Perception of host plant volatiles in Hyalesthes obsoletus: behavior, morphology, and electrophysiology.
The Palearctic planthopper Hyalesthes obsoletus is the natural vector of the grapevine yellow disease Bois noir. Grapevine is an occasional host plant of this polyphagous planthopper. To deepen our knowledge of the role of plant volatile organic compounds for H. obsoletus host plant searching, we carried out behavioral, morphological, and electrophysiological studies. We tested the attraction of H. obsoletus to nettle, field bindweed, hedge bindweed, chaste tree, and grapevine by using a Y-shaped olfactometer. The results showed a significant attraction of male H. obsoletus to chaste tree, and of the females to nettle. Male H. obsoletus were repelled by odor from hedge bindweed. Ultrastructural studies of the antennae showed at least two types of olfactory sensilla at the antennal pedicel: plaque organs and trichoid sensilla. Volatile organic compounds from nettle and chaste tree were collected, and the extracts were analyzed by coupling gas-chromatography to both mass-spectrometry and electroantennography. The volatile organic compounds that elicited electrophysiological responses in male and female antennae were identified. These findings are discussed with respect to behavior of H. obsoletus males and females in the field.