Chemical cues for host location by the chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus.
Dryocosmus kuriphilus is one of the most damaging pests of Castanea spp. Behavioral, chemical, and electrophysiological investigations were employed to examine the role of plant volatiles for host location by this thelytokuos cynipid. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays showed that adult wasps are significantly attracted by C. sativa twigs with at least 1-hr-old mechanical damage. Odors of undamaged host seedlings, intact twigs, and twigs with a fresh mechanical damage were not attractive. Wasps were repelled by plant materials of the non-host Prunus laurocerasus. Fourteen compounds, mainly general green leaf volatiles, were identified in the head-space of attractive host plant twigs by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. All compounds elicited dose-dependent antennal responses in adult wasps. A synthetic blend comprising all identified compounds in the same ratio as in the attractive host source induced significant positive responses in Y-tube olfactometer bioassays. The study gives a basis for future identification of host plant attractants that could contribute to semiochemical-based monitoring and management practices of this pest.