The eucalyptus weevil, Gonipterus spp. Schoenherr, 1833 (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) is considered a major pest of eucalyptus plantations. In regions where control is achieved, success is usually brought by the action of the solitary egg parasitoid Anaphes nitens (Girault, 1928) (Hymenoptera, Mymaridae). Research was conducted to ascertain which cues might mediate female wasp host location and selection. In Petri dish arenas, females were attracted to Gonipterus platensis Marelli, 1927 egg capsules, to G. platensis mated female faeces and to leaves of Eucalyptus globulus Labillardière, 1799. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry electroantennographic detection analysis was conducted using extracts obtained from leaves of E. globulus, from G. platensis egg capsules, as well as from adults of both sexes and their faeces, in order to detect and identify compounds perceived by the wasp's olfactory system. The parasitoids were shown to detect a wide range of compounds emitted by each one of these sources, and for 31 compounds, antennal response was confirmed by dose-response tests. Further behavioural trials were conducted in Petri dishes in order to decode the effect, on parasitoid behaviour, of selected compounds emitted by E. globulus and of the pheromones, emitted by the weevils on parasitoid behaviour. Attraction was observed to two compounds emitted by E. globulus, namely 1,8-cineole and γ-terpinene, and to the main component of the male sex/aggregation pheromone, cis-verbenol. To our knowledge, this is the first report of attraction of a parasitoid from the family Mymaridae to a component of its host's sexual/aggregation pheromone. Similarly, to other egg parasitoid species, A. nitens females are likely to use the host plant volatiles as long-range host location cues and to adopt the ‘infochemical detour’ strategy in order to get in the vicinity of their hosts.
- egg parasitoid
- infochemical detour