Adult response of the almond seed wasp, Eurytoma amygdali, to chemicals from its host and certain nonhosts



Females of the almond seed wasp, Eurytoma amygdali Enderlein (Hymenoptera, Eurytomidae), responded in an olfactometer positively to odours from almond flowers and unripe fruits, but not to almond leaf odours and odours from flowers and unripe fruits of certain other nonhost Prunus species. Males responded to none of these odours. Extracts of undamaged unripe almond fruits (using ethanol, methanol, acetone, hexane, dichloromethane, or petroleum ether) stimulated female aggregation on glass surfaces treated with these extracts; in addition, certain fruit extracts (ethanol, methanol, or acetone) stimulated oviposition. Extracts of undamaged almond leaves (ethanol, methanol, or acetone) and flowers (ethanol or methanol) also stimulated female aggregation and oviposition. Aggregation and oviposition in response to an ethanol extract of almond fruits was intense in females aged 5 to 14 days and from 12:00 to 18:00 h (photophase between 06:00 and 20:00). Certain almond fruit (ethanol, methanol, acetone or hexane) and flower extracts (ethanol or methanol) also provoked female response in the olfactometer. The results strongly suggest that certain chemical stimuli emanating from parts of the almond tree play a major role in host selection and oviposition. Some of the extracts tested may be a good source for the isolation, identification and synthesis of compounds stimulating attraction, aggregation and oviposition in nature.