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The insect ovipositor as a volatile sensor within a closed microcosm

Yadav, Pratibha and Borges, Renee M (2017) The insect ovipositor as a volatile sensor within a closed microcosm. In: JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 220 (9). pp. 1554-1557.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.152777

Abstract

We show that the insect ovipositor is an olfactory organ that responds to volatiles and CO2 in gaseous form. We demonstrate this phenomenon in parasitic wasps associated with Ficus racemosa where ovipositors, as slender as a human hair, drill through the syconium (enclosed inflorescences) and act as a guiding probe to locate highly specific egg-laying sites hidden inside. We hypothesize that olfaction will occur in the ovipositors of insects such as parasitic fig wasps where the hosts are concealed and volatile concentrations can build up locally. Relevant stimuli such as herbivore-induced fig volatiles and CO2 elicited electrophysiological responses from the ovipositors. Silver nitrate staining also revealed pores in ovipositor sensilla, indicating their olfactory nature. Insects could use volatile sensors on their ovipositors to evaluate ecologically relevant stimuli for oviposition. Further investigations on the sensory nature of ovipositors can provide designs for development of ovipositor-inspired micro-chemosensors.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the COMPANY OF BIOLOGISTS LTD, BIDDER BUILDING CAMBRIDGE COMMERCIAL PARK COWLEY RD, CAMBRIDGE CB4 4DL, CAMBS, ENGLAND
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2017 09:37
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2017 09:37
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/57096

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