Grape root borer, Vitacea polistiformis (Harris), is an oligophagous and potentially destructive pest of grape in commercial vineyards throughout much of the eastern United States. Larvae feed on vine roots, although little is known about their below-ground interactions with host plants. The behavioral response of groups of grape root borer neonates to stimuli from host and nonhost roots was evaluated in single and paired stimuli bioassays in which stimuli were presented in opposing wells attached to the bottom of petri dish arenas. Stimulus sources included root pieces and root headspace volatiles from 3309 and 420-A grape rootstocks (host) and apple (nonhost) and ethanol-based extracts of 3309 and 420-A roots. In single stimulus assays, signiFIcantly more larvae were recovered from wells containing grape roots, apple roots, grape extracts, and grape root volatiles than from control wells, but there was no significant response to volatiles collected from the headspace of apple roots. In paired stimuli assays, significantly more larvae were recovered from wells containing grape than apple roots. There was no difference in larval distribution between wells when 420-A and 3309 roots were presented simultaneously, although a significantly greater response to 3309 than 420-A root extract was recorded.Whensoil was added to the assays, significantly more larvae were recovered from wells containing grape roots than from those containing only soil, but this response was not detected in assays using buried apple roots. These results are discussed in relation to the plant—insect interactions between grape root borer larvae and their Vitaceae hosts.
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Vol. 42 • No. 6