Dr. Sabine Hänniger

   Department of Entomology
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1516Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:+49 (0)3641 57 1502Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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The polyphagous moth Spodoptera frugiperda (Noctuidae) is a pest species occurring in the US and South America. Despite its polyphagous nature, two host strains have been identified: 80% of the larvae collected from corn fields are so-called "corn strain" individuals, while 95% of the larvae collected from pasture and forage grasses belong to the "rice strain", based on several genetic markers. However, recent studies show a less strict host association, so the importance of the host differentiation for the divergence can be questioned.
Differences in the timing of reproductive activity as well as in composition of female sex pheromone and habitat isolation might have resulted in behavioral isolation.

The aim of my PhD is to determine the relative importance and genetic basis of habitat isolation and timing differences between the two strains, focusing on the the allochronic differentiation as potentially more powerful isolation barrier.


  • Volatile collection in lab and field using SuperQ and PoraQ volatile collection traps, analysis with GC-EAD, GC-MS
  • Electrophysiology: GC-EAD, EAG
  • Bioassays: Larval performance, larval preference (choice/ no choice), Oviposition choice (whole plants, plant parts), Attraction to synthetic plant odors in the field and in the wind tunnel, Observation of mating and oviposition behaviour
  • Molecular methods: Population genetic analysis and QTL analysis using AFLP markers, strain diagnosis of S. frugiperda individuals using mitochondrial markers (CO1) and restriction enzymes, strain diagnosis via SNP identification in Sanger sequences of Tpi gene in S. frugiperda, RAD sequencing of S. frugiperda QTL backcrosses


Prof. Dr. Manfred Ayasse, University Ulm, Germany

Dr. David Jenkins, South Carolina Forestry Commission, Forest Insect and Disease

María Laura Juárez, EEAOC Tucumán, RA, Argentina

Dr. Juan Lopez, USDA-ASR College Station, TX

Dr. Melanie Unbehend, MPICE Jena, Germany

Dr. Rob Meagher, USDA-ARS Gainesville, FL, USA

Dr. Silvia Kost, MPICE Jena, Germany

Dr. Gerhard Schöfl, HKI Jena, Germany

Dr. Sybille Unsicker, MPICE Jena, Germany

last updated on 2017-01-10