Attractiveness of host plants at different growth stage to kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria (Heteroptera: Plataspidae): behavioral responses to whole plant and constitutive volatiles.
The kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius), is an invasive pest of soybeans, Glycine max (L.) Merr., that has recently been detected in the United States. This study investigated whether there was a differential attraction of adult bugs to soybean growth stages, and whether the attraction was related to soybean constitutive volatiles. Greenhouse choice assays examined the behavioral orientation preference of adult bugs exposed to four growth stages of whole soybean plants: vegetative (V2), flowering (R1), pod (R3), and seed (R5). Results show that significantly more adults landed on plants in the early reproductive stage R1 than in other stages. Laboratory olfactometer assays also demonstrate that significantly more adult bugs were attracted to R1 plants, with females responding more strongly than males. Both greenhouse and olfactometer assays indicate that the differential attraction of adult bugs to soybean growth stages was mediated by plant constitutive volatiles. These results offer an insight into kudzu bug chemical and behavioral ecology and thus are of great significance for optimizing the timing of field scouting and treatment as well as the development of soybean pest management programs.