Disruption of Pheromone Communication in Tecia solanivora (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae): Flight Tunnel and Field Studies

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Abstract:

The moth Tecia (Scrobipalpopsis) solanivora Povolny (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is the most important pest of potato, Solanum spp., in Central America and adjacent South American countries. Insecticide treatments are not sufficiently effective; therefore, we investigated the feasibility of pheromone-mediated mating disruption for control of T. solanivora. Pheromone dispensers were formulated with 70 mg of the three sex pheromone compounds (E)-3-dodecenyl acetate, (Z)-3-dodecenyl acetate, and dodecyl acetate, in a ratio of 100:56:100, respectively. Male attraction to these compounds is optimal at a ratio of 100:1:20, thus the mating disruption dispensers contained an off-blend, which attracted only a few males. Nonetheless, one mating disruption dispenser suppressed male attraction to calling females in a flight tunnel and reduced male activation in response to female pheromone. Communication disruption is accordingly due to camouflage of the female signal and possibly due to a reduction of male responsiveness by sensory imbalance. Only a few males were observed in a 3-ha potato field treated with 84 g pheromone/ha, compared with an untreated control field. During 2 mo, male attraction to traps baited with calling females or synthetic pheromone was strongly reduced. This reduction confirms the potential of mating disruption for management of T. solanivora. The efficacy of the pheromone treatment can be further improved by earlier dispenser application, by increased dispenser load, and by treatment of larger fields to reduce immigration of mated females.



RESUMEN La polilla Guatemalteca Tecia (Scrobipalpopsis) solanivora Povolny es la plaga en papa más importante en algunos países de Centro y Sur America. Debido a que su control con insecticidas químicos no es del todo eficiente, SE investigó la técnica de la interrupción de la cópula como alternativa para su control. Dispensadores fueron formulados con la feromona conteniendo 70 mg de los compuestos (E)-3-dodecenyl acetato, (Z)-3-dodecenyl acetato y dodecyl acetato, en la proporción de 100:56:100 respectivamente. La atracción de machos fue óptima con la proporción 100:1:20 de estos compuestos. No obstante, en túnel de viento la respuesta de vuelo de machos hacia hembras receptivas, fue totalmente suprimida con uno de estos dispensadores. La interrupción en la comunicación, con la reducción en la respuesta de machos por el camuflaje de la feromona emitida por las hembras, fue debido posiblemente a los mecanismos de desequilibrio sensorial en los machos evaluados. Muy pocos machos fueron vistos en un área de three ha sembrada con papa y tratada con estos dispensadores a razón de 84 g feromona/ha, en comparación con un área no tratada. Durante dos meses, la captura de machos en trampas con hembras así como en trampas con la feromona sintética fue reducida. Estos resultados indican el potencial de esta técnica para el manejo de la polilla guatemalteca de la papa.

Keywords: Tecia solanivora; integrated pest management; mating disruption; potato; sex pheromone

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-99.4.1245

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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