Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Gastrophysa polygoni herbivory on Rumex confertus: single leaf VOC induction and dose dependent herbivore attraction/repellence to individual compounds.

Abstract

We report large induction (>65fold increases) of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a single leaf of the invasive weed mossy sorrel, Rumex confertus Willd. (Polygonaceae), by herbivory of the dock leaf beetle, Gastrophysa polygoni L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The R. confertus VOC blend induced by G. polygoni herbivory included two green leaf volatiles ((Z)-3-hexenal, (Z)-3-hexen-1-yl acetate) and three terpenes (linalool, β-caryophyllene, (E)-β-farnesene). Uninjured leaves produced small constitutive amounts of the GLVs and barely detectable amounts of the terpenes. A Y-tube olfactometer bioassay revealed that both sexes of adult G. polygoni were attracted to (Z)-3-hexenal and (Z)-3-hexen-1-yl acetate at a concentration of 300 ng h-1. No significant G. polygoni attraction or repellence was detected for any VOC at other concentrations (60 and 1500 ng h-1). Yet, G. polygoni males and females were significantly repelled by (or avoided) at the highest test concentration (7500 ng h-1) of both GLVs and (E)-β-farnesene. Mated male and female G. polygoni might be attracted to injured R. confertus leaves, but might avoid R. confertus when VOC concentrations (especially the terpene (E)-β-farnesene) suggest high overall plant injury from conspecifics, G. viridula, or high infestations of other herbivores that release (E)-β-farnesene (e.g., aphids). Tests in the future will need to examine G. polygoni responses to VOCs emitted directly from uninjured (constitutive) and injured (induced) R. confertus, and examine whether R. confertus VOC induction concentrations increase with greater tissue removal on a single leaf and/or the number of leaves with feeding injury.