Sonia Ganassi; Pasquale Cascone; Carmela Di Domenico; Marco Pistillo; Giorgio Formisano; Massimo Giorgini; Pasqualina Grazioso; Giacinto S. Germinara; Antonio De Cristofaro & Emilio Guerrieri.
February 20, 2020.
The meadow spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius, is a highly polyphagous widespread species, playing a major role in the transmission of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa subspecies pauca, the agent of the “Olive Quick Decline Syndrome”. Essential oils (EOs) are an important source of bio-active volatile compounds that could interfere with basic metabolic, biochemical, physiological, and behavioural functions of insects. Here, we report the electrophysiological and behavioural responses of adult P. spumarius towards some EOs and related plants. Electroantennographic tests demonstrated that the peripheral olfactory system of P. spumarius females and males perceives volatile organic compounds present in the EOs of Pelargonium graveolens, Cymbopogon nardus and Lavandula officinalis in a dose-dependent manner. In behavioral bioassays, evaluating the adult responses towards EOs and related plants, both at close (Y-tube) and long range (wind tunnel), males and females responded differently to the same odorant. Using EOs, a clear attraction was noted only for males towards lavender EO. Conversely, plants elicited responses that varied upon the plant species, testing device and adult sex. Both lavender and geranium repelled females at any distance range. On the contrary, males were attracted by geranium and repelled by citronella. Finally, at close distance, lavender and citronella were repellent for females and males, respectively. Our results contribute to the development of innovative tools and approaches, alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides, for the sustainable control of P. spumarius aiming to contrasting the expansion of X. fastidiosa.