutellae; plutella xylostella; lipide; cuticule animale; relation hôte parasite; parasitoïde; substance sémiochimique

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