Influence of odor from wood-decaying fungi on host selection behavior of deathwatch beetle, Xestobium rufovillosum.

Belmain SR, Simmonds MS, Blaney WM.

School of Biological & Chemical Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, United Kingdom.


Adult females of Xestobium rufovillosum de Geer demonstrated anemotactic orientation when exposed to an odor plume containing volatiles generated by wood-decaying fungi (Coriolus versicolor, Donkioporia expansa) and decayed oak wood (Quercus petraea, Quercus robur). They did not orient towards undecayed oak wood, beech (Fagus sylvatica), or pine wood (Pinus sylvestris). Although all insects tested showed anemotactic orientation, responses were nonlinear with respect to insect age. Adult females more readily oriented upwind when they were between 10 and 16 days old. Oviposition choice bioassays showed that ovipositing females would preferentially oviposit on extract-treated cellulose paper discs that had been treated with various strains of the wood-decaying fungus, Donkioporia expansa. HPLC-fractionated mycelial extracts were attractive to ovipositing deathwatch beetles, whereas HPLC-fractionated fungal broth extracts were repellent to ovipositing females. The implications of these results are discussed in the context of timber pest management in historically important buildings.

PMID: 12035923 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]