Susceptibility of Eucalyptus globulus to Mnesampela privata defoliation in relation to a specific foliar wax compound
Rapley, LP and Allen, GR and Potts, BM, Susceptibility of Eucalyptus globulus to Mnesampela privata defoliation in relation to a specific foliar wax compound, Chemoecology, 14, (3-4) pp. 157-163. ISSN 0937-7409 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Increased abundance of several aliphatic benzyl and phenylethyl alkanoates were previously associated with reduced defoliation of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. by the autumn gum moth (Mnesampela privata Guenée) in two clonally replicated F2 families. We examine the robustness of this association by comparing the abundance of the implicated foliar wax compounds with defoliation levels in three plantation sites and a genetics trial in northern Tasmania. At all locations, the aliphatic alkanoate, benzyl n-tetracosanoate (C24), was found in significantly higher abundance in the foliar wax of E. globulus trees that had displayed low M. privata damage (designated resistant) compared to trees that had displayed high damage (designated susceptible). Further, when sites were combined, benzyl n-tetracosanoate (C24) accounted for 16 % of variation in field defoliation. Field defoliation was also positively correlated to M. privata oviposition both in the field and on foliage sprigs in a cage. In the cage bioassay, oviposition accounted for 20 % of variation in field defoliation making it a better predictor of tree defoliation in the field than either field oviposition, which accounted for 9 % of variation, or screening foliage for the abundance of benzyl n-tetracosanoate (C24). Despite both benzyl n-tetracosanoate (C24) and oviposition being related to field defoliation, there was no statistically significant relationship between the abundance of benzyl n-tetracosanoate (C24) and oviposition in the field or cage bioassay. Further work is therefore required to determine if increased levels of this compound in the foliar wax operates as a direct deterrent to M. privata oviposition.