Rhopalosiphum padi (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Responses to Volatile Cues From Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus–Infected Wheat

Karla J. Medina-Ortega, Nilsa A. Bosque-Perez, Esther Ngumbi, Edgardo S. Jiménez-Martínez, Sanford D. Eigenbrode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In choice bioassays, Rhopalosiphum padi L. nonviruliferous apterae preferentially locate near volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV)-infected wheat plants compared with VOCs from noninfected plants. However, the specific VOCs responsible for R. padi responses are unknown. It is unclear also if R. padi responses to BYDV-infected wheat are caused by arrestment or attraction. Additionally, the responses of viruliferous apterae and nonviruliferous alate to BYDV-infected wheat have not been examined. R. padi responses were studied through emigration, immigration, and settling laboratory bioassays using BYDV-infected and noninfected wheat plants. Two wheat genotypes, virus-susceptible Lambert and virus-resistant Lambert-derived transgenic 103.1J expressing the BYDV-PAV coat protein gene, were evaluated. In a settling bioassay, alates preferentially settled on noninfected 103.1J. Responses of viruliferous and nonviruliferous R. padi to virus-infected, noninfected, and sham-inoculated (exposed to nonviruliferous aphids) Lambert and 103.1J were examined in separate bioassays. A paper leaf model served as a control. Immigration by viruliferous apterae was significantly lower toward the paper leaf model, but no significant differences were observed among plant treatments. Nonviruliferous apterae exhibited no significant differences in emigration among treatments, suggesting no arrestment occurred. Nonviruliferous apterae significantly preferred to immigrate toward BYDV-infected Lambert. Immigration toward the paper leaf model was significantly lower compared with plant treatments. Responses of R. padi to VOCs were tested by applying compounds to paper leaf models at concentrations designed to mimic those present in headspace of wheat plants. Nonviruliferous apterae immigrated in significantly greater numbers toward paper leaf models individually treated with nonanal, (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, decanal, caryophyllene, and undecane than toward paper leaf models that served as controls and toward leaf models treated with synthetic blends made to mimic headspace of BYDV-infected compared with blends made to mimic headspace of noninfected wheat plants. Results suggest responses of R. padi to BYDV-infected plants are caused by attraction rather than arrestment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-845
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Barley yellow dwarf virus epidemiology
  • Bird cherry-oat aphid
  • Plant-insect-virus interactions
  • Transgenic virus resistance
  • Virus-induced volatiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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