Role of Plant Volatiles in Host Plant Recognition by Listronotus
maculicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
Olga S. Kostromytska
Hans T. Alborn
Albrecht M. Koppenhöfer
Received: 12 March 2018 /Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 /Published online: 9 May 2018
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
The annual bluegrass weevil (ABW), Listronotus maculicollis Kirby, is an economically important pest of short cut turfgrass.
Annual bluegrass, Poa annua L., is the most preferred and suitable host for ABW oviposition, larval survival and development.
We investigated the involvement of grass volatiles in ABW host plant preference under laboratory and field conditions. First,
ovipositional and feeding preferences of ABW adults were studied in a sensory deprivation experiment. Clear evidence of
involvement of olfaction in host recognition by ABW was demonstrated. Poa annua was preferred for oviposition over three
bentgrasses, Agrostis spp., but weevils with blocked antennae did not exhibit significant preferences. ABW behavioral responses
to volatiles emitted by Agrostis spp. and P. annua were examined in Y-tube olfactometer assays. Poa annua was attractive to
ABW females and preferred to Agrostis spp. cultivars in Y-tube assays. Headspace volatiles emitted by P. annua and four
cultivars of Agrostis stolonifera L. and two each of A. capillaris L. and A. canina L. were extracted, identified and compared.
No P. annua specific volatiles were found, but Agrostis spp. tended to have larger quantities of terpenoids than P. annua.(Z)-3-
hexenyl acetate, phenyl ethyl alcohol and their combination were the most attractive compounds to ABW females in laboratory
Y-tube assays. The combination of these compounds as a trap bait in field experiments attracted adults during the spring
migration, but was ineffective once the adults were on the short-mown turfgrass. Hence, their usefulness for monitoring weevil
populations needs further investigation.
Keywords Annual bluegrass weevil
Plant host preference
The annual bluegrass weevil (ABW), Listronotus maculicollis
Kirby, is a highly destructive and expanding pest of short-
mown golf turf in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of
the United States and in southeastern Canada (Vittum 2012).
Overuse of synthetic insecticides for ABW management due
to the lack of effective management alternatives combined
with high turfgrass quality expectations has led to widespread
development of resistance to pyrethroids (Ramoutar et al.
2009; Kostromytska et al. 2018) and insecticides from several
other chemical classes (Koppenhöfer et al. 2012;
Kostromytska et al. 2018; McGraw and Koppenhöfer 2017).
Reducing the use of and reliance on chemical control is crucial
for the development of more sustainable approaches for ABW
management. Cost-effective, reliable, and consistent methods
for monitoring ABW are critical to estimate timing and densi-
ties of populations thereupon to base management activities.
However, presently available ABW monitoring methods are
ineffective (cutting out turf pieces with a knife) or impractical
and/or labor intensive (salt- or heat extraction of ABW stages
from turf cores, vacuum sampling) (McGraw and
Koppenhöfer 2009) and hence rarely used.
Semiochemical attractants (plant volatiles, pheromones)
are widely used for monitoring of many insect pests. Various
weevil species have been shown to respond to host-plant vol-
atiles (e.g., Szendrei et al. 2009). McGraw et al. (2011)sug-
gested that volatiles emitted by the preferred host, annual
* Olga S. Kostromytska
Department of Entomology, Rutgers University, 96 Lipman Dr., New
Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Department of Entomology, Philip E. Marucci Blueberry and
Cranberry Research Center, Rutgers University, 125a Lake Oswego,
Chatsworth, NJ 08019, USA
USDA, ARS, SEA, CMAVE, 1600-1700 SW 23rd Dr.,
Gainesville, FL 32608, USA
Journal of Chemical Ecology (2018) 44:580–590