• Behavioural control;
  • Brassica campestris;
  • Chrysanthemum morifolium;
  • host range expansion;
  • Plutella xylostella;
  • semiochemicals


Foraging adults of phytophagous insects are attracted by host-plant volatiles and supposedly repelled by volatiles from non-host plants. In behavioural control of pest insects, chemicals derived from non-host plants applied to crops are expected to repel searching adults and thereby reduce egg laying. How experience by searching adults of non-host volatiles affects their subsequent searching and oviposition behaviour has been rarely tested. In laboratory experiments, we examined the effect of experience of a non-host-plant extract on the oviposition behaviour of the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, a specialist herbivore of cruciferous plants. Naive ovipositing DBM females were repelled by an extract of dried leaves of Chrysanthemum morifolium, a non-host plant of DBM, but experienced females were not repelled. Instead they were attracted by host plants treated with the non-host-plant extract and laid a higher proportion of eggs on treated than on untreated host plants. Such behavioural changes induced by experience could lead to host-plant range expansion in phytophagous insects and play an important role in determining outcome for pest management of some behavioural manipulation methods.