Behavioral responses of the woolly whitefly Aleurothrixus floccosus (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) to volatile organic compounds emitted from Citrus at laboratory conditions

Tommy Rioja1, Víctor Tello1, Natalí Fernandez2, and Ricardo Ceballos2*
Insects use biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) as chemical cues to find their host plants and colonize them. Studies of olfactory responses have reported that BVOCs released by host plants attract whiteflies. The citrus woolly whitefly, Aleurothrixus floccosus (Maskell) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is a serious foliar pest, infesting citrus orchards at the Pica Oasis, Tarapacá Region, Chile. We studied the attractant behavior of A. floccosus toward BVOCs emitted from lime (Citrus × aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle), mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco), and tangelo (Citrus reticulata× Citrus × paradisi Macfad.) shoots. We collected volatiles from living plants using dynamic head space technique for 24 h. The BVOCs released by the Citrus species were collected on Porapak Q traps and analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The chemical analysis revealed differences in abundances of monoterpenes,sesquiterpenes and aldehydes; thus, D-limonene (33.44%) was the most abundant compound in lime and significantly higher than mandarin and tangelo. On the other hand, sabinene (12.36%), nonanal (28.06%) and caryophyllene (22.97%) were more abundant in mandarin. Tangelo showed high abundance of β-phellandrene (17.01%), nonanal (17.87%) and caryophyllene (16.01%). In the two-choice bioassays, we found 13.5% and 17.1% more A. floccosus females in lime than in mandarin and tangelo, respectively. Our findings show that the volatile profile of 'Limón de Pica', C. aurantiifolia, elicits the strongest attractive behavior of A. floccosus females in the olfactometry experiments.
Keywords: BVOCs, Citrus, olfactometric bioassay, woolly whitefly.
1Universidad Arturo Prat, Facultad de Recursos Naturales Renovables, Campus Huayquique, Av. Arturo Prat s/n, Iquique, Chile. 2Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, INIA Quilamapu, Av. Vicente Méndez 515, Chillán, Chile.*Corresponding author (rceballos@inia.cl).