• Oriental fruit moth;
  • pink bollworm;
  • Grapholita molesta;
  • Pectinophora gossypiella;
  • sex pheromone;
  • behavioural thresholds;
  • temperature

ABSTRACT. The response specificity of male Oriental fruit moths, Grapholita molesta (Busck) and pink bollworm moths, Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders), to different blends and doses of pheromone is altered dramatically by temperature. When acclimated and tested in a flight tunnel at 20oC males of both species exhibit a high degree of specificity, with peak response levels occurring to a narrow range of blend-dose combinations close to the natural blend. When tested at 26oC, however, males exhibit a significantly lower degree of specificity, with peak response occurring to a broader range of treatments. The change in response specificity results from shifts in behavioural threshold effects influencing plume orientation and initiation of upwind flight, as well as from arrestment of upwind flight, occurring later in the flight sequence. The observed changes in male behaviour suggest that the effect of temperature is directly on neural pathways involved in the perception of odour, and not simply the result of an increase in motor activity or a significant change in the release rate of the pheromone. The results support the threshold hypothesis for pheromone perception (Roelofs, 1978) as a general principle in the Lepidoptera, but also show that the degree of response specificity can be significantly affected by temperature.