Electrophysiological and oviposition responses of Tuta absoluta females to herbivore-induced volatiles in tomato plants.
In response to attack by herbivorous insects, plants produce semiochemicals for intra- and interspecific communication. The perception of these semiochemicals by conspecifics of the herbivore defines their choice for oviposition and feeding. We aimed to investigate the role of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) by Tuta absoluta larvae on the oviposition choice of conspecific females on tomato plants. We performed two-choice and non-choice bioassays with plants damaged by larvae feeding and intact control plants. We also collected headspace volatiles of those plants and tested the response of female antennae on those blends with Gas Chromatography-Electro-Antennographical Detection (GC-EAD). In total 55 compounds were collected from the headspace of T. absoluta larvae-infested plants. Our results show that female moths preferred to oviposit on intact control plants instead of damaged ones. Herbivory induced the emission of hexanal, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, (E)-β-ocimene, linalool, (Z)-3-hexenyl butanoate, methyl salicylate, indole, nerolidol, guaidiene-6,9, β-pinene, β-myrcene, α-terpinene, hexenyl hexanoate, β-elemene, β-caryophyllene and (E-E)-4,8,12-trimethyl-1,3,7,11-tridecatetraene (TMTT), one unidentified sesquiterpene and three unknown compounds. In Electroantennographic (EAG) assays, the antennae of T. absoluta females responded to hexanal, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, methyl salicylate and indole. The antennae of T. absoluta females exhibited a dose-response in EAG studies with authentic samples. Strong EAG responses were obtained for compounds induced on damaged tomato plants, as well as in nonanal, a compound emitted by both infested and control plants. These compounds could be utilized in integrated pest management of T. absoluta.