FAVARO Riccardo, PhD.
University of Innsbruck
Department of Zoology
Research Group: Applied Animal Ecology
I’m an entomologist with a focus on chemical ecology for the study of insect-plant interactions. I use volatile sampling and analysis, electroantennography, gas-chromatography and behavioural essays to understand the biological role of volatile organic compounds in insect communication.
Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera, Elateridae) are a serious pest in many crops. The aim of my work is to untangle the communication between female beetles and the host plants chosen for egg oviposition, to characterize the attractive volatiles from the most suitable host plants. These will contribute to develop a strategy to manipulate the oviposition behaviour of click beetles, thus reducing the wireworm’s population in arable land.
Moreover, the bioactive compounds triggering the antennal neuronal response could be implemented in enhancing the trapping system performance. So far, traps employ only sexual pheromones for the monitoring of the species, thus catching mainly males. However, it has been showed on other pests that pheromone traps baited with plant attractants capture a large deal of females too, opening to the possibility of population control by female removal, a scenario desired for the click beetles’ issue too.