Title page for ETD etd-12212009-132518

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Frank, Daniel Lee
Author's Email Address dlfrank@vt.edu
URN etd-12212009-132518
Title Plant-insect interactions between female dogwood borer and apple
Degree PhD
Department Entomology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bergh, J. Christopher Committee Chair
Leskey, Tracy C. Committee Co-Chair
Pfeiffer, Douglas G. Committee Member
Salom, Scott M. Committee Member
Zhang, Aijun Committee Member
  • Synanthedon scitula
  • Malus domestica
  • host plant volatiles
  • olfaction
  • rearing
  • geostatistics
  • kriging
  • antennal morphology
  • sensilla
  • GC-EAD
Date of Defense 2009-12-08
Availability unrestricted
A rearing methodology for dogwood borer was developed, using standardized procedures at each developmental stage. These methods enabled the establishment of a laboratory colony and efficient production of synchronized cohorts of each of its lifestages throughout the year for specific experimental needs.

The behavioral repertoire shown by mated female dogwood borer in an apple orchard was characterized and quantified and the diel periodicity with which those behaviors occurred was determined. Mated females were easily recognized, based on their characteristic casting flight directed toward areas below the graft union of apple trees, and were observed more frequently during the late afternoon and evening. Casting flight, probing with the ovipositor, and oviposition were the most frequent behaviors observed, but the duration of those behaviors was relatively short compared with the much lengthier periods of resting behavior that typically occurred within the canopy.

Data from a previous, three-year study in two newly planted apple orchards were subjected to geostatistical analyses to examine the temporal and spatial patterns of infestation by larval dogwood borer and to gain further information about the spatial scales at which oviposition occurs. There were moderate to high degrees of aggregation of dogwood borer infestations on neighboring apple trees, with ranges of spatial dependence from 7.50–19.87 m. No directionality was observed in the spatial autocorrelation of infestation and it appears that females utilized oviposition sites equally along and across orchard rows. The aggregated nature of infestations requires that random, independent samples must be taken from a number of sample pairs at distances greater than the range of spatial dependence to ensure that sample data are not autocorrelated. Alternatively, an efficient sampling program for mapping dogwood borer infestation can be achieved by limiting sample points to distances within the range of spatial dependence. These sample points can be used in interpolating algorithms, such as kriging, to predict infestation at unsampled locations in space for use in site-specific pest management programs.

The external morphology of male and female dogwood borer antennae and their sensilla were examined using light and scanning electron microscopy to characterize, measure and compare the types, number, and distribution of sensilla. Although the general shape and size of male and female antennae were similar, those from females possessed a greater number of generally smaller antennal flagellomeres. The flagellum of both male and female antennae contained seven sensillum types including auricillica, basiconica, chaetica, coeloconica, squamiformia, styloconica, and three subtypes of sensilla trichoidea. With the exception of sensilla basiconica, which were present in roughly equal numbers on male and female antennae, all other sensillum types were significantly more abundant on female antennae. The antennae of female dogwood borer appear well equipped to perceive olfactory stimuli, based on the types and number of sensilla present.

Coupled gas chromatography and electroantennogram detection (GC-EAD) analyses of headspace collections from damaged and undamaged tissues from apple and dogwood trees were conducted to examine and compare the antennal responsiveness of female dogwood borer to host plant volatiles. A total of 16 and 9 compounds from apple and dogwood tissues, respectively, consistently elicited an antennal response in females. There were no differences in the response of antennae from virgin and mated females, and the amplitude of the female response to host odors was greater than that of males. Six compounds were identified from the headspace collections from apple trees, four of which (octanal, nonanal, decanal, and methyl salicylate) were identified from all apple tissues sampled. A novel compound, α-bergamotene, was identified from injured apple bark, from apple burr knots infested with dogwood borer larvae and from larval dogwood borer frass, and appears to be produced by apple trees in response to injury. Another novel compound, methyl-2,4-decadienoate, was identified from infested burr knot tissue and appears to be produced in response to an insect-plant interaction. Two compounds, hexanoic and nonanoic acid, were identified from headspace collections from dogwood trees.

Numerous approaches were used to examine the behavioral response of mated female dogwood borer to host plant headspace collections and to individual compounds from those collections that elicited a strong and repeatable antennal response. Under both natural and semi-natural conditions in the field and in laboratory bioassays, neither attraction/orientation or consistent oviposition were documented and it is apparent that correlating the electrophysiological and behavioral responses of mated female dogwood borer to olfactory stimuli from their host plants will require further research on bioassay development.

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