Waxy bloom on grape berry surface is one important factor for oviposition of European grapevine moths
Grapevine moths are severe pest insects in European viticulture. Oviposition by grapevine moths is largely influenced by several physical and chemical cues located on the surface of their host plant’s fruits. The contribution of waxy bloom layer on the berry surface for oviposition decision of two European grapevine moth species, Eupoecilia ambiguella and Lobesia botrana, was investigated. An experimental setup was developed to prove oviposition preferences of both species for certain grape varieties and developmental stages based on epicuticular wax extracts. Chemical analysis of epicuticular wax patterns of four different Vitis vinifera varieties revealed differences. However, oleanolic acid was the main component on berry surface waxes and its relative amount decreased between early and late phenological stages. Furthermore, oleanolic acid was responsible for the preference of earlier phenological stages for E. ambiguella oviposition. However, ovipositional variety preferences were triggered by minor components on the wax berry layer. While the oviposition decision of L. botrana was mainly triggered by oleanolic acid, additional cues like olfactory and haptic ones were also important. The ovipositional preferences were discussed in accordance with the results of the chemical analysis in order to elucidate the role of wax compounds for oviposition stimulation.