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      Aphid and Plant Volatiles Induce Oviposition in an Aphidophagous Hoverfly


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          Episyrphus balteatus DeGeer (Diptera, Syrphidae) is an abundant and efficient aphid-specific predator. We tested the electroantennographic (EAG) response of this syrphid fly to the common aphid alarm pheromone, (E)-β-farnesene (EβF), and to several plant volatiles, including terpenoids (mono- and sesquiterpenes) and green leaf volatiles (C6 and C9 alcohols and aldehydes). Monoterpenes evoked significant EAG responses, whereas sesquiterpenes were inactive, except for the aphid alarm pheromone (EβF). The most pronounced antennal responses were elicited by six and nine carbon green leaf alcohols and aldehydes [i.e., ( Z)-3-hexenol, ( E)-2-hexenol, ( E)-2-hexenal, and hexanal]. To investigate the behavioral activity of some of these EAG-active compounds, E. balteatus females were exposed to R-(+)-limonene (monoterpene), ( Z)-3-hexenol (green leaf alcohol), and EβF (sesquiterpene, common aphid alarm pheromone). A single E. balteatus gravid female was exposed for 10 min to an aphid-free Vicia faba plant that was co-located with a semiochemical dispenser. Without additional semiochemical, hoverfly females were not attracted to this plant, and no oviposition was observed. The monoterpene R-(+)-limonene did not affect the females’ foraging behavior, whereas ( Z)-3-hexenol and EβF increased the time of flight and acceptance of the host plant. Moreover, these two chemicals induced oviposition on aphid-free plants, suggesting that selection of the oviposition site by predatory hoverflies relies on the perception of a volatile blend composed of prey pheromone and typical plant green leaf volatiles.

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          Ecology of Infochemical Use by Natural Enemies in a Tritrophic Context

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            Caterpillar-induced nocturnal plant volatiles repel conspecific females.

            Plants respond to insect herbivory by synthesizing and releasing complex blends of volatile compounds, which provide important host-location cues for insects that are natural enemies of herbivores. The effects of these volatile blends on herbivore behaviour have been investigated to only a limited extent, in part because of the assumption that herbivore-induced volatile emissions occur mainly during the light phase of the photoperiod. Because many moths-whose larvae are some of the most important insect herbivores-are nocturnal, herbivore-induced plant volatiles have not hitherto been considered to be temporally available as host-location cues for ovipositing females. Here we present chemical and behavioural assays showing that tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum) release herbivore-induced volatiles during both night and day. Moreover, several volatile compounds are released exclusively at night and are highly repellent to female moths (Heliothis virescens). The demonstration that tobacco plants release temporally different volatile blends and that lepidopteran herbivores use induced plant signals released during the dark phase to choose sites for oviposition adds a new dimension to our understanding of the role of chemical cues in mediating tritrophic interactions.
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              How caterpillar-damaged plants protect themselves by attracting parasitic wasps.

              Parasitic and predatory arthropods often prevent plants from being severely damaged by killing herbivores as they feed on the plants. Recent studies show that a variety of plants, when injured by herbivores, emit chemical signals that guide natural enemies to the herbivores. It is unlikely that herbivore-damaged plants initiate the production of chemicals solely to attract parasitoids and predators. The signaling role probably evolved secondarily from plant responses that produce toxins and deterrents against herbivores and antibiotics against pathogens. To effectively function as signals for natural enemies, the emitted volatiles should be clearly distinguishable from background odors, specific for prey or host species that feed on the plant, and emitted at times when the natural enemies forage. Our studies on the phenomena of herbivore-induced emissions of volatiles in corn and cotton plants and studies conducted by others indicate that (i) the clarity of the volatile signals is high, as they are unique for herbivore damage, produced in relatively large amounts, and easily distinguishable from background odors; (ii) specificity is limited when different herbivores feed on the same plant species but high as far as odors emitted by different plant species and genotypes are concerned; (iii) the signals are timed so that they are mainly released during the daytime, when natural enemies tend to forage, and they wane slowly after herbivory stops.

                Author and article information

                J Chem Ecol
                Journal of Chemical Ecology
                Springer-Verlag (New York )
                6 February 2008
                March 2008
                : 34
                : 3
                : 301-307
                [1 ]Department of Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agricultural University, Gembloux, Belgium
                [2 ]Department of Bioorganic chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
                [3 ]Unité Technique COVs Qualité de l’air, Institut scientifique de service public, Liege, Belgium
                © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008
                : 17 September 2007
                : 16 November 2007
                : 16 January 2008
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

                eag,green leaf volatiles,terpenoids,plant-insect interaction,oviposition induction,predator,electroantennography,episyrphus balteatus,(e)-β-farnesene


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