Hemipteran pests feed directly on cotton fruiting structures (bolls) causing damage to fiber and yield. Herbivore-induced volatile emissions have been well studied with regard to leaf-chewing insects, but no research has examined the release of volatiles from developing cotton bolls in response to damage from piercing-sucking insects. We compared volatile emissions from bolls in response to feeding damage by brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say), southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula, (L.), and the leaf footed bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus (L.) under laboratory conditions. Volatile emissions from bolls in response to N. viridula and mechanical damage were investigated under field conditions. Volatiles were collected using dynamic head-space sampling and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Under laboratory conditions, feeding by hemipterans resulted in a significant increase in volatile emissions from bolls compared with undamaged bolls. Damaged bolls released significantly greater amounts of acyclic terpenes and methyl ketones compared with undamaged bolls. Feeding by different hemipteran species elicited a similar quantitative increase in emissions, but significant differences were detected in the emissions of some individual compounds. Under field conditions, feeding damage by N. viridula resulted in significantly greater volatile emissions compared with undamaged and mechanically-damaged bolls indicating that physical damage alone did not account for the complete blend of volatiles released in response to biotic injury. During feeding, hemipterans inject a complex blend of salivary and digestive enzymes, and some of these compounds may activate volatile induction from bolls. The implication for piercing-sucking damage on biochemical pathways mediating volatile synthesis is discussed.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3