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Response of Melittia oedipus (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) to Visual Cues Is Increased by the Presence of Food Source

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Visual and olfactory cues were shown to mediate short-distance orientation to different colors in the presence and in the absence of food in Melittia oedipus Oberthür (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae), a biological control agent of Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt (Violales: Cucurbitaceae). Yellow was the color most preferred by M. oedipus, and adults landed significantly more on yellow paper moistened with honey–water. The next preferred colors were gray and white with the identical food source. Colors such as red, blue, green, brown, and black were least preferred by M. oedipus and attracted the adults on par with each other. The M. oedipus landings on petri dishes which held yellow-, gray-, and white-colored papers were significantly higher than the colorless petri dishes with olfactory stimuli only. There was no significant difference in landings on different-colored papers moistened with honey–water or with water alone in the morning compared with those in the evening. The cumulative response of M. oedipus to different-colored papers moistened with honey–water was significantly higher than the colored papers moistened with water only. Correspondingly, the response of M. oedipus to yellow-colored paper moistened with honey–water was significantly higher than the yellow-colored paper moistened with water only. Therefore, yellow paper moistened with honey–water can increase the feeding rate of M. oedipus and can be a potential technique in developing mass cultures for field release to control the invasive weed.

Keywords: Coccinia grandis; Melittia oedipus; adult orientation; olfactory cues; visual cues

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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