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Flower and fruit volatiles assist host-plant location in the Tomato fruit fly Neoceratitis cyanescens

Brévault T., Quilici S.. 2010. Physiological Entomology, 35 (1) : p. 9-18.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3032.2009.00704.x

Mature females of the tomato fruit fly Neoceratitis cyanescens can detect host fruit at a short distance using only visual stimuli, but little is known about the role of airborne volatile cues in the host searching strategy. A series of experiments is conducted in a laboratory wind tunnel, in which the behavioural responses of individual flies to volatiles from Solanaceae host plants (including tomato Lycopersicum esculentum Mill., bug weed Solanum mauritianum Scop. and Turkey berry Solanum torvum Sw.) are observed, according to some environmental (air speed) and physiological (age and mating status of females, time of day) factors. Mature females respond primarily to specific olfactory cues from blends of flowers or host fruit, preferentially unripe fruit for bug weed, as opposed to ripe fruit for Turkey berry or tomato. Males are also highly attracted by the odour of unripe fruit of bug weed. Wind plays a key role, as shown by the proportion of flies that reach the upwind section of the tunnel in the presence of both fruit odour and air flow (66.7%) and in the absence of either fruit odour (13.3%) or wind (36.7%). In response to fruit volatiles carried by wind, flies embark in a 'plume tracking' or 'aim and shoot' flight, consistent with odour-conditioned anemotaxis. Females respond to host fruit odour regardless of their age, egg load or mating status, and also more consistently in the afternoon, which is their preferential time of day for egg-laying. Searching behaviour and response to host volatiles in N. cyanescens are discussed in the light of host-finding and an adaptive strategy.

Mots-clés : tephritidae; solanum lycopersicum; comportement animal; odeur; fleur; plante hôte; identification; réunion; france; neoceratitis cyanescens

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