Hennessy2021_Article_OlfactoryResponsesOfArgentineS.pdf (886.61 kB)

Olfactory responses of Argentine stem weevil to herbivory and endophyte-colonisation in perennial ryegrass

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posted on 2023-05-03, 21:27 authored by Louise HennessyLouise Hennessy, Alison PopayAlison Popay, Travis Glare, Sarah FinchSarah Finch, Vanessa Cave, Michael Rostas
Argentine stem weevil adults (ASW, Listronotus bonariensis) feed on the leaves of agricultural grasses and their larvae mine the pseudostem, causing extensive damage that can result in plant death. Plants emit volatiles that serve as signals to host-searching insects and these odours can be altered by both herbivory and fungal endophyte-infection. This study investigated whether ASW adults utilise olfaction to identify their host plants, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), and if conspecific herbivory or the presence of Epichloë festucae var. lolii fungal endophytes (strain wild-type or AR1) influenced such responses. Results from olfactometer bioassays established that ASW adults were able to utilise their olfactory response to orient towards volatiles released by perennial ryegrass and further, the weevils displayed a preference for plants previously damaged by conspecific weevils. However, there was no evidence that weevils had the ability to distinguish between endophyte-infected and endophyte-free plants using olfaction alone. Using a push–pull extraction technique, thirteen volatile compounds were identified in the blend released by perennial ryegrass. Endophyte and herbivory were found to alter these volatile compounds and quantities emitted by this forage grass. This study suggests that despite observing differences in the plant volatile blend, ASW do not perceive endophyte (wild-type and AR1) using olfaction alone and must rely on other cues, e.g. contact chemoreception or post-ingestional malaise, to detect the presence of a bioactive endophyte in an otherwise acceptable host plant.


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© The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.


  • English

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Springer Nature

Journal title

Journal of Pest Science




Hennessy, L. M., Popay, A. J., Glare, T. R., Finch, S. C., Cave, V. M., & Rostas, M. (2022). Olfactory responses of Argentine stem weevil to herbivory and endophyte-colonisation in perennial ryegrass. Journal of Pest Science, 95, 263–277. doi:10.1007/s10340-021-01375-2

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