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Chemical ecology of Cyclocephala forsteri (Melolonthidae), a threat to macauba oil palm cultivars (Acrocomia aculeata, Arecaceae)

quinta-feira, outubro 03, 2019

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Authors: Artur Campos Dália Maia; Letícia Koutchin Reis; Daniela Maria do Amaral Ferraz Navarro; Flavio Aristone; Carlos Augusto Colombo; Javier Carreño‐Barrera; Luis Alberto Núñez‐Avellaneda; Geanne Karla Novais Santos

Abstract: The environmental unsustainability of African oil palm crops is a growing worldwide concern, and the macauba palm in tropical Southern America surges as the most viable substitute for the production of first‐generation biodiesel as a renewable fuel. Large‐scale cultivation of the macauba palm, however, is bound to suffer a major setback due to the fast emergence of a florivorous pest threat, Cyclocephala forsteri, a scarab beetle species that can severely reduce fruit yield. 

Like other congenerics, female and male C. forsteri are night‐foraging and driven in large numbers to macauba palm inflorescences by specific volatile organic compounds. In the present study, we assessed the kairomonal cues involved in this plant–florivore interaction and their potential application in selective pest management strategies. Headspace samples of the floral fragrance of macauba palms at our study site in Central Brazil were largely dominated by 4‐methylanisole (>97% relative amount), which along with the minor constituents 2‐isopropyl‐3‐methoxypyrazine and 2‐sec‐butyl‐3‐methoxypyrazine triggered electroantennographic responses from both female and male C. forsteri. 

Field behavioural assays evidenced that beetles of this species were exclusively attracted to scented traps baited with 4‐methylanisole. Increased total scent discharge attained with an ultrasonic piezoelectric diffuser has positively influenced attractiveness efficiency of the trapping setup. 4‐Methylanisole is hereby identified as yet another volatile kairomone involved in highly selective attraction of potential pest florivorous cyclocephaline scarabs associated with economically exploitable palms and should be viewed as a key element in short‐term integrated management plans for the cultivation of the macauba palm in South America.

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Page: Wiley Online Library

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