Harmonia axyridis Pallas is an introduced lady beetle common in eastern North American agroecosystems. Two-choice behavioral bioassays were performed to determine whether visual and olfactory stimuli from prey and host habitats could elicit taxis in wild-collected H. axyridis adults and whether beetles exhibit a preference among stimuli. Soybean aphid (Aphis glycines Matsumura) spends much of the year in agricultural hedgerows residing on buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L), and H. axyridis is frequently observed feeding on aphids in this habitat. Olfactory bioassays were performed in a Y-tube olfactometer and tested the response of beetles to the odor of buckthorn leaves, apple leaves (Malus domestica Borkh.), and buckthorn leaves both naturally and artificially infested with A. glycines. No differences were observed between the numbers of beetles moving toward the odor of buckthorn artificially infested with A. glycines and uninfested buckthorn, but more beetles preferred naturally infested buckthorn over uninfested buckthorn. Visual bioassays were performed in an acrylic tube arena,and tested beetle response to silhouettes and to apple and buckhorn leaves. Beetles were significantly more likely to choose silhouettes over blank space in visual trials. Significantly more beetles moved toward buckthorn leaves than blank space, but beetles did not discern between apple and buckthorn until olfactory cues were also included. This study lays the foundation for future work examining the response of H. axyridis to visual and olfactory cues in Ontario agroecosystems, which could help enhance effectiveness of H. axyridis as a biological control and mitigate its impacts as a pest species.
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