Sex pheromone blend discrimination in two races and hybrids of the European corn borer moth, Ostrinia nubilalis


Department of Entomology, NyS Ag Exp Station, Cornell University, Geneva, Ny 14456, U.S.A.


Abstract. The response specificity of males of two races, and hybrids, of the European corn borer moth, to a large series of doses/ratios of E- and Z11-14:OAc, was determined in a sustained-flight tunnel. For both races an area of peak response was determined, which included the natural ratio eliciting peak levels of source contact, and other treatments eliciting response profiles over the behavioural sequence not significantly different from the peak. Consistent with studies on other moth species response specificity was controlled by two threshold effects, one affecting locking-on to odour plumes of lower doses and off-ratios containing lower proportions of the E or Z isomer than the natural blend, and the other resulting in arrestment of upwind flight to higher doses and off-ratios containing higher proportions of the E or Z isomer man the natural blend. A comparison of the size of the areas of peak response showed that males of the univoltine Z race (UZ) using a 3:97 E:Z mix displayed greater specificity and sensitivity than did males of the bivoltine E race (BE) responding to a 99:1 E:Z pheromone mix. At doses higher than those eliciting peak response (<100 μg) response specificity was lower for both races, but especially for the BE race, with increased levels of upwind flight and source contact occurring to off-ratios. Finally, consistent with a previous behaviour/genetic study on this species, F1 hybrid males displayed peak levels of source contact not only to their natural isomer ratio (65:35 E:Z), but also to an expanded range of doses of ratios ranging from 2% to 98% E.