Response of olfactory receptor neurons in Varroa destructor mites to attractant and repellent semiochemicals
LE3 .A278 2015
Bachelor of Science
Apiculture is an economically important industry that has been suffering from a suite of detriments in recent years, particularly from infestations of the obligate, ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman (Parasitiformes: Varroidae). These mites feed on haemolymph of adult and developing western honey bees, frequently causing additional pathology, which likely makes V. destructor the main driver of colony losses that are occurring worldwide. Mites possess numerous hair-like projections (sensilla) on their bodies through which they can sense attractants and repellents within honey bee colonies. I performed single sensillum recordings of olfactory receptor neurons within sensilla on the right leg-like structure (pedipalp) of these mites to evaluate their response to a variety of behaviourally-relevant volatile biochemicals. Preliminary results from 21 sensilla exposed to 13 volatiles indicate a significant neuronal response to benzaldehyde, octanoic and palmitic acid, geraniol, methyl oleate and decanal. By investigating how sensilla detect and process such odorants, we may develop new approaches to modifying V. destructor behaviour and, ultimately, their life cycle, to the benefit of honey bees.
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