Canadian Forest Service Publications

Influence of light on sound production behaviors in the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis. 2018. Peter J. Silk, Lucas E. Roscoe, Matt Brophy, Jessica Price, Krista L. Ryall. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 166: 844–853

Year: 2018

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40367

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1111/eea.12727

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Recent research has demonstrated that the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), uses visual and chemical cues when locating potential mates and host trees. Here, we present the first evidence of the production of acoustic cues, potentially associated with mate finding. We demonstrate for the first time that simultaneous wing opening and head “pumping” in both males and females produce specific and distinct sounds. Acoustic recordings demonstrate that these sounds consist of a phrase comprising a ‘click’ generated by wing opening, followed by two separate chirps corresponding to the outward and subsequent inward movement of the head. Mean primary and secondary chirp durations were, respectively, 0.332 ± 0.038 s and 0.414 ± 0.046 s for males and 0.414 ± 0.046 s and 0.389 ± 0.032 s for females. Overall mean phrase durations were 0.905 ± 0.114 s in males and 1.133 ± 0.133 s in females. Mean maximum phrase frequencies were 8706.1 ± 141.1 Hz and 7885.0 ± 499.2 Hz in males and females, respectively. There were no significant differences in sound parameters between males and females. Scanning electron microscopy images showed the presence of possible pars stridens and plectrum structures on the ventral surfaces of the gula and pronotum in both males and females. Furthermore, we observed that the proportion of males and females exhibiting these specific behaviors were significantly greater under both halogen and incandescent light than under darkness, signifying the importance of light source or type on the production of acoustic signals. Our results represent the first discovery of acoustic signaling behavior in A. planipennis, which was significantly influenced by light conditions.

Plain Language Summary

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a serious pest of ash trees in Canada and the United States. Since its first discovery in 2002, EAB has killed millions of ash trees in forest and urban centers in Canada and the eastern United States. Due to the severe ecological and economic effects associated with EAB’s spread across the continent, extensive research into management and mitigation strategies for EAB have been undertaken. A critical component of this management strategy is the development of effective tools for detecting and quantifying populations. Such a tool is essential for identifying outbreak populations and for measuring the effectiveness of eradication techniques on EAB populations. A detection trap that uses attractive plant and pheromone volatiles to detect EAB adults was developed by CFS scientists and is the principal detection for monitoring EAB populations. This trap exploits visual and chemical cues used by EAB adults to locate host trees and one another. An additional, as yet undescribed, sensory modality in EAB is the role of acoustic cues produced by adults. In this article, we describe for the first time the existence of quantifiable and detectable acoustic sounds generated by EAB adults. These sounds appear to be consistent between males and females and are strongly influenced by light perception. Adults only produced sounds under halogen or incandescent lights and never under darkness. Our results illustrate a new and interesting communication pathway in EAB and provide an exciting opportunity for the exploration of sound- and light-induced behavior in this invasive species.