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Keywords:

  • Meligethes aeneus;
  • Brassica napus;
  • host-plant location;
  • odourmediated anemotaxis;
  • dispersal;
  • mark-release–recapture

Abstract. The behavioural response of adults of the pollen beetle, Meligethes aeneus F. (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), to the odour of one of their host-plants, oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.), was observed in the laboratory using a fourarmed airflow olfactometer, and under semi-natural conditions using a markrelease–recapture technique. Oilseed rape leaf and flower odour was attractive to pollen beetles in the olfactometer and they dispersed upwind from the centre of a circular array (radius 20 m) of yellow water traps, baited with extracts of oilseed rape leaves or flowers. The dispersal of pollen beetles in the absence of oilseed rape odour was predominantly downwind and crosswind. The percentage recapture of pollen beetles was significantly greater in traps baited with rape flower extracts than leaf extracts. Pollen beetles can use odour-mediated upwind anemotaxis to locate oilseed rape plants from distances of at least 20 m over open ground.