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Few sensory cues differentiate host and dead-end trap plant for the sugarcane spotted borer Chilo sacchariphagus (Lepidoptera: Crambidae)

Jacob V., Tibere R., Nibouche S.. 2021. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 47 : p. 153-166.

DOI: 10.18167/DVN1/ZVM4LI

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-020-01240-z

The use of Erianthus arundinaceus as a trap plant in association with sugarcane reduces populations of the spotted sugarcane stalk borer Chilo sacchariphagus (Bojer) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). This grass acts as a dead-end trap crop because it is the preferred plant for oviposition relative to sugarcane, and it precludes larval development. We explored the chemical mechanisms involved in host choice by C. sacchariphagus. We showed that the insect's antennal receptors are particularly sensitive to the shared compounds found in the volatile emissions produced by sugarcane and E. arundinaceus. In accordance with their phylogenetic proximity, the two plant species share many physicochemical properties, which suggests that C. sacchariphagus has few sensory cues to differentiate between the two. The terpene (E)-ß-ocimene is constitutively emitted by E. arundinaceus, but not by sugarcane. It elicits an electroantennographic response and behavioral responses from female C. sacchariphagus in Y-tube bioassays. Our study suggests that the sensory confusion between host plants, combined with a marginal sensory difference orienting the choice of an egg-laying site, constitutes a mechanism that is relevant to trap cropping. Systems based on this type of mechanism could provide long-term protection for crops vulnerable to insect pests.

Mots-clés : chilo sacchariphagus; saccharum; erianthus arundinaceus; culture piège; culture associée; insecte déprédateur des tiges; spectrométrie de masse; chromatographie en phase gazeuse; chimiorécepteur; récepteurs sensoriels; terpénoïde; ocimène

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