Volatile chemical profile of the feeding hosts of the coconut scale insect, Aspidiotus rigidus Reyne
The coconut industry represents a major agricultural industry, especially in tropical countries. Coconut - derived products have found widespread applications, and are commercially valuable. One of the major insect pests is the coconut scale insect, Aspidiotus rigidus Reyne. This has recently infested significant portions of coconut plantations in the Philippines. Effective pest control management strategies are therefore needed in order to address the current infestation, and prevent future occurrences. One effective method is the use of kairomones, semiochemicals that attract the pest to their hosts. However, information about the semiochemicals related to A. rigidus still remains largely unknown. In this study, new feeding hosts for A. rigidus were identified, and their volatile chemical profiles based from healthy and non-infested leaves were obtained through gas-chromatography mass spectrometry. The volatile profiles of some of the feeding hosts coconut, mangosteen, areca, and licuala showed the presence of a common compound, propanoic acid, 2-methyl-, 2,2-dimethyl-1-(2-hydroxy-1-methylethyl) propyl ester. This compound may play a role in the host detection and feeding behavior of A. rigidus. The results presented in this study are potentially useful in deepening our understanding about the behavior of A. rigidus, which will be beneficial in the development of effective kairomone-based pest control strategy.