Geir Kjølberg Knudsen

Engineer

(+47) 922 46 258
geir.knudsen@nibio.no

Place
Landvik

Visiting address
Reddalsveien 215, 4886 Grimstad

Abstract

The apple fruit moth Argyresthia conjugella (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae) is a seed predator of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and is distributed in Europe and Asia. In Fennoscandia (Finland, Norway and Sweden), rowan fruit production is low every 2–4 years, and apple (Malus domestica) functions as an alternative host, resulting in economic loss in apple crops in inter-mast years. We have used Illumina MiSeq sequencing to identify a set of 19 novel tetra-nucleotide short tandem repeats (STRs) in Argyresthia conjugella. Such motifs are recommended for genetic monitoring, which may help to determine the eco-evolutionary processes acting on this pest insect. The 19 STRs were optimized and amplified into five multiplex PCR reactions. We tested individuals collected from Norway and Sweden (n = 64), and detected very high genetic variation (average 13.6 alleles, He = 0.75) compared to most other Lepidoptera species studied so far. Spatial genetic differentiation was low and gene flow was high in the test populations, although two non-spatial clusters could be detected. We conclude that this set of genetic markers may be a useful resource for population genetic monitoring of this economical important insect species.

Abstract

Volatiles emitted by plants convey an array of information through different trophic levels. Animals such as host-seeking herbivores encounter plumes with filaments from both host and non-host plants. While studies showed a behavioral effect of non-host plants on herbivore host location, less information is available on how a searching insect herbivore perceives and flies upwind to a host-plant odor plume within a background of non-host volatiles. We hypothesized here that herbivorous insects in search of a host-plant can discriminate plumes of host and non-host plants and that the taxonomic relatedness of the non-host have an effect on finding the host. We also predicted that the ratio between certain plant volatiles is cognized as host-plant recognition cue by a receiver herbivorous insect. To verify these hypotheses we measured the wind tunnel response of the moth Argyresthia conjugella to the host plant rowan, to non-host plants taxonomically related (Rosaceae, apple and pear) or unrelated to the host (Pinaceae, spruce) and to binary combination of host and non-host plants. Volatiles were collected from all plant combinations and delivered to the test insect via an ultrasonic sprayer as an artificial plume. While the response to the rowan as a plant was not affected by the addition of any of the non-host plants, the attraction to the corresponding sprayed headspace decreased when pear or apple but not spruce were added to rowan. A similar result was measured toward the odor exiting a jar where freshly cut plant material of apple or pear or spruce was intermixed with rowan. Dose-response gas-chromatography coupled to electroantennography revealed the presence of seven field attractive and seven background non-attractive antennally active compounds. Although the abundance of field attractive and of some background volatiles decreased in all dual combinations in comparison with rowan alone, an increased amount of the background compounds (3E)-4,8-Dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene ((E)-DMNT) and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate was found in the rowan-apple and rowan-pear but not in the rowan-spruce headspace. A higher ratio between the abundance of each field attractive component and that of (E)-DMNT and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate was measured for rowan and rowan-spruce in contrast to rowan-pear and rowan-apple headspaces. Our result suggests that the ratio between field attractive and background antennaly active volatiles encodes host-plant recognition in our study system.

Abstract

The apple fruit moth (Argyresthia conjugella (A. conjugella)) in Norway was first identified as a pest in apple production in 1899. We here report the first genetic analysis of A. conjugella using molecular markers. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was applied to 95 individuals from six different locations in the two most important apple-growing regions of Norway. Five AFLP primer combinations gave 410 clear polymorphic bands that distinguished all the individuals. Further genetic analysis using the Dice coefficient, Principal Coordinate analysis (PCO) and Bayesian analyses suggested clustering of the individuals into two main groups showing substantial genetic distance. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed greater variation among populations (77.94%) than within populations (22.06%) and significant and high FST values were determined between the two major regions (Distance = 230 km, FST = 0.780). AFLP analysis revealed low to moderate genetic diversity in our population sample from Norway (Average: 0.31 expected heterozygosity). The positive significant correlation between the geographic and the molecular data (r2 = 0.6700) indicate that genetic differences between the two major regions may be due to geographical barriers such as high mountain plateaus (Hardangervidda) in addition to isolation by distance (IBD).

Abstract

The flight responses of 750 female Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830 (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are investigated in a wind tunnel bioassay. The attraction of C. vicina towards dead mice and seven different synthetic lures made from dimethyl trisulphide, mercaptoethanol and O-cresol is compared. Responses towards natural odours and the three-component synthetic kairomones depend on the flies' ovarian egg developmental status. The natural and three-component lures also induce similar age-dependent responses, although the dead mice lure yields a significantly higher attraction. Oriented flight increases with the number of chemicals in the synthetic kairomone; one-, two- and three-compound lures induce 13–25%, 32–43% and 62% attraction, respectively. Responses to one-component lures are not significantly influenced by egg developmental status, whereas blends of two or three components are. Attraction levels increase in a stepwise manner both across egg developmental categories and with the number of compounds. The results suggest that the attractiveness of synthetic kairomones is influenced not only by the blowflies' physiological state, but also by the complexity of the lure.

Abstract

Herbivorous insects use information about volatile substances to select their host plants. The possibility that insects use these volatiles to assess the infection status of a host plant has rarely been tested. The assessment of host status via olfaction may allow a more successful allocation of time and energy towards the procurement of valuable resources for the offspring. We hypothesized that olfactory cues play a role in providing an herbivorous insect with information about the health status of a potential host plant. To test this hypothesis, we compared the attraction and oviposition response of the grapevine moth, Lobesia botrana, to healthy grapes, Vitis vinifera, with the response to grapes infected with a phytopathogenic fungus, Botrytis cinerea. The fungal infection elicited substantial reductions in both attraction from a distance and oviposition on the host. By preventing contact with the fruits, we found that volatiles from the infected grapes were the signal eliciting the observed behaviour. Experiments with a synthetic compound, 3-methyl-1-butanol, identified in the odour of infected grapes, confirmed the essential function of olfactory cues in this process, both in the laboratory and in the field. In our system, the avoidance of a diseased plant supported the preference performance hypothesis in L. botrana. Results are discussed in relation to the role of fungal volatiles in plant–insect relationships.

To document

Abstract

Apple fruit moth Argyresthia conjugella is a specialist seed predator of rowan Sorbus aucuparia. Large-scale synchronous fluctuation of seed production in rowan (i.e. named masting) drives the apple fruit moth to seek alternative host plants such as apple, during years when rowan berries are not available for oviposition. The role of plant volatile compounds in the attraction of gravid apple fruit moth females is studied in a laboratory wind tunnel. Volatiles from rowan branches with green berries stimulate female moths to fly upwind and to land at the odour source. By contrast, females are not attracted to rowan branches without green berries, and they are not attracted to apple, demonstrating that the chemical stimulus from rowan berries is required for attraction. Attraction to synthetic compounds identified from rowan, anethole and 2-phenyl ethanol confirms the role of plant volatiles in host finding. These two compounds, however, show a discrepant behavioural effect in wind tunnel and field tests. Field traps baited with 2-phenyl ethanol capture female moths but anethole does not produce significant captures. Wind tunnel tests produce the opposite results: moths fly upwind towards the anethole lure, whereas 2-phenyl ethanol is not attractive at all. Wind tunnel attraction to 2-phenyl ethanol is achieved by adding odour from a rowan branch without berries, which is not attractive on its own. This finding demonstrates that interaction with the background odour contributes to the behavioural effect of plant volatile stimuli in the field.