The preference choices of Conopomorpha sinensis Bradley (Lepidoptera: Gracilariidae) for litchi based on its host surface characteristics and volatiles.
Conopomorpha sinensis Bradley is a host-specific pest of Litchi chinensis and Euphoria longan. Here, we demonstrated that C. sinensis has evolved special physical and chemical mechanisms for host plant location that enable it to survive and reproduce. Females favored laying their eggs on the convex surface of litchi fruit that had particular volatile characteristics. Experiments using a H-type olfactometer showed that female C. sinensis were attracted to litchi flowers, tender shoots, immature fruits, and mature fruits, with the highest attraction rate to mature fruits (74.67±2.31%). There were no significant differences in the attraction of male C. sinensis to different litchi tissues. Further oviposition preference tests using the pericarp, pulp, and seeds of mature litchi fruits revealed that female C. sinensis prefer to lay their eggs on the pericarp. Litchi volatiles were found to be important in attracting C. sinensis to fruits for oviposition. Analysis of volatiles from different litchi tissues by HS-SPME-GC-MS revealed 31 similar volatiles, some of which may be important in the oviposition preference choices of C. sinensis on litchi fruit.