Phase-independent responses to phase-specific aggregation pheromone in adult desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria (Orthoptera: Acrididae)
Njagi, P. G. N.
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Volatiles from solitary-reared (solitarious) and crowd-reared (gregarious) adult male desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskal) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), were quantitatively and qualitatively different. In particular, solitarious males did not emit phenylacetonitrile, a key component of the aggregation pheromone produced by gregarious adult males. In laboratory bioassays, solitarious and gregarious adults of both sexes responded similarly to the natural aggregation pheromone blend, the major pheromone component phenylacetonitrile, and a synthetic pheromone blend comprising benzaldehyde, guaiacol, phenylacetonitrile and phenol. EAG measurements showed significant differences in the responsiveness of adults of the two phases to the four synthetic components at high doses; however, the general response patterns were similar. These results suggest that the gregarious adult male aggregation pheromone may play a role in the arrestment and subsequent recruitment of solitarious individuals into gregarious or gregarizing groups during the early stages of a locust outbreak.