Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (2): 237-242, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.028

Aphid honeydew: An arrestant and a contact kairomone for Episyrphus balteatus (Diptera: Syrphidae) larvae and adults

Pascal D. LEROY1, Raki ALMOHAMAD1,*, Sabrine ATTIA2, Quentin CAPELLA1, François J. VERHEGGEN1, Eric HAUBRUGE1, Frédéric FRANCIS1
1 Department of Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Passage des Déportés 2, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium; e-mails: almohamad75@yahoo.fr; leroy.pl@gmail.com; capella.quentin@gmail.com; fverheggen@ulg.ac.be; E.haubruge@ulg.ac.be; Frederic.francis@ulg.ac.be
2 Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Passage des Déportés 2, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium; e-mail: sabine_bios5@yahoo.fr

Predator searching efficiency increases in response to a variety of environmental cues associated with its prey. The sugary excretion of aphids (honeydew) has been found to act as a prey-associated cue for many aphid natural enemies. In the present study, the honeydew excreted by Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) was identified as an arrestant and a contact kairomone for young larvae and adults of a common predatory hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus (De Geer) (Diptera: Syrphidae). First and second instar larvae increased their foraging behaviour in the honeydew-treated area. When plants were sprayed with crude honeydew, the speed of movement of female E. balteatus was significantly higher than in controls, resulting in a longer period of time spent on treated plants and laying eggs. We conclude that the honeydew excreted by A. pisum induces searching behaviour and acts as and arrestant not only for adults but also for young E. balteatus larvae.

Keywords: Diptera, Syrphidae, Episyrphus balteatus, Acyrthosiphon pisum, searching behaviour, adults, honeydew, kairomone, larvae

Received: April 3, 2013; Accepted: January 31, 2014; Prepublished online: March 14, 2014; Published: May 5, 2014

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