• Spodoptera littoralis;
  • moth;
  • olfactory receptors;
  • plant volatiles;
  • electro-physiology;
  • single-sensillum.

Abstract. Receptor neurones with high selectivity and sensitivity to plant odours were found within short sensilla trichodea on the antenna of both female and male Spodoptera littoralis (Boisd.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) by using single-sensillum recording techniques. In 112 sensilla from females and forty-one from males, twenty-four different receptor neurone types were characterized according to their specificity. Altogether, twenty-six plant and three sex pheromone compounds were tested. Receptor neurones responding with high specificity to flower odours, green leaf volatiles, oviposition deterrents and other general host plant odours were identified. In twenty-one receptor neurone types, responses were elicited by one or several plant compounds, and in three types responses were elicited by sex pheromone compounds. The majority of the receptor neurones responded to only one or two of the tested compounds. In general, only one of the two receptor neurones in a sensillum responded to any of the compounds tested. An exception was a receptor neurone responding to plant odours (green leaf volatiles) and another receptor neurone responding to a sex pheromone compound ([Z]-7-dodecenyl (acetate), which occurred in the same sensillum. The majority of the receptor neurones displayed a high sensitivity to plant odours. No morphological difference was identified the different sensillum types.