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Males of the predatory mirid bug Macrolophus caliginosus exploit plant volatiles induced by conspecifics as a sexual synomone

Authors

  • Hamid R. S. Moayeri,

    1. Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj 31587-11167, Iran,
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  • Ahmad Ashouri,

    1. Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj 31587-11167, Iran,
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  • Henrik F. Brødsgaard,

    1. Institute of Integrated Pest Management, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Aarhus DK-4200 Slagelse, Denmark
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  • Annie Enkegaard

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Integrated Pest Management, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Aarhus DK-4200 Slagelse, Denmark
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*Correspondence: Annie Enkegaard, Institute of Integrated Pest Management, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Aarhus DK-4200 Slagelse, Denmark. E-mail: annie.enkegaard@agrsci.dk

Abstract

The olfactory responses of male and female Macrolophus caliginosus Wagner (Heteroptera: Miridae) adults towards volatiles from green bean plants previously exposed to feeding by conspecifics and to direct odours from conspecifics were tested in a Y-tube olfactometer. Female M. caliginosus did not respond to volatiles from plants exposed to mirid feeding or to odours emitted directly by adult mirids. In contrast, male mirid bugs were attracted both to volatiles from plants previously exposed to feeding by conspecific females and to odours emitted by conspecifics only with a marginally significant preference for the former. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that mirid feeding induced the release of 11 additional compounds as compared to the volatiles emitted from clean plants. Three of these substances (5-ethyl-2(5H)-furanone, Z-3-hexenyl tiglate, and E,E-α-farnesene) were released only after feeding by females. Furthermore, 21 compounds were identified in volatiles emitted directly by mirids, 12 of which were unique to the mirids (i.e., not present in clean plants or plants previously exposed to mirid feeding). The results suggest that female-specific herbivore-induced plant volatiles play a role as mate-finding cues by the male mirids. The ecological implications of the findings are discussed, and the term ‘sexual synomone’ is introduced.

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