Field and laboratory-choice experiments were conducted to understand aspects of host plant orientation by the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in Virginia. In laboratory bioassays, L. decemlineata oriented to volatiles emitted by potato, Solanum tuberosum L., foliage over both tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum L., and eggplant, Solanum melongena L., foliage, and eggplant over tomato foliage, all of which had been mechanically damaged. Field choice tests revealed more L. decemlineata adults, larvae, and egg masses on eggplant than on tomato. In other experiments, counts of live L. decemlineata on untreated paired plants and counts of dead beetles on imidacloprid-treated plants did not differ between potato and eggplant. L. decemlineata was significantly attracted to eggplant over both tomato and pepper. To determine whether feeding adults affected orientation to host plants, an imidacloprid-treated eggplant or potato plant was paired with an untreated eggplant or potato plant covered in a mesh bag containing two adult male beetles. Significantly more adults were attracted to eggplant with feeding male beetles paired with another eggplant than any other treatment combination. These results indicate that the presence of male L. decemlineata on plants affects host plant orientation and suggests that the male-produced aggregation pheromone may be involved.
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