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, 10 (2)

Attraction of Female Aedes aegypti (L.) to Aphid Honeydew

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Attraction of Female Aedes aegypti (L.) to Aphid Honeydew

Daniel A H Peach et al. Insects.

Abstract

Plant sugar is an essential dietary constituent for mosquitoes, and hemipteran honeydew is one of the many forms of plant sugar that is important to mosquitoes. Many insects rely on volatile honeydew semiochemicals to locate aphids or honeydew itself. Mosquitoes exploit volatile semiochemicals to locate sources of plant sugar but their attraction to honeydew has not previously been investigated. Here, we report the attraction of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, to honeydew odorants from the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, and the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, feeding on fava bean, Vicia faba. We used solid phase micro-extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to collect and analyze headspace odorants from the honeydew of A. pisum feeding on V. faba. An eight-component synthetic blend of these odorants and synthetic odorant blends of crude and sterile honeydew that we prepared according to literature data all attracted female A. aegypti. The synthetic blend containing microbial odor constituents proved more effective than the blend without these constituents. Our study provides the first evidence for anemotactic attraction of mosquitoes to honeydew and demonstrates a role for microbe-derived odorants in the attraction of mosquitoes to essential plant sugar resources.

Keywords: Acyrthosiphon pisum; Aedes aegypti; Myzus persicae; Vicia faba; honeydew; honeydew odorants; microbe-emitted odorants; mosquito olfaction; mosquito sugar feeding.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Proportion of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, responding in binary choice Y-tube olfactometer experiments (N = 20–22 replicates) to fava bean plants, Vicia faba, that were non-infested (control) or that were (i) infested with green peach aphids, Myzus persicae (Exp. 1), or pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Exp. 2); (ii) mechanically injured (Exp. 3), or (iii) paired with 100 non-feeding pea aphids. Numbers in parentheses represent the number of mosquitoes selecting a test stimulus, and numbers in square boxes in bars represent the number of non-responding mosquitoes. For each experiment, an asterisk (*) indicates a significant preference for a test stimulus (p < 0.05; exact test of goodness-of-fit).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Total ion chromatogram of pea aphid honeydew odorants collected on, and thermally desorbed from, a solid-phase micro extraction (SPME) fibre. Compound identity is as follows: 1 = butanedione; 2 = unknown; 3 = 3-hydroxybutanone; 4 = 3-methylbutan-1-ol; 5 = 2,3-butanediol; 6 = unknown; 7 = unknown; 8 = 3-methylbutanoic acid; 9 = 2-methylbutanoic acid; 10 = unknown; 11 = unknown; 12 = 2-ethylhexanol; 13 = 2-phenylethanol.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Mean proportion (+SE) of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, captured in Experiments 5 and 6 in paired traps that were baited with the CHD1 (a synthetic blend of crude pea aphid honeydew odorants prepared according to our own data; Figure 2 and Table 2) or fitted with a corresponding solvent (blank) control. Numbers in parentheses represent the total number of mosquitoes selecting a test stimulus, and numbers within white squares indicate the mean percentage of mosquitoes not captured (non-responders). An asterisk (*) indicates a significant preference for a test stimulus (p < 0.05; binary logistic regression). The dose of 2.5 × 101 µL equivalents (eq.) of honeydew approximates the amount of honeydew produced by 25 pea aphids per day [41].
Figure 4
Figure 4
Mean proportion (+SE) of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, captured in Experiments 7–13 in paired traps that were baited with the SHD (a synthetic blend of sterile honeydew-derived odorants prepared according to literature data [32], Table 2) or the CHD2 (a synthetic blend of crude honeydew-derived odorants prepared according to literature data [32], Table 2) at descending doses or that were fitted with a corresponding solvent (blank) control. Numbers in parentheses represent the total number of mosquitoes selecting a test stimulus, and numbers within white squares indicate the mean percentage of mosquitoes not captured. An asterisk (*) indicates a significant preference for a test stimulus (p < 0.05; binary logistic regression). The dose of 2.5 × 101 µL equivalents (eq.) of honeydew approximates the amount of honeydew produced by 25 pea aphids per day [49].
Figure 5
Figure 5
Mean proportion (+SE) of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, captured in Experiments 14–15 in paired traps that were baited with the SHD (a synthetic blend of sterile honeydew-derived odorants prepared according to literature data [32], Table 2) or the CHD2 (a synthetic blend of crude honeydew-derived odorants prepared according to literature data [32], Table 2). Numbers in parentheses represent the total number of mosquitoes selecting a test stimulus, and numbers within white squares indicate the mean percentage of mosquitoes not captured. An asterisk (*) indicates a significant preference for a test stimulus (p < 0.05; binary logistic regression).

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