The codling moth, Cydia pomonella
L. (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae), is a major pest of apple, pear and walnut orchards worldwide. This pest is often controlled using the biologically friendly control method known as pheromone-based mating disruption. Mating disruption likely exerts selection on the sexual communication system of codling moth, as male and female moths will persist in their attempt to meet and mate. Surprisingly little is known on the intraspecific variation of sexual communication in this species. We started an investigation to determine the level of individual variation in the female sex pheromone composition of this moth and whether variation among different populations might be correlated with use of mating disruption against those populations. By extracting pheromone glands of individual females from a laboratory population in Canada and from populations from apple orchards in Spain and Italy, we found significant between- and within-population variation. Comparing females that had been exposed to mating disruption, or not, revealed a significant difference in sex pheromone composition for two of the minor components. Overall, the intraspecific variation observed shows the potential for a shift in female sexual signal when selection pressure is high, as is the case with continuous use of mating disruption.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited