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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7827615, 10 pages
Research Article

VOCs-Mediated Location of Olive Fly Larvae by the Braconid Parasitoid Psyttalia concolor: A Multivariate Comparison among VOC Bouquets from Three Olive Cultivars

1Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80, 56124 Pisa, Italy
2Interdepartmental Research Center Nutrafood “Nutraceuticals and Food for Health”, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
3Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Via Bonanno 6, 56126 Pisa, Italy

Received 1 October 2015; Revised 11 January 2016; Accepted 13 January 2016

Academic Editor: Heather Simpson

Copyright © 2016 Giulia Giunti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Herbivorous activity induces plant indirect defenses, as the emission of herbivorous-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), which could be used by parasitoids for host location. Psyttalia concolor is a larval pupal endoparasitoid, attacking a number of tephritid flies including B. oleae. In this research, we investigated the olfactory cues routing host location behavior of P. concolor towards B. oleae larvae infesting three different olive cultivars. VOCs from infested and healthy fruits were identified using GC-MS analyses. In two-choice behavioral assays, P. concolor females preferred infested olive cues, which also evoked ovipositional probing by female wasps. GC-MS analysis showed qualitative and quantitative differences among volatiles emitted by infested and healthy olives. Volatile emissions were peculiar for each cultivar analyzed. Two putative HIPVs were detected in infested fruits, regardless of the cultivar, the monoterpene (E)-β-ocimene, and the sesquiterpene (E-E)-α-farnesene. Our study adds basic knowledge to the behavioral ecology of P. concolor. From an applied point of view, the field application of the above-mentioned VOCs may help to enhance effectiveness of biological control programs and parasitoid mass-rearing techniques.