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Characterization of olfactory sensory neurons in the white clover seed weevil, Apion fulvipes (Coleoptera: Apionidae).

  • Martin N Andersson
  • Mattias Larsson
  • Glenn Svensson
  • Göran Birgersson
  • Maj Rundlöf
  • Ola Lundin
  • Åsa Lankinen
  • Olle Anderbrant
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 1325-1333
Publication/Series: Journal of Insect Physiology
Volume: 58
Issue: 10
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

Abstract english

Seed-eating Apion weevils (Coleoptera: Apionidae) cause large economic losses in white and red clover seed production across Europe. Monitoring and control of clover weevils would be facilitated by semiochemical-based methods. Until now, however, nothing was known about physiological or behavioral responses to semiochemicals in this insect group. Here we analyzed the antenna of the white clover (Trifolium repens L.) specialist Apion fulvipes Geoffroy with scanning electron microscopy, and used single sensillum recordings with a set of 28 host compounds to characterize 18 classes of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). Nine of the OSN classes responded strongly to synthetic compounds with high abundance in clover leaves, flowers, or buds. Eight classes responded only weakly to the synthetic stimuli, whereas one collective class responded exclusively to volatiles released from a crushed clover leaf. The OSNs showed a remarkable degree of specificity, responding to only one or a few chemically related compounds. In addition, we recorded a marked difference in the temporal dynamics of responses between different neurons, compounds, and doses. The identified physiologically active compounds will be screened for behavioral activity, with the ultimate goal to develop an odor-based control strategy for this pest.


  • Zoology
  • Ecology


  • Biological control of insect pests in clover seed crops
  • Pheromone Group
  • ISSN: 1879-1611