Adult beetles of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (western corn rootworm) feed on pollen of Zea mays L. (corn) and other plant species. To identify D. virgifera feeding stimulants, beetle responses to mixtures of known and novel phagostimulants, presented at their naturally occurring concentrations in maize pollen, were compared to individual component responses applying the amount occurring in 0.2 mg of pollen per cellulose feeding disk. On a molar basis, three major sugars (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) were more prevalent in corn pollen buffer extract (CPE) than free amino acids. Western corn rootworm feeding was stimulated by the three sugars (28% disk consumption) and, to an even greater extent, by a mixture of 21 free amino acids (41% disk consumption). However, the combination of three sugars and 21 amino acids elicited a level of D. virgifera feeding (41% disk consumption) similar to that of the 21 amino acids alone. A novel maize pollen phagostimulant was purified from CPE by using solid-phase extraction followed by RP-HPLC. Based on its mass fragment pattern, two UV maxima (254 and 359 nm), and previous isolation from maize pollen, this phagostimulant is tentatively identified as isorhamnetin 3-O-neohesperidoside. This compound interacted additively with the mixture of three sugars and 21 amino acids, to produce 77% of the phagostimulation level of CPE. Therefore, a possible stimulatory mechanism for D. virgifera feeding on corn pollen has been elucidated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics