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The role of volatiles from stemborer host and non-host plants in the host-finding process of Dentichasmias busseolae Heinrich (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) a pupal parasitoid of Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) was studied. The non-host plant, molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora Beauv. (Poaceae)), is reported to produce some volatile compounds known to be attractive to some parasitoid species. The studies were conducted to explore the possibility of intercropping stemborer host plants with molasses grass in order to enhance the foraging activity of D. busseolae in such a diversified agro-ecosystem. Olfactometric bioassays showed that volatiles from the host plants maize, Zea mays L., and sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) (Poaceae), were attractive to the parasitoid. Infested host plants were the most attractive. Volatiles from molasses grass were repellent to the parasitoid. Further tests showed that volatiles from infested and uninfested host plants alone were preferred over those from infested and uninfested host plants combined with the non-host plant, molasses grass. In dual choice tests, the parasitoid did not discriminate between volatiles from maize infested by either of the two herbivore species, C. partellus or Busseola fusca Fuller (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Volatiles from sorghum infested by C. partellus were preferred over those from C. partellus-infested maize. The study showed that the pupal parasitoid D. busseolae uses plant volatiles during foraging, with those from the plant-herbivore complex being the most attractive. The fact that volatiles from molasses grass were deterrent to the parasitoid suggested that intercropping maize or sorghum with molasses grass was not likely to enhance the foraging behaviour of D. busseolae. Volatiles from the molasses grass may hinder D. busseolae's host location efficiency
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ID: 251949