Odour-mediated orientation of beetles is influenced by age, sex and morph
Arnold, Sarah E.J., Stevenson, Philip C. and Belmain, Steven R. (2012) Odour-mediated orientation of beetles is influenced by age, sex and morph. PLOS ONE, 7 (11):e49071. ISSN 1932-6203 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049071)
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The behaviour of insects is dictated by a combination of factors and may vary considerably between individuals, but small insects are often considered en masse and thus these differences can be overlooked. For example, the cowpea bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus F. exists naturally in two adult forms: the active (flight) form for dispersal, and the inactive (flightless), more fecund but shorter-lived form. Given that these morphs show dissimilar biology, it is possible that they differ in odour-mediated orientation and yet studies of this species frequently neglect to distinguish morph type, or are carried out only on the inactive morph. Along with sex and age of individual, adult morph could be an important variable determining the biology of this and similar species, informing studies on evolution, ecology and pest management. We used an olfactometer with motion-tracking to investigate whether the olfactory behaviour and orientation of C. maculatus towards infested and uninfested cowpeas and a plant-derived repellent compound, methyl salicylate, differed between morphs or sexes. We found significant differences between the behaviour of male and female beetles and beetles of different ages, as well as interactive effects of sex, morph and age, in response to both host and repellent odours. This study demonstrates that behavioural experiments on insects should control for sex and age, while also considering differences between adult morphs where present in insect species. This finding has broad implications for fundamental entomological research, particularly when exploring the relationships between physiology, behaviour and evolutionary biology, and the application of crop protection strategies.
|Additional Information:|| First published: November 7, 2012.  Published as: PLOS ONE, (2012), Vol. 7, (11) : e49071.  Copyright: © 2012 Arnold et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.  PLOS ONE is an open-access journal.|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||storage pests, cowpea weevil, odour-mediated orientation, olfaction, sensory ecology, chemical ecology, entomology, insect behaviour, botanical insecticides|
|Subjects:||Q Science > QH Natural history|
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
|School / Department / Research Groups:||Natural Resources Institute|
Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment
|Last Modified:||20 Jun 2013 09:38|
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