Science.gov

Sample records for insect herbivore plutella

  1. Plant Defense against Insect Herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Fürstenberg-Hägg, Joel; Zagrobelny, Mika; Bak, Søren

    2013-01-01

    Plants have been interacting with insects for several hundred million years, leading to complex defense approaches against various insect feeding strategies. Some defenses are constitutive while others are induced, although the insecticidal defense compound or protein classes are often similar. Insect herbivory induce several internal signals from the wounded tissues, including calcium ion fluxes, phosphorylation cascades and systemic- and jasmonate signaling. These are perceived in undamaged tissues, which thereafter reinforce their defense by producing different, mostly low molecular weight, defense compounds. These bioactive specialized plant defense compounds may repel or intoxicate insects, while defense proteins often interfere with their digestion. Volatiles are released upon herbivory to repel herbivores, attract predators or for communication between leaves or plants, and to induce defense responses. Plants also apply morphological features like waxes, trichomes and latices to make the feeding more difficult for the insects. Extrafloral nectar, food bodies and nesting or refuge sites are produced to accommodate and feed the predators of the herbivores. Meanwhile, herbivorous insects have adapted to resist plant defenses, and in some cases even sequester the compounds and reuse them in their own defense. Both plant defense and insect adaptation involve metabolic costs, so most plant-insect interactions reach a stand-off, where both host and herbivore survive although their development is suboptimal. PMID:23681010

  2. Environmental RNAi in herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Ivashuta, Sergey; Zhang, Yuanji; Wiggins, B Elizabeth; Ramaseshadri, Partha; Segers, Gerrit C; Johnson, Steven; Meyer, Steve E; Kerstetter, Randy A; McNulty, Brian C; Bolognesi, Renata; Heck, Gregory R

    2015-05-01

    Environmental RNAi (eRNAi) is a sequence-specific regulation of endogenous gene expression in a receptive organism by exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Although demonstrated under artificial dietary conditions and via transgenic plant presentations in several herbivorous insects, the magnitude and consequence of exogenous dsRNA uptake and the role of eRNAi remains unknown under natural insect living conditions. Our analysis of coleopteran insects sensitive to eRNAi fed on wild-type plants revealed uptake of plant endogenous long dsRNAs, but not small RNAs. Subsequently, the dsRNAs were processed into 21 nt siRNAs by insects and accumulated in high quantities in insect cells. No accumulation of host plant-derived siRNAs was observed in lepidopteran larvae that are recalcitrant to eRNAi. Stability of ingested dsRNA in coleopteran larval gut followed by uptake and transport from the gut to distal tissues appeared to be enabling factors for eRNAi. Although a relatively large number of distinct coleopteran insect-processed plant-derived siRNAs had sequence complementarity to insect transcripts, the vast majority of the siRNAs were present in relatively low abundance, and RNA-seq analysis did not detect a significant effect of plant-derived siRNAs on insect transcriptome. In summary, we observed a broad genome-wide uptake of plant endogenous dsRNA and subsequent processing of ingested dsRNA into 21 nt siRNAs in eRNAi-sensitive insects under natural feeding conditions. In addition to dsRNA stability in gut lumen and uptake, dosage of siRNAs targeting a given insect transcript is likely an important factor in order to achieve measurable eRNAi-based regulation in eRNAi-competent insects that lack an apparent silencing amplification mechanism.

  3. Environmental RNAi in herbivorous insects

    PubMed Central

    Ivashuta, Sergey; Zhang, Yuanji; Wiggins, B. Elizabeth; Ramaseshadri, Partha; Segers, Gerrit C.; Johnson, Steven; Meyer, Steve E.; Kerstetter, Randy A.; McNulty, Brian C.; Bolognesi, Renata; Heck, Gregory R.

    2015-01-01

    Environmental RNAi (eRNAi) is a sequence-specific regulation of endogenous gene expression in a receptive organism by exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Although demonstrated under artificial dietary conditions and via transgenic plant presentations in several herbivorous insects, the magnitude and consequence of exogenous dsRNA uptake and the role of eRNAi remains unknown under natural insect living conditions. Our analysis of coleopteran insects sensitive to eRNAi fed on wild-type plants revealed uptake of plant endogenous long dsRNAs, but not small RNAs. Subsequently, the dsRNAs were processed into 21 nt siRNAs by insects and accumulated in high quantities in insect cells. No accumulation of host plant-derived siRNAs was observed in lepidopteran larvae that are recalcitrant to eRNAi. Stability of ingested dsRNA in coleopteran larval gut followed by uptake and transport from the gut to distal tissues appeared to be enabling factors for eRNAi. Although a relatively large number of distinct coleopteran insect-processed plant-derived siRNAs had sequence complementarity to insect transcripts, the vast majority of the siRNAs were present in relatively low abundance, and RNA-seq analysis did not detect a significant effect of plant-derived siRNAs on insect transcriptome. In summary, we observed a broad genome-wide uptake of plant endogenous dsRNA and subsequent processing of ingested dsRNA into 21 nt siRNAs in eRNAi-sensitive insects under natural feeding conditions. In addition to dsRNA stability in gut lumen and uptake, dosage of siRNAs targeting a given insect transcript is likely an important factor in order to achieve measurable eRNAi-based regulation in eRNAi-competent insects that lack an apparent silencing amplification mechanism. PMID:25802407

  4. Plant defences against herbivore and insect attack

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Plants deploy a number of defences against attack by insects and other herbivores. Direct defence is conferred by plant products and structures that deter or kill the herbivores. Chemical toxins and deterrents vary widely among plant species, and some typical toxins include alkaloids, terpenoids, st...

  5. Mechanisms of plant defense against insect herbivores

    PubMed Central

    War, Abdul Rashid; Paulraj, Michael Gabriel; Ahmad, Tariq; Buhroo, Abdul Ahad; Hussain, Barkat; Ignacimuthu, Savarimuthu; Sharma, Hari Chand

    2012-01-01

    Plants respond to herbivory through various morphological, biochemicals, and molecular mechanisms to counter/offset the effects of herbivore attack. The biochemical mechanisms of defense against the herbivores are wide-ranging, highly dynamic, and are mediated both by direct and indirect defenses. The defensive compounds are either produced constitutively or in response to plant damage, and affect feeding, growth, and survival of herbivores. In addition, plants also release volatile organic compounds that attract the natural enemies of the herbivores. These strategies either act independently or in conjunction with each other. However, our understanding of these defensive mechanisms is still limited. Induced resistance could be exploited as an important tool for the pest management to minimize the amounts of insecticides used for pest control. Host plant resistance to insects, particularly, induced resistance, can also be manipulated with the use of chemical elicitors of secondary metabolites, which confer resistance to insects. By understanding the mechanisms of induced resistance, we can predict the herbivores that are likely to be affected by induced responses. The elicitors of induced responses can be sprayed on crop plants to build up the natural defense system against damage caused by herbivores. The induced responses can also be engineered genetically, so that the defensive compounds are constitutively produced in plants against are challenged by the herbivory. Induced resistance can be exploited for developing crop cultivars, which readily produce the inducible response upon mild infestation, and can act as one of components of integrated pest management for sustainable crop production. PMID:22895106

  6. Inhibition of lipoxygenase affects induction of both direct and indirect plant defences against herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Bruinsma, Maaike; van Broekhoven, Sarah; Poelman, Erik H; Posthumus, Maarten A; Müller, Martin J; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel

    2010-02-01

    Herbivore-induced plant defences influence the behaviour of insects associated with the plant. For biting-chewing herbivores the octadecanoid signal-transduction pathway has been suggested to play a key role in induced plant defence. To test this hypothesis in our plant-herbivore-parasitoid tritrophic system, we used phenidone, an inhibitor of the enzyme lipoxygenase (LOX), that catalyses the initial step in the octadecanoid pathway. Phenidone treatment of Brussels sprouts plants reduced the accumulation of internal signalling compounds in the octadecanoid pathway downstream of the step catalysed by LOX, i.e. 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) and jasmonic acid. The attraction of Cotesia glomerata parasitoids to host-infested plants was significantly reduced by phenidone treatment. The three herbivores investigated, i.e. the specialists Plutella xylostella, Pieris brassicae and Pieris rapae, showed different oviposition preferences for intact and infested plants, and for two species their preference for either intact or infested plants was shown to be LOX dependent. Our results show that phenidone inhibits the LOX-dependent defence response of the plant and that this inhibition can influence the behaviour of members of the associated insect community.

  7. Multimodal Protein Constructs for Herbivore Insect Control

    PubMed Central

    Sainsbury, Frank; Benchabane, Meriem; Goulet, Marie-Claire; Michaud, Dominique

    2012-01-01

    Transgenic plants expressing combinations of microbial or plant pesticidal proteins represent a promising tool for the efficient, durable control of herbivorous insects. In this review we describe current strategies devised for the heterologous co-expression of pesticidal proteins in planta, some of which have already shown usefulness in plant protection. Emphasis is placed on protein engineering strategies involving the insertion of single DNA constructs within the host plant genome. Multimodal fusion proteins integrating complementary pesticidal functions along a unique polypeptide are first considered, taking into account the structural constraints associated with protein or protein domain grafting to biologically active proteins. Strategies that allow for the co- or post-translational release of two or more pesticidal proteins are then considered, including polyprotein precursors releasing free proteins upon proteolytic cleavage, and multicistronic transcripts for the parallel translation of single protein-encoding mRNA sequences. PMID:22822457

  8. The global distribution of diet breadth in insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Forister, Matthew L; Novotny, Vojtech; Panorska, Anna K; Baje, Leontine; Basset, Yves; Butterill, Philip T; Cizek, Lukas; Coley, Phyllis D; Dem, Francesca; Diniz, Ivone R; Drozd, Pavel; Fox, Mark; Glassmire, Andrea E; Hazen, Rebecca; Hrcek, Jan; Jahner, Joshua P; Kaman, Ondrej; Kozubowski, Tomasz J; Kursar, Thomas A; Lewis, Owen T; Lill, John; Marquis, Robert J; Miller, Scott E; Morais, Helena C; Murakami, Masashi; Nickel, Herbert; Pardikes, Nicholas A; Ricklefs, Robert E; Singer, Michael S; Smilanich, Angela M; Stireman, John O; Villamarín-Cortez, Santiago; Vodka, Stepan; Volf, Martin; Wagner, David L; Walla, Thomas; Weiblen, George D; Dyer, Lee A

    2015-01-13

    Understanding variation in resource specialization is important for progress on issues that include coevolution, community assembly, ecosystem processes, and the latitudinal gradient of species richness. Herbivorous insects are useful models for studying resource specialization, and the interaction between plants and herbivorous insects is one of the most common and consequential ecological associations on the planet. However, uncertainty persists regarding fundamental features of herbivore diet breadth, including its relationship to latitude and plant species richness. Here, we use a global dataset to investigate host range for over 7,500 insect herbivore species covering a wide taxonomic breadth and interacting with more than 2,000 species of plants in 165 families. We ask whether relatively specialized and generalized herbivores represent a dichotomy rather than a continuum from few to many host families and species attacked and whether diet breadth changes with increasing plant species richness toward the tropics. Across geographic regions and taxonomic subsets of the data, we find that the distribution of diet breadth is fit well by a discrete, truncated Pareto power law characterized by the predominance of specialized herbivores and a long, thin tail of more generalized species. Both the taxonomic and phylogenetic distributions of diet breadth shift globally with latitude, consistent with a higher frequency of specialized insects in tropical regions. We also find that more diverse lineages of plants support assemblages of relatively more specialized herbivores and that the global distribution of plant diversity contributes to but does not fully explain the latitudinal gradient in insect herbivore specialization.

  9. The global distribution of diet breadth in insect herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Forister, Matthew L.; Novotny, Vojtech; Panorska, Anna K.; Baje, Leontine; Basset, Yves; Butterill, Philip T.; Cizek, Lukas; Coley, Phyllis D.; Dem, Francesca; Diniz, Ivone R.; Drozd, Pavel; Fox, Mark; Glassmire, Andrea E.; Hazen, Rebecca; Hrcek, Jan; Jahner, Joshua P.; Kaman, Ondrej; Kozubowski, Tomasz J.; Kursar, Thomas A.; Lewis, Owen T.; Lill, John; Marquis, Robert J.; Miller, Scott E.; Morais, Helena C.; Murakami, Masashi; Nickel, Herbert; Pardikes, Nicholas A.; Ricklefs, Robert E.; Singer, Michael S.; Smilanich, Angela M.; Stireman, John O.; Villamarín-Cortez, Santiago; Vodka, Stepan; Volf, Martin; Wagner, David L.; Walla, Thomas; Weiblen, George D.; Dyer, Lee A.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding variation in resource specialization is important for progress on issues that include coevolution, community assembly, ecosystem processes, and the latitudinal gradient of species richness. Herbivorous insects are useful models for studying resource specialization, and the interaction between plants and herbivorous insects is one of the most common and consequential ecological associations on the planet. However, uncertainty persists regarding fundamental features of herbivore diet breadth, including its relationship to latitude and plant species richness. Here, we use a global dataset to investigate host range for over 7,500 insect herbivore species covering a wide taxonomic breadth and interacting with more than 2,000 species of plants in 165 families. We ask whether relatively specialized and generalized herbivores represent a dichotomy rather than a continuum from few to many host families and species attacked and whether diet breadth changes with increasing plant species richness toward the tropics. Across geographic regions and taxonomic subsets of the data, we find that the distribution of diet breadth is fit well by a discrete, truncated Pareto power law characterized by the predominance of specialized herbivores and a long, thin tail of more generalized species. Both the taxonomic and phylogenetic distributions of diet breadth shift globally with latitude, consistent with a higher frequency of specialized insects in tropical regions. We also find that more diverse lineages of plants support assemblages of relatively more specialized herbivores and that the global distribution of plant diversity contributes to but does not fully explain the latitudinal gradient in insect herbivore specialization. PMID:25548168

  10. Varying responses of insect herbivores to altered plant chemistry under organic and conventional treatments

    PubMed Central

    Staley, Joanna T.; Stewart-Jones, Alex; Pope, Tom W.; Wright, Denis J.; Leather, Simon R.; Hadley, Paul; Rossiter, John T.; van Emden, Helmut F.; Poppy, Guy M.

    2010-01-01

    The hypothesis that plants supplied with organic fertilizers are better defended against insect herbivores than those supplied with synthetic fertilizers was tested over two field seasons. Organic and synthetic fertilizer treatments at two nitrogen concentrations were supplied to Brassica plants, and their effects on the abundance of herbivore species and plant chemistry were assessed. The organic treatments also differed in fertilizer type: a green manure was used for the low-nitrogen treatment, while the high-nitrogen treatment contained green and animal manures. Two aphid species showed different responses to fertilizers: the Brassica specialist Brevicoryne brassicae was more abundant on organically fertilized plants, while the generalist Myzus persicae had higher populations on synthetically fertilized plants. The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (a crucifer specialist) was more abundant on synthetically fertilized plants and preferred to oviposit on these plants. Glucosinolate concentrations were up to three times greater on plants grown in the organic treatments, while foliar nitrogen was maximized on plants under the higher of the synthetic fertilizer treatments. The varying response of herbivore species to these strong differences in plant chemistry demonstrates that hypotheses on defence in organically grown crops have over-simplified the response of phytophagous insects. PMID:19906673

  11. Varying responses of insect herbivores to altered plant chemistry under organic and conventional treatments.

    PubMed

    Staley, Joanna T; Stewart-Jones, Alex; Pope, Tom W; Wright, Denis J; Leather, Simon R; Hadley, Paul; Rossiter, John T; van Emden, Helmut F; Poppy, Guy M

    2010-03-07

    The hypothesis that plants supplied with organic fertilizers are better defended against insect herbivores than those supplied with synthetic fertilizers was tested over two field seasons. Organic and synthetic fertilizer treatments at two nitrogen concentrations were supplied to Brassica plants, and their effects on the abundance of herbivore species and plant chemistry were assessed. The organic treatments also differed in fertilizer type: a green manure was used for the low-nitrogen treatment, while the high-nitrogen treatment contained green and animal manures. Two aphid species showed different responses to fertilizers: the Brassica specialist Brevicoryne brassicae was more abundant on organically fertilized plants, while the generalist Myzus persicae had higher populations on synthetically fertilized plants. The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (a crucifer specialist) was more abundant on synthetically fertilized plants and preferred to oviposit on these plants. Glucosinolate concentrations were up to three times greater on plants grown in the organic treatments, while foliar nitrogen was maximized on plants under the higher of the synthetic fertilizer treatments. The varying response of herbivore species to these strong differences in plant chemistry demonstrates that hypotheses on defence in organically grown crops have over-simplified the response of phytophagous insects.

  12. Alien interference: disruption of infochemical networks by invasive insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Desurmont, Gaylord A; Harvey, Jeff; van Dam, Nicole M; Cristescu, Simona M; Schiestl, Florian P; Cozzolino, Salvatore; Anderson, Peter; Larsson, Mattias C; Kindlmann, Pavel; Danner, Holger; Turlings, Ted C J

    2014-08-01

    Insect herbivores trigger various biochemical changes in plants, and as a consequence, affect other organisms that are associated with these plants. Such plant-mediated indirect effects often involve herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) that can be used as cues for foraging herbivores and their natural enemies, and are also known to affect pollinator attraction. In tightly co-evolved systems, the different trophic levels are expected to display adaptive response to changes in HIPVs caused by native herbivores. But what if a new herbivore invades such a system? Current literature suggests that exotic herbivores have the potential to affect HIPV production, and that plant responses to novel herbivores are likely to depend on phylogenetic relatedness between the invader and the native species. Here we review the different ways exotic herbivores can disrupt chemically mediated interactions between plants and the key users of HIPVs: herbivores, pollinators, and members of the third (i.e. predators and parasitoids) and fourth (i.e. hyperparasitoids) trophic levels. Current theory on insect invasions needs to consider that disruptive effects of invaders on infochemical networks can have a short-term impact on the population dynamics of native insects and plants, as well as exerting potentially negative consequences for the functioning of native ecosystems.

  13. Genomics of adaptation to host-plants in herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Simon, Jean-Christophe; d'Alençon, Emmanuelle; Guy, Endrick; Jacquin-Joly, Emmanuelle; Jaquiéry, Julie; Nouhaud, Pierre; Peccoud, Jean; Sugio, Akiko; Streiff, Réjane

    2015-11-01

    Herbivorous insects represent the most species-rich lineages of metazoans. The high rate of diversification in herbivorous insects is thought to result from their specialization to distinct host-plants, which creates conditions favorable for the build-up of reproductive isolation and speciation. These conditions rely on constraints against the optimal use of a wide range of plant species, as each must constitute a viable food resource, oviposition site and mating site for an insect. Utilization of plants involves many essential traits of herbivorous insects, as they locate and select their hosts, overcome their defenses and acquire nutrients while avoiding intoxication. Although advances in understanding insect-plant molecular interactions have been limited by the complexity of insect traits involved in host use and the lack of genomic resources and functional tools, recent studies at the molecular level, combined with large-scale genomics studies at population and species levels, are revealing the genetic underpinning of plant specialization and adaptive divergence in non-model insect herbivores. Here, we review the recent advances in the genomics of plant adaptation in hemipterans and lepidopterans, two major insect orders, each of which includes a large number of crop pests. We focus on how genomics and post-genomics have improved our understanding of the mechanisms involved in insect-plant interactions by reviewing recent molecular discoveries in sensing, feeding, digesting and detoxifying strategies. We also present the outcomes of large-scale genomics approaches aimed at identifying loci potentially involved in plant adaptation in these insects.

  14. When herbivores eat predators: predatory insects effectively avoid incidental ingestion by mammalian herbivores.

    PubMed

    Ben-Ari, Matan; Inbar, Moshe

    2013-01-01

    The direct trophic links between mammalian herbivores and plant-dwelling insects have been practically ignored. Insects are ubiquitous on plants consumed by mammalian herbivores and are thus likely to face the danger of being incidentally ingested by a grazing mammal. A few studies have shown that some herbivorous hemipterans are able to avoid this peril by dropping to the ground upon detecting the heat and humidity on the mammal's breath. We hypothesized that if this risk affects the entire plant-dwelling insect community, other insects that share this habitat are expected to develop similar escape mechanisms. We assessed the ability of three species (adults and larvae) of coccinellid beetles, important aphid predators, to avoid incidental ingestion. Both larvae and adults were able to avoid incidental ingestion effectively by goats by dropping to the ground, demonstrating the importance of this behavior in grazed habitats. Remarkably, all adult beetles escaped by dropping off the plant and none used their functional wings to fly away. In controlled laboratory experiments, we found that human breath caused 60-80% of the beetles to drop. The most important component of mammalian herbivore breath in inducing adult beetles and larvae to drop was the combination of heat and humidity. The fact that the mechanism of dropping in response to mammalian breath developed in distinct insect orders and disparate life stages accentuates the importance of the direct influence of mammalian herbivores on plant-dwelling insects. This direct interaction should be given its due place when discussing trophic interactions.

  15. When Herbivores Eat Predators: Predatory Insects Effectively Avoid Incidental Ingestion by Mammalian Herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Ari, Matan; Inbar, Moshe

    2013-01-01

    The direct trophic links between mammalian herbivores and plant-dwelling insects have been practically ignored. Insects are ubiquitous on plants consumed by mammalian herbivores and are thus likely to face the danger of being incidentally ingested by a grazing mammal. A few studies have shown that some herbivorous hemipterans are able to avoid this peril by dropping to the ground upon detecting the heat and humidity on the mammal's breath. We hypothesized that if this risk affects the entire plant-dwelling insect community, other insects that share this habitat are expected to develop similar escape mechanisms. We assessed the ability of three species (adults and larvae) of coccinellid beetles, important aphid predators, to avoid incidental ingestion. Both larvae and adults were able to avoid incidental ingestion effectively by goats by dropping to the ground, demonstrating the importance of this behavior in grazed habitats. Remarkably, all adult beetles escaped by dropping off the plant and none used their functional wings to fly away. In controlled laboratory experiments, we found that human breath caused 60–80% of the beetles to drop. The most important component of mammalian herbivore breath in inducing adult beetles and larvae to drop was the combination of heat and humidity. The fact that the mechanism of dropping in response to mammalian breath developed in distinct insect orders and disparate life stages accentuates the importance of the direct influence of mammalian herbivores on plant-dwelling insects. This direct interaction should be given its due place when discussing trophic interactions. PMID:23424674

  16. Testing Two Methods that Relate Herbivorous Insects to Host Plants

    PubMed Central

    White, Peter J. T.

    2013-01-01

    Insect herbivores are integral to terrestrial ecosystems. They provide essential food for higher trophic levels and aid in nutrient cycling. In general, research tends to relate individual insect herbivore species to host plant identity, where a species will show preference for one host over another. In contrast, insect herbivore assemblages are often related to host plant richness where an area with a higher richness of hosts will also have a higher richness of herbivores. In this study, the ability of these two approaches (host plant identity/abundance vs. host plant richness) to describe the diversity, richness, and abundance of an herbivorous Lepidoptera assemblage in temperate forest fragments in southern Canada is tested. Analyses indicated that caterpillar diversity, richness, and abundance were better described by quadrat-scale host plant identity and abundance than by host plant richness. Most host plant-herbivore studies to date have only considered investigating host plant preferences at a species level; the type of assemblage level preference shown in this study has been rarely considered. In addition, host plant replacement simulations indicate that increasing the abundance of preferred host plants could increase Lepidoptera richness and abundance by as much as 30% and 40% respectively in disturbed remnant forest fragments. This differs from traditional thinking that suggests higher levels of insect richness can be best obtained by maximizing plant richness. Host plant species that are highly preferred by the forest-dwelling caterpillar assemblage should be given special management and conservation considerations to maximize biodiversity in forest communities. PMID:24205830

  17. ASSESSING OF HERBIVOROUS AND BENEFICIAL INSECTS ON SWITCHGRASS IN UKRAINE.

    PubMed

    Stefanovska, T; Kucherovska, S; Pisdlisnyuk, V

    2014-01-01

    A perennial switchgrass, (Panicum virgatum L.), (C4) that is native to North America has good potential for biomass production because of its wide geographic distribution and adaptability to diverse environmental conditions. Insects can significantly impact the yield and quality of biofuel crops. If switchgrass are to be grown on marginally arable land or in monoculture, it are likely to be plagued with herbivore pests and plant diseases at a rate that exceeds what would be expected if the plants were not stressed in this manner. This biofuel crop has been under evaluation for commercial growing in Ukraine for eight years. However, insect diversity and the potential impact of pests on biomass production of this feedstock have not been accessed yet. The objective of our study, started in 2011, is a survey of switch grass insects by trophic groups and determine species that have pest status at two sites in the Central part of Ukraine (Kiev and Poltava regions). In Poltava site we investigated the effect of nine varieties of switchgrass (lowland and upland) to insects' diversity. We assessed changes over time in the densities of major insects' trophic groups, identifying potential pests and natural enemies. Obtained results indicates that different life stages of herbivorous insects from Hymenoptera, Homoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera orders were present on switchgrass during the growing season. Our study results suggests that choice of variety has an impact on trophic groups' structure and number of insects from different orders on swicthgrass. Herbivores and beneficial insects were the only groups that showed significant differences across sampling dates. The highest population of herbivores insects we recorded on 'Alamo' variety for studied years, although herbivore diversity tended to increase on 'Shelter', 'Alamo' and 'Cave-in-Rock' during 2012 and 2013. 'Dacotah', 'Nebraska', 'Sunburst', 'Forestburg' and 'Carthage' showed the highest level of beneficial insects

  18. Profiling the response of plants to herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Korth, Kenneth L

    2003-01-01

    Microarray analysis has confirmed that many of the modifications of gene expression that occur in plants following attack by herbivorous insects can be accounted for by the effects of compounds (elicitors) released by chewing insects. Recent experiments have revealed coordinated up- and down-regulation of transcripts encoding proteins with related functions, suggesting that large-scale shifts in metabolism take place in insect-damaged plants.

  19. Evidence that insect herbivores are deterred by ant pheromones.

    PubMed Central

    Offenberg, Joachim; Nielsen, Mogens Gissel; MacIntosh, Donald J; Havanon, Sopon; Aksornkoae, Sanit

    2004-01-01

    It is well documented that ants can protect plants against insect herbivores, but the underlying mechanisms remain almost undocumented. We propose and test the pheromone avoidance hypothesis--an indirect mechanism where insect herbivores are repelled not only by ants but also by ant pheromones. Herbivores subjected to ant predation will experience a selective advantage if they evolve mechanisms enabling them to avoid feeding within ant territories. Such a mechanism could be based on the ability to detect and evade ant pheromones. Field observations and data from the literature showed that the ant Oecophylla smaragdina distributes persistent pheromones throughout its territory. In addition, a laboratory test showed that the beetle Rhyparida wallacei, which this ant preys on, was reluctant to feed on leaves sampled within ant territories compared with leaves sampled outside territories. Thus, this study provides an example of an ant-herbivore system conforming to the pheromone avoidance hypothesis. PMID:15801596

  20. Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insect herbivore chewing.

    PubMed

    Appel, H M; Cocroft, R B

    2014-08-01

    Plant germination and growth can be influenced by sound, but the ecological significance of these responses is unclear. We asked whether acoustic energy generated by the feeding of insect herbivores was detected by plants. We report that the vibrations caused by insect feeding can elicit chemical defenses. Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) rosettes pre-treated with the vibrations caused by caterpillar feeding had higher levels of glucosinolate and anthocyanin defenses when subsequently fed upon by Pieris rapae (L.) caterpillars than did untreated plants. The plants also discriminated between the vibrations caused by chewing and those caused by wind or insect song. Plants thus respond to herbivore-generated vibrations in a selective and ecologically meaningful way. A vibration signaling pathway would complement the known signaling pathways that rely on volatile, electrical, or phloem-borne signals. We suggest that vibration may represent a new long distance signaling mechanism in plant-insect interactions that contributes to systemic induction of chemical defenses.

  1. Indirect plant defense against insect herbivores: A review.

    PubMed

    Aljbory, Zainab; Chen, Ming-Shun

    2016-12-30

    Plants respond to herbivore attack by launching two types of defenses: direct defense and indirect defense. Direct defense includes all plant traits that increase the resistance of host plants to insect herbivores by affecting the physiology and/or behavior of the attackers. Indirect defense includes all traits that by themselves do not have significant direct impact on the attacking herbivores, but can attract natural enemies of the herbivores and thus reduce plant loss. When plants recognize herbivore-associated elicitors, they produce and release a blend of volatiles that can attract predators, parasites, and other natural enemies. Known herbivore-associated elicitors include fatty acid-amino acid conjugates, sulfur-containing fatty acids, fragments of cell walls, peptides, esters, and enzymes. Identified plant volatiles include terpenes, nitrogenous compounds, and indoles. In addition, constitive traits including extrafloral nectars, food bodies, and domatia can be further induced to higher levels and attract natural enemies as well as provide food and shelter to carnivores. A better understanding of indirect plant defense at global and componential levels via advanced high throughput technologies may lead to utilization of indirect defense in suppression of herbivore damage to plants. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  2. Pathogens and insect herbivores drive rainforest plant diversity and composition.

    PubMed

    Bagchi, Robert; Gallery, Rachel E; Gripenberg, Sofia; Gurr, Sarah J; Narayan, Lakshmi; Addis, Claire E; Freckleton, Robert P; Lewis, Owen T

    2014-02-06

    Tropical forests are important reservoirs of biodiversity, but the processes that maintain this diversity remain poorly understood. The Janzen-Connell hypothesis suggests that specialized natural enemies such as insect herbivores and fungal pathogens maintain high diversity by elevating mortality when plant species occur at high density (negative density dependence; NDD). NDD has been detected widely in tropical forests, but the prediction that NDD caused by insects and pathogens has a community-wide role in maintaining tropical plant diversity remains untested. We show experimentally that changes in plant diversity and species composition are caused by fungal pathogens and insect herbivores. Effective plant species richness increased across the seed-to-seedling transition, corresponding to large changes in species composition. Treating seeds and young seedlings with fungicides significantly reduced the diversity of the seedling assemblage, consistent with the Janzen-Connell hypothesis. Although suppressing insect herbivores using insecticides did not alter species diversity, it greatly increased seedling recruitment and caused a marked shift in seedling species composition. Overall, seedling recruitment was significantly reduced at high conspecific seed densities and this NDD was greatest for the species that were most abundant as seeds. Suppressing fungi reduced the negative effects of density on recruitment, confirming that the diversity-enhancing effect of fungi is mediated by NDD. Our study provides an overall test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis and demonstrates the crucial role that insects and pathogens have both in structuring tropical plant communities and in maintaining their remarkable diversity.

  3. Host specificity of insect herbivores in tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Novotny, Vojtech; Basset, Yves

    2005-06-07

    Studies of host specificity in tropical insect herbivores are evolving from a focus on insect distribution data obtained by canopy fogging and other mass collecting methods, to a focus on obtaining data on insect rearing and experimentally verified feeding patterns. We review this transition and identify persisting methodological problems. Replicated quantitative surveys of plant-herbivore food webs, based on sampling efforts of an order of magnitude greater than is customary at present, may be cost-effectively achieved by small research teams supported by local assistants. Survey designs that separate historical and ecological determinants of host specificity by studying herbivores feeding on the same plant species exposed to different environmental or experimental conditions are rare. Further, we advocate the use of host-specificity measures based on plant phylogeny. Existing data suggest that a minority of species in herbivore communities feed on a single plant species when alternative congeneric hosts are available. Thus, host plant range limits tend to coincide with those of plant genera, rather than species or suprageneric taxa. Host specificity among tropical herbivore guilds decreases in the sequence: granivores > leaf-miners > fructivore > leaf-chewers = sap-suckers > xylophages > root-feeders, thus paralleling patterns observed in temperate forests. Differences in host specificity between temperate and tropical forests are difficult to assess since data on tropical herbivores originate from recent field studies, whereas their temperate counterparts derive from regional host species lists, assembled over many years. No major increase in host specificity from temperate to tropical communities is evident. This conclusion, together with the recent downward revisions of extremely high estimates of tropical species richness, suggest that tropical ecosystems may not be as biodiverse as previously thought.

  4. Characterization of protein phosphatase 5 from three lepidopteran insects: Helicoverpa armigera, Mythimna separata and Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xi'en; Lü, Shumin; Zhang, Yalin

    2014-01-01

    Protein phosphatase 5 (PP5), a unique member of serine/threonine phosphatases, regulates a variety of biological processes. We obtained full-length PP5 cDNAs from three lepidopteran insects, Helicoverpa armigera, Mythimna separata and Plutella xylostella, encoding predicted proteins of 490 (55.98 kDa), 490 (55.82 kDa) and 491 (56.07 kDa) amino acids, respectively. These sequences shared a high identity with other insect PP5s and contained the TPR (tetratricopeptide repeat) domains at N-terminal regions and highly conserved C-terminal catalytic domains. Tissue- and stage-specific expression pattern analyses revealed these three PP5 genes were constitutively expressed in all stages and in tested tissues with predominant transcription occurring at the egg and adult stages. Activities of Escherichia coli-produced recombinant PP5 proteins could be enhanced by almost 2-fold by a known PP5 activator: arachidonic acid. Kinetic parameters of three recombinant proteins against substrate pNPP were similar both in the absence or presence of arachidonic acid. Protein phosphatases inhibitors, okadaic acid, cantharidin, and endothall strongly impeded the activities of the three recombinant PP5 proteins, as well as exerted an inhibitory effect on crude protein phosphatases extractions from these three insects. In summary, lepidopteran PP5s share similar characteristics and are all sensitive to the protein phosphatases inhibitors. Our results also imply protein phosphatase inhibitors might be used in the management of lepidopteran pests.

  5. Community-Weighted Mean Plant Traits Predict Small Scale Distribution of Insect Root Herbivore Abundance.

    PubMed

    Sonnemann, Ilja; Pfestorf, Hans; Jeltsch, Florian; Wurst, Susanne

    2015-01-01

    Small scale distribution of insect root herbivores may promote plant species diversity by creating patches of different herbivore pressure. However, determinants of small scale distribution of insect root herbivores, and impact of land use intensity on their small scale distribution are largely unknown. We sampled insect root herbivores and measured vegetation parameters and soil water content along transects in grasslands of different management intensity in three regions in Germany. We calculated community-weighted mean plant traits to test whether the functional plant community composition determines the small scale distribution of insect root herbivores. To analyze spatial patterns in plant species and trait composition and insect root herbivore abundance we computed Mantel correlograms. Insect root herbivores mainly comprised click beetle (Coleoptera, Elateridae) larvae (43%) in the investigated grasslands. Total insect root herbivore numbers were positively related to community-weighted mean traits indicating high plant growth rates and biomass (specific leaf area, reproductive- and vegetative plant height), and negatively related to plant traits indicating poor tissue quality (leaf C/N ratio). Generalist Elaterid larvae, when analyzed independently, were also positively related to high plant growth rates and furthermore to root dry mass, but were not related to tissue quality. Insect root herbivore numbers were not related to plant cover, plant species richness and soil water content. Plant species composition and to a lesser extent plant trait composition displayed spatial autocorrelation, which was not influenced by land use intensity. Insect root herbivore abundance was not spatially autocorrelated. We conclude that in semi-natural grasslands with a high share of generalist insect root herbivores, insect root herbivores affiliate with large, fast growing plants, presumably because of availability of high quantities of food. Affiliation of insect root

  6. Community- Weighted Mean Plant Traits Predict Small Scale Distribution of Insect Root Herbivore Abundance

    PubMed Central

    Jeltsch, Florian; Wurst, Susanne

    2015-01-01

    Small scale distribution of insect root herbivores may promote plant species diversity by creating patches of different herbivore pressure. However, determinants of small scale distribution of insect root herbivores, and impact of land use intensity on their small scale distribution are largely unknown. We sampled insect root herbivores and measured vegetation parameters and soil water content along transects in grasslands of different management intensity in three regions in Germany. We calculated community-weighted mean plant traits to test whether the functional plant community composition determines the small scale distribution of insect root herbivores. To analyze spatial patterns in plant species and trait composition and insect root herbivore abundance we computed Mantel correlograms. Insect root herbivores mainly comprised click beetle (Coleoptera, Elateridae) larvae (43%) in the investigated grasslands. Total insect root herbivore numbers were positively related to community-weighted mean traits indicating high plant growth rates and biomass (specific leaf area, reproductive- and vegetative plant height), and negatively related to plant traits indicating poor tissue quality (leaf C/N ratio). Generalist Elaterid larvae, when analyzed independently, were also positively related to high plant growth rates and furthermore to root dry mass, but were not related to tissue quality. Insect root herbivore numbers were not related to plant cover, plant species richness and soil water content. Plant species composition and to a lesser extent plant trait composition displayed spatial autocorrelation, which was not influenced by land use intensity. Insect root herbivore abundance was not spatially autocorrelated. We conclude that in semi-natural grasslands with a high share of generalist insect root herbivores, insect root herbivores affiliate with large, fast growing plants, presumably because of availability of high quantities of food. Affiliation of insect root

  7. Conserving herbivorous and predatory insects in urban green spaces

    PubMed Central

    Mata, Luis; Threlfall, Caragh G.; Williams, Nicholas S. G.; Hahs, Amy K.; Malipatil, Mallik; Stork, Nigel E.; Livesley, Stephen J.

    2017-01-01

    Insects are key components of urban ecological networks and are greatly impacted by anthropogenic activities. Yet, few studies have examined how insect functional groups respond to changes to urban vegetation associated with different management actions. We investigated the response of herbivorous and predatory heteropteran bugs to differences in vegetation structure and diversity in golf courses, gardens and parks. We assessed how the species richness of these groups varied amongst green space types, and the effect of vegetation volume and plant diversity on trophic- and species-specific occupancy. We found that golf courses sustain higher species richness of herbivores and predators than parks and gardens. At the trophic- and species-specific levels, herbivores and predators show strong positive responses to vegetation volume. The effect of plant diversity, however, is distinctly species-specific, with species showing both positive and negative responses. Our findings further suggest that high occupancy of bugs is obtained in green spaces with specific combinations of vegetation structure and diversity. The challenge for managers is to boost green space conservation value through actions promoting synergistic combinations of vegetation structure and diversity. Tackling this conservation challenge could provide enormous benefits for other elements of urban ecological networks and people that live in cities. PMID:28102333

  8. Conserving herbivorous and predatory insects in urban green spaces.

    PubMed

    Mata, Luis; Threlfall, Caragh G; Williams, Nicholas S G; Hahs, Amy K; Malipatil, Mallik; Stork, Nigel E; Livesley, Stephen J

    2017-01-19

    Insects are key components of urban ecological networks and are greatly impacted by anthropogenic activities. Yet, few studies have examined how insect functional groups respond to changes to urban vegetation associated with different management actions. We investigated the response of herbivorous and predatory heteropteran bugs to differences in vegetation structure and diversity in golf courses, gardens and parks. We assessed how the species richness of these groups varied amongst green space types, and the effect of vegetation volume and plant diversity on trophic- and species-specific occupancy. We found that golf courses sustain higher species richness of herbivores and predators than parks and gardens. At the trophic- and species-specific levels, herbivores and predators show strong positive responses to vegetation volume. The effect of plant diversity, however, is distinctly species-specific, with species showing both positive and negative responses. Our findings further suggest that high occupancy of bugs is obtained in green spaces with specific combinations of vegetation structure and diversity. The challenge for managers is to boost green space conservation value through actions promoting synergistic combinations of vegetation structure and diversity. Tackling this conservation challenge could provide enormous benefits for other elements of urban ecological networks and people that live in cities.

  9. Cycads: their evolution, toxins, herbivores and insect pollinators.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Dietrich; Wink, Michael; Sporer, Frank; Lounibos, Philip

    2002-07-01

    Palaeobiological evidence indicates that gymnosperms were wind-pollinated and that insect pollination began in angiosperms in the Lower Cretaceous (ca. 135 mya) leading to close associations between higher plants and their pollinators. Cycads, which were widespread and pervasive throughout the Mesozoic (250-65 mya) are among the most primitive living seed-plants found today. Because pollination by beetles and by thrips has now been detected in several modern cycads, it is attractive to speculate that some insects and cycads had already developed similar mutualistic interactions in the Triassic (250-205 mya), long before the advent of angiosperms. We also draw attention to another key factor in this insect-plant relationship, namely secondary, defensive plant substances which must always have controlled interspecific interactions. Cycads mainly produce toxic azoglucosides and neurotoxic non-protein amino acids (e.g. BMAA), which apparently are crucial elements in the development and maintenance of mutualism (pollination) and parasitism (herbivory) by cycad-linked herbivores. We now add new results on the uptake and storage of the main toxin, cycasin, of the Mexican cycad Zamia furfuracea by its pollinator, the weevil Rhopalotria mollis, and by a specialist herbivore of Zamia integrifolia, the aposematic Atala butterfly Eumaeus atala.

  10. Cycads: their evolution, toxins, herbivores and insect pollinators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Dietrich; Wink, Michael; Sporer, Frank; Lounibos, Philip

    2002-06-01

    Palaeobiological evidence indicates that gymnosperms were wind-pollinated and that insect pollination began in angiosperms in the Lower Cretaceous (ca. 135 mya) leading to close associations between higher plants and their pollinators. Cycads, which were widespread and pervasive throughout the Mesozoic (250-65 mya) are among the most primitive living seed-plants found today. Because pollination by beetles and by thrips has now been detected in several modern cycads, it is attractive to speculate that some insects and cycads had already developed similar mutualistic interactions in the Triassic (250-205 mya), long before the advent of angiosperms. We also draw attention to another key factor in this insect-plant relationship, namely secondary, defensive plant substances which must always have controlled interspecific interactions. Cycads mainly produce toxic azoglucosides and neurotoxic non-protein amino acids (e.g. BMAA), which apparently are crucial elements in the development and maintenance of mutualism (pollination) and parasitism (herbivory) by cycad-linked herbivores. We now add new results on the uptake and storage of the main toxin, cycasin, of the Mexican cycad Zamia furfuracea by its pollinator, the weevil Rhopalotria mollis, and by a specialist herbivore of Zamia integrifolia, the aposematic Atala butterfly Eumaeus atala.

  11. The silent mass extinction of insect herbivores in biodiversity hotspots.

    PubMed

    Fonseca, Carlos Roberto

    2009-12-01

    Habitat loss is silently leading numerous insects to extinction. Conservation efforts, however, have not been designed specifically to protect these organisms, despite their ecological and evolutionary significance. On the basis of species-host area equations, parameterized with data from the literature and interviews with botanical experts, I estimated the number of specialized plant-feeding insects (i.e., monophages) that live in 34 biodiversity hotspots and the number committed to extinction because of habitat loss. I estimated that 795,971-1,602,423 monophagous insect species live in biodiversity hotspots on 150,371 endemic plant species, which is 5.3-10.6 monophages per plant species. I calculated that 213,830-547,500 monophagous species are committed to extinction in biodiversity hotspots because of reduction of the geographic range size of their endemic hosts. I provided rankings of biodiversity hotspots on the basis of estimated richness of monophagous insects and on estimated number of extinctions of monophagous species. Extinction rates were predicted to be higher in biodiversity hotspots located along strong environmental gradients and on archipelagos, where high spatial turnover of monophagous species along the geographic distribution of their endemic plants is likely. The results strongly support the overall strategy of selecting priority conservation areas worldwide primarily on the basis of richness of endemic plants. To face the global decline of insect herbivores, one must expand the coverage of the network of protected areas and improve the richness of native plants on private lands.

  12. Priming of anti-herbivore defence in Nicotiana attenuata by insect oviposition: herbivore-specific effects.

    PubMed

    Bandoly, Michele; Grichnik, Roland; Hilker, Monika; Steppuhn, Anke

    2016-04-01

    Oviposition by Spodoptera exigua on Nicotiana attenuata primes plant defence against its larvae that consequently suffer reduced performance. To reveal whether this is a general response of tobacco to insect oviposition or species-specific, we investigated whether also Manduca sexta oviposition primes N. attenuata's anti-herbivore defence. The plant response to M. sexta and S. exigua oviposition overlapped in the egg-primed feeding-induced production of the phenylpropanoid caffeoylputrescine. While M. sexta larvae were unaffected in their performance, they showed a novel response to the oviposition-mediated plant changes: a reduced antimicrobial activity in their haemolymph. In a cross-resistance experiment, S. exigua larvae suffered reduced performance on M. sexta-oviposited plants like they did on S. exigua-oviposited plants. The M. sexta oviposition-mediated plant effects on the S. exigua larval performance and on M. sexta larval immunity required expression of the NaMyb8 transcription factor that is governing biosynthesis of phenylpropanoids such as caffeoylputrescine. Thus, NaMyb8-dependent defence traits mediate the effects that oviposition by both lepidopteran species exerts on the plant's anti-herbivore defence. These results suggest that oviposition by lepidopteran species on N. attenuata leaves may generally prime the feeding-induced production of certain plant defence compounds but that different herbivore species show different susceptibility to egg-primed plant effects.

  13. Immune defence strategies of generalist and specialist insect herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Barthel, Andrea; Kopka, Isabell; Vogel, Heiko; Zipfel, Peter; Heckel, David G.; Groot, Astrid T.

    2014-01-01

    Ecological immunology examines the adaptive responses of animals to pathogens in relation to other environmental factors and explores the consequences of trade-offs between investment in immune function and other life-history traits. Among species of herbivorous insects, diet breadth may vary greatly, with generalists consuming a wide variety of plant families and specialists restricted to a few species. Generalists may thus be exposed to a wider range of pathogens exerting stronger selection on the innate immune system. To examine whether this produces an increase in the robustness of the immune response, we compared larvae of the generalist herbivore Heliothis virescens and the specialist Heliothis subflexa challenged by entomopathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. Heliothis virescens larvae showed lower mortality, a lower number of recoverable bacteria, lower proliferation of haemocytes and higher phagocytic activity. These results indicate a higher tolerance to entomopathogenic bacteria by the generalist, which is associated with a more efficient cell-mediated immune response by mechanisms that differ between these closely related species. Our findings provide novel insights into the consequences of diet breadth and related environmental factors, which may be significant in further studies to understand the ecological forces and investment trade-offs that shape the evolution of innate immunity. PMID:24943370

  14. Transient expression of protein tyrosine phosphatases encoded in Cotesia plutellae bracovirus inhibits insect cellular immune responses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibrahim, Ahmed M. A.; Kim, Yonggyun

    2008-01-01

    Several immunosuppressive factors are associated with parasitism of an endoparasitoid wasp, Cotesia plutellae, on the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. C. plutellae bracovirus (CpBV) encodes a large number of putative protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), which may play a role in inhibiting host cellular immunity. To address this inhibitory hypothesis of CpBV-PTPs, we performed transient expression of individual CpBV-PTPs in hemocytes of the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, and analyzed their cellular immune responses. Two different forms of CpBV-PTPs were chosen and cloned into a eukaryotic expression vector under the control of the p10 promoter of baculovirus: one with the normal cysteine active site (CpBV-PTP1) and the other with a mutated active site (CpBV-PTP5). The hemocytes transfected with CpBV-PTP1 significantly increased in PTP activity compared to control hemocytes, but those with CpBV-PTP5 exhibited a significant decrease in the PTP activity. All transfected hemocytes exhibited a significant reduction in both cell spreading and encapsulation activities compared to control hemocytes. Co-transfection of CpBV-PTP1 together with its double-stranded RNA reduced the messenger RNA (mRNA) level of CpBV-PTP1 and resulted in recovery of both hemocyte behaviors. This is the first report demonstrating that the polydnaviral PTPs can manipulate PTP activity of the hemocytes to interrupt cellular immune responses.

  15. Insect herbivores associated with Baccharis dracunculifolia (Asteraceae): responses of gall-forming and free-feeding insects to latitudinal variation.

    PubMed

    Fagundes, Marcílio; Fernandes, G Wilson

    2011-09-01

    The spatial heterogeneity hypothesis has been invoked to explain the increase in species diversity from the poles to the tropics: the tropics may be more diverse because they contain more habitats and micro-habitats. In this paper, the spatial heterogeneity hypothesis prediction was tested by evaluating the variation in richness of two guilds of insect herbivores (gall-formers and free-feeders) associated with Baccharis dracunculifolia (Asteraceae) along a latitudinal variation in Brazil. The seventeen populations of B. dracunculifolia selected for insect herbivores sampling were within structurally similar habitats, along the N-S distributional limit of the host plant, near the Brazilian sea coast. Thirty shrubs were surveyed in each host plant population. A total of 8 201 galls and 864 free-feeding insect herbivores belonging to 28 families and 88 species were sampled. The majority of the insects found on B. dracunculifolia were restricted to a specific site rather than having a geographic distribution mirroring that of the host plant. Species richness of free-feeding insects was not affected by latitudinal variation corroborating the spatial heterogeneity hypothesis. Species richness of gall-forming insects was positively correlated with latitude, probably because galling insect associated with Baccharris genus radiated in Southern Brazil. Other diversity indices and evenness estimated for both gall-forming and free feeding insect herbivores, did not change with latitude, suggesting a general structure for different assemblages of herbivores associated with the host plant B. dracunculifolia. Thus it is probable that, insect fauna sample in each site resulted of large scale events, as speciation, migration and coevolution, while at local level, the population of these insects is regulated by ecological forces which operate in the system.

  16. Responses of tree and insect herbivores to elevated nitrogen inputs: A meta-analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Furong; Dudley, Tom L.; Chen, Baoming; Chang, Xiaoyu; Liang, Liyin; Peng, Shaolin

    2016-11-01

    Increasing atmospheric nitrogen (N) inputs have the potential to alter terrestrial ecosystem function through impacts on plant-herbivore interactions. The goal of our study is to search for a general pattern in responses of tree characteristics important for herbivores and insect herbivorous performance to elevated N inputs. We conducted a meta-analysis based on 109 papers describing impacts of nitrogen inputs on tree characteristics and 16 papers on insect performance. The differences in plant characteristics and insect performance between broadleaves and conifers were also explored. Tree aboveground biomass, leaf biomass and leaf N concentration significantly increased under elevated N inputs. Elevated N inputs had no significantly overall effect on concentrations of phenolic compounds and lignin but adversely affected tannin, as defensive chemicals for insect herbivores. Additionally, the overall effect of insect herbivore performance (including development time, insect biomass, relative growth rate, and so on) was significantly increased by elevated N inputs. According to the inconsistent responses between broadleaves and conifers, broadleaves would be more likely to increase growth by light interception and photosynthesis rather than producing more defensive chemicals to elevated N inputs by comparison with conifers. Moreover, the overall carbohydrate concentration was significantly reduced by 13.12% in broadleaves while increased slightly in conifers. The overall tannin concentration decreased significantly by 39.21% in broadleaves but a 5.8% decrease in conifers was not significant. The results of the analysis indicated that elevated N inputs would provide more food sources and ameliorate tree palatability for insects, while the resistance of trees against their insect herbivores was weakened, especially for broadleaves. Thus, global forest insect pest problems would be aggravated by elevated N inputs. As N inputs continue to rise in the future, forest

  17. Insect herbivores change the outcome of plant competition through both inter- and intraspecific processes.

    PubMed

    Kim, Tania N; Underwood, Nora; Inouye, Brian D

    2013-08-01

    Insect herbivores can affect plant abundance and community composition, and theory suggests that herbivores influence plant communities by altering interspecific interactions among plants. Because the outcome of interspecific interactions is influenced by the per capita competitive ability of plants, density dependence, and intrinsic rates of increase, measuring herbivore effects on all these processes is necessary to understand the mechanisms by which herbivores influence plant communities. We fit alternative competition models to data from a response surface experiment conducted over four years to examine how herbivores affected the outcome of competition between two perennial plants, Solidago altissima and Solanum carolinense. Within a growing season, herbivores reduced S. carolinense plant size but did not affect the size of S. altissima, which exhibited compensatory growth. Across seasons, herbivores did not affect S. carolinense density or biomass but reduced both the density and population growth of S. altissima. The best-fit models indicated that the effects of herbivores varied with year. In some years, herbivores increased the per capita competitive effect of S. altissima on S. carolinense; in other years, herbivores influenced the intrinsic rate of increase of S. altissima. We examined possible herbivore effects on the longer-term outcome of competition (over the time scale of a typical old-field habitat), using simulations based on the best-fit models. In the absence of herbivores, plant coexistence was observed. In the presence of herbivores, S. carolinense was excluded by S. altissima in 72.3% of the simulations. We demonstrate that herbivores can influence the outcome of competition through changes in both per capita competitive effects and intrinsic rates of increase. We discuss the implications of these results for ecological succession and biocontrol.

  18. Belowground herbivory by insects: influence on plants and aboveground herbivores.

    PubMed

    Blossey, Bernd; Hunt-Joshi, Tamaru R

    2003-01-01

    Investigations of plant-herbivore interactions continue to be popular; however, a bias neglecting root feeders may limit our ability to understand how herbivores shape plant life histories. Root feeders can cause dramatic plant population declines, often associated with secondary stress factors such as drought or grazing. These severe impacts resulted in substantial interest in root feeders as agricultural pests and increasingly as biological weed control agents, particularly in North America. Despite logistical difficulties, establishment rates in biocontrol programs are equal or exceed those of aboveground herbivores (67.2% for aboveground herbivores, 77.5% for belowground herbivores) and root feeders are more likely to contribute to control (53.7% versus 33.6%). Models predicting root feeders would be negatively affected by competitively superior aboveground herbivores may be limited to early successional habitats or generalist root feeders attacking annual plants. In later successional habitats, root feeders become more abundant and appear to be the more potent force in driving plant performance and plant community composition. Aboveground herbivores, even at high population levels, were unable to prevent buildup of root herbivore populations and the resulting population collapse of their host plants. Significant information gaps exist about the impact of root feeders on plant physiology and secondary chemistry and their importance in natural areas, particularly in the tropics.

  19. Land-use history alters contemporary insect herbivore community composition and decouples plant-herbivore relationships.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Philip G; Orrock, John L

    2015-05-01

    Past land use can create altered soil conditions and plant communities that persist for decades, although the effects of these altered conditions on consumers are rarely investigated. Using a large-scale field study at 36 sites in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) woodlands, we examined whether historic agricultural land use leads to differences in the abundance and community composition of insect herbivores (grasshoppers, families Acrididae and Tettigoniidae). We measured the cover of six plant functional groups and several environmental variables to determine whether historic agricultural land use affects the relationships between plant cover or environmental conditions and grasshopper assemblages. Land-use history had taxa-specific effects and interacted with herbaceous plant cover to alter grasshopper abundances, leading to significant changes in community composition. Abundance of most grasshopper taxa increased with herbaceous cover in woodlands with no history of agriculture, but there was no relationship in post-agricultural woodlands. We also found that grasshopper abundance was negatively correlated with leaf litter cover. Soil hardness was greater in post-agricultural sites (i.e. more compacted) and was associated with grasshopper community composition. Both herbaceous cover and leaf litter cover are influenced by fire frequency, suggesting a potential indirect role of fire on grasshopper assemblages. Our results demonstrate that historic land use may create persistent differences in the composition of grasshopper assemblages, while contemporary disturbances (e.g. prescribed fire) may be important for determining the abundance of grasshoppers, largely through the effect of fire on plants and leaf litter. Therefore, our results suggest that changes in the contemporary management regimes (e.g. increasing prescribed fire) may not be sufficient to shift the structure of grasshopper communities in post-agricultural sites towards communities in non

  20. Land-use history alters contemporary insect herbivore community composition and decouples plant-herbivore relationships.

    SciTech Connect

    Hahn, Philip G.; Orrock, John L.

    2015-04-01

    1. Past land use can create altered soil conditions and plant communities that persist for decades, although the effects of these altered conditions on consumers are rarely investigated. 2. Using a large-scale field study at 36 sites in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) woodlands, we examined whether historic agricultural land use leads to differences in the abundance and community composition of insect herbivores (grasshoppers, families Acrididae and Tettigoniidae). 3. We measured the cover of six plant functional groups and several environmental variables to determine whether historic agricultural land use affects the relationships between plant cover or environmental conditions and grasshopper assemblages. 4. Land-use history had taxa-specific effects and interacted with herbaceous plant cover to alter grasshopper abundances, leading to significant changes in community composition. Abundance of most grasshopper taxa increased with herbaceous cover in woodlands with no history of agriculture, but there was no relationship in post-agricultural woodlands. We also found that grasshopper abundance was negatively correlated with leaf litter cover. Soil hardness was greater in post-agricultural sites (i.e. more compacted) and was associated with grasshopper community composition. Both herbaceous cover and leaf litter cover are influenced by fire frequency, suggesting a potential indirect role of fire on grasshopper assemblages. 5. Our results demonstrate that historic land use may create persistent differences in the composition of grasshopper assemblages, while contemporary disturbances (e.g. prescribed fire) may be important for determining the abundance of grasshoppers, largely through the effect of fire on plants and leaf litter. Therefore, our results suggest that changes in the contemporary management regimes (e.g. increasing prescribed fire) may not be sufficient to shift the structure of grasshopper communities in post-agricultural sites towards communities in

  1. Leaf Colour as a Signal of Chemical Defence to Insect Herbivores in Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)

    PubMed Central

    Wilkins, Lucas; Osorio, Daniel; Hartley, Susan E.

    2015-01-01

    Leaf colour has been proposed to signal levels of host defence to insect herbivores, but we lack data on herbivory, leaf colour and levels of defence for wild host populations necessary to test this hypothesis. Such a test requires measurements of leaf spectra as they would be sensed by herbivore visual systems, as well as simultaneous measurements of chemical defences and herbivore responses to leaf colour in natural host-herbivore populations. In a large-scale field survey of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) populations, we show that variation in leaf colour and brightness, measured according to herbivore spectral sensitivities, predicts both levels of chemical defences (glucosinolates) and abundance of specialist lepidopteran (Pieris rapae) and hemipteran (Brevicoryne brassicae) herbivores. In subsequent experiments, P. rapae larvae achieved faster growth and greater pupal mass when feeding on plants with bluer leaves, which contained lower levels of aliphatic glucosinolates. Glucosinolate-mediated effects on larval performance may thus contribute to the association between P. rapae herbivory and leaf colour observed in the field. However, preference tests found no evidence that adult butterflies selected host plants based on leaf coloration. In the field, B. brassicae abundance varied with leaf brightness but greenhouse experiments were unable to identify any effects of brightness on aphid preference or performance. Our findings suggest that although leaf colour reflects both levels of host defences and herbivore abundance in the field, the ability of herbivores to respond to colour signals may be limited, even in species where performance is correlated with leaf colour. PMID:26353086

  2. Leaf Colour as a Signal of Chemical Defence to Insect Herbivores in Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea).

    PubMed

    Green, Jonathan P; Foster, Rosie; Wilkins, Lucas; Osorio, Daniel; Hartley, Susan E

    2015-01-01

    Leaf colour has been proposed to signal levels of host defence to insect herbivores, but we lack data on herbivory, leaf colour and levels of defence for wild host populations necessary to test this hypothesis. Such a test requires measurements of leaf spectra as they would be sensed by herbivore visual systems, as well as simultaneous measurements of chemical defences and herbivore responses to leaf colour in natural host-herbivore populations. In a large-scale field survey of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) populations, we show that variation in leaf colour and brightness, measured according to herbivore spectral sensitivities, predicts both levels of chemical defences (glucosinolates) and abundance of specialist lepidopteran (Pieris rapae) and hemipteran (Brevicoryne brassicae) herbivores. In subsequent experiments, P. rapae larvae achieved faster growth and greater pupal mass when feeding on plants with bluer leaves, which contained lower levels of aliphatic glucosinolates. Glucosinolate-mediated effects on larval performance may thus contribute to the association between P. rapae herbivory and leaf colour observed in the field. However, preference tests found no evidence that adult butterflies selected host plants based on leaf coloration. In the field, B. brassicae abundance varied with leaf brightness but greenhouse experiments were unable to identify any effects of brightness on aphid preference or performance. Our findings suggest that although leaf colour reflects both levels of host defences and herbivore abundance in the field, the ability of herbivores to respond to colour signals may be limited, even in species where performance is correlated with leaf colour.

  3. Ode to Ehrlich and Raven or how herbivorous insects might drive plant speciation.

    PubMed

    Marquis, Robert J; Salazar, Diego; Baer, Christina; Reinhardt, Jason; Priest, Galen; Barnett, Kirk

    2016-11-01

    Fifty years ago, Ehrlich and Raven proposed that insect herbivores have driven much of plant speciation, particularly at tropical latitudes. There have been no explicit tests of their hypotheses. Indeed there were no proposed mechanisms either at the time or since by which herbivores might generate new plant species. Here we outline two main classes of mechanisms, prezygotic and postzygotic, with a number of scenarios in each by which herbivore-driven changes in host plant secondary chemistry might lead to new plant lineage production. The former apply mainly to a sympatric model of speciation while the latter apply to a parapatric or allopatric model. Our review suggests that the steps of each mechanism are known to occur individually in many different systems, but no scenario has been thoroughly investigated in any one system. Nevertheless, studies of Dalechampia and its herbivores and pollinators, and patterns of defense tradeoffs in trees on different soil types in the Peruvian Amazon provide evidence consistent with the original hypotheses of Ehrlich and Raven. For herbivores to drive sympatric speciation, our findings suggest that interactions with both their herbivores and their pollinators should be considered. In contrast, herbivores may drive speciation allopatrically without any influence by pollinators. Finally, there is evidence that these mechanisms are more likely to occur at low latitudes and thus more likely to produce new species in the tropics. The mechanisms we outline provide a predictive framework for further study of the general role that herbivores play in diversification of their host plants.

  4. Insect attraction to herbivore-induced beech volatiles under different forest management regimes.

    PubMed

    Gossner, Martin M; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Unsicker, Sybille B

    2014-10-01

    Insect herbivore enemies such as parasitoids and predators are important in controlling herbivore pests. From agricultural systems we know that land-use intensification can negatively impact biological control as an important ecosystem service. The aim of our study was to investigate the importance of management regime for natural enemy pressure and biological control possibilities in forests dominated by European beech. We hypothesize that the volatile blend released from herbivore-infested beech trees functions as a signal, attracting parasitoids and herbivore enemies. Furthermore, we hypothesize that forest management regime influences the composition of species attracted by these herbivore-induced beech volatiles. We installed flight-interception traps next to Lymantria dispar caterpillar-infested young beech trees releasing herbivore-induced volatiles and next to non-infested control trees. Significantly more parasitoids were captured next to caterpillar-infested trees compared to non-infested controls, irrespective of forest type. However, the composition of the trophic guilds in the traps did vary in response to forest management regime. While the proportion of chewing insects was highest in non-managed forests, the proportion of sucking insects peaked in forests with low management and of parasitoids in young, highly managed, forest stands. Neither the number of naturally occurring beech saplings nor herbivory levels in the proximity of our experiment affected the abundance and diversity of parasitoids caught. Our data show that herbivore-induced beech volatiles attract herbivore enemies under field conditions. They further suggest that differences in the structural complexity of forests as a consequence of management regime only play a minor role in parasitoid activity and thus in indirect tree defense.

  5. Phylogenetic dispersion of host use in a tropical insect herbivore community.

    PubMed

    Weiblen, George D; Webb, Campbell O; Novotny, Vojtech; Basset, Yves; Miller, Scott E

    2006-07-01

    Theory has long predicted that insect community structure should be related to host plant phylogeny. We examined the distribution of insect herbivore associations with respect to host plant phylogeny for caterpillars (Lepidoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), and grasshoppers and relatives (orthopteroids) in a New Guinea rain forest. We collected herbivores from three lineages of closely related woody plants and from more distantly related plant lineages in the same locality to examine the phylogenetic scale at which host specificity can be detected in a community sample. By grafting molecular phylogenies inferred from three different genes into a supertree, we developed a phylogenetic hypothesis for the host community. Feeding experiments were performed on more than 100 000 live insects collected from the 62 host species. We examined patterns of host use with respect to the host plant phylogeny. As predicted, we found a negative relationship between faunal similarity, defined as the proportion of all herbivores feeding on two hosts that are shared between the hosts, and the phylogenetic distance between hosts based on DNA sequence divergence. Host phylogenetic distance explained a significant fraction of the variance (25%) in herbivore community similarity, in spite of the many ecological factors that probably influence feeding patterns. Herbivore community similarity among congeneric hosts was high (50% on average) compared to overlap among host families (20-30% on average). We confirmed this pattern using the nearest taxon index (NTI) and net relatedness index (NRI) to quantify the extent of phylogenetic clustering in particular herbivore associations and to test whether patterns are significantly different from chance expectations. We found that 40% of caterpillar species showed significant phylogenetic clustering with respect to host plant associations, somewhat more so than for beetles or orthopteroids. We interpret this as evidence that a substantial fraction of

  6. On the factors that promote the diversity of herbivorous insects and plants in tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Becerra, Judith X

    2015-05-12

    Some of the most fascinating and challenging questions in ecology are why biodiversity is highest in tropical forests and whether the factors involved are unique to these habitats. I did a worldwide test of the hypotheses that plant community divergence in antiherbivore traits results in higher insect herbivore diversity, and that predominant attack by specialized herbivores promotes plant richness. I found strong correlative support for both ideas. Butterfly diversity was greatest in regions where the community average species-pairwise dissimilarity in antiherbivore traits among plant species was highest. There was also a strong positive relationship between specialized (insect) vs. generalized (mammal) herbivores and plant richness. Regions where herbivory impact by mammals was higher than that of insects tended to have lower plant diversities. In contrast, regions in which insects are the main consumers, particularly in the Central and South American tropics, had the highest plant richness. Latitude did not explain any residual variance in insect or plant richness. The strong connections found between insect specialization, plant defense divergence, and plant and insect diversities suggest that increasing our understanding of the ecology of biological communities can aid in considerations of how to preserve biodiversity in the future.

  7. On the factors that promote the diversity of herbivorous insects and plants in tropical forests

    PubMed Central

    Becerra, Judith X.

    2015-01-01

    Some of the most fascinating and challenging questions in ecology are why biodiversity is highest in tropical forests and whether the factors involved are unique to these habitats. I did a worldwide test of the hypotheses that plant community divergence in antiherbivore traits results in higher insect herbivore diversity, and that predominant attack by specialized herbivores promotes plant richness. I found strong correlative support for both ideas. Butterfly diversity was greatest in regions where the community average species-pairwise dissimilarity in antiherbivore traits among plant species was highest. There was also a strong positive relationship between specialized (insect) vs. generalized (mammal) herbivores and plant richness. Regions where herbivory impact by mammals was higher than that of insects tended to have lower plant diversities. In contrast, regions in which insects are the main consumers, particularly in the Central and South American tropics, had the highest plant richness. Latitude did not explain any residual variance in insect or plant richness. The strong connections found between insect specialization, plant defense divergence, and plant and insect diversities suggest that increasing our understanding of the ecology of biological communities can aid in considerations of how to preserve biodiversity in the future. PMID:25902509

  8. Contrasting effects of sampling scale on insect herbivores distribution in response to canopy structure.

    PubMed

    Neves, Frederico S; Sperber, Carlos F; Campos, Ricardo I; Soares, Janaína P; Ribeiro, Sérvio P

    2013-03-01

    Species diversity of insect herbivores associated to canopy may vary local and geographically responding to distinct factors at different spatial scales. The aim of this study was to investigate how forest canopy structure affects insect herbivore species richness and abundance depending on feeding guilds' specificities. We tested the hypothesis that habitat structure affects insect herbivore species richness and abundance differently to sap-sucking and chewing herbivore guilds. Two spatial scales were evaluated: inside tree crowns (fine spatial cale) and canopy regions (coarse spatial scale). In three sampling sites we measured 120 tree crowns, grouped n five points with four contiguous tree crowns. Insects were sampled by beating method from each crown and data were summed up for analyzing each canopy region. In crowns (fine spatial scale) we measured habitat tructure: trunk circumference, tree height, canopy depth, number of ramifications and maximum ramification level. In each point, defined as a canopy region (coarse spatial scale), we measured habitat structure using a vertical cylindrical transect: tree species richness, leaf area, sum of strata heights and maximum canopy height. A principal component analysis based on the measured variables for each spatial scale was run to estimate habitat structure parameters. To test the effects of habitat structure upon herbivores, different general linear models were adjusted using the first two principal components as explanatory variables. Sap-sucking insect species richness and all herbivore abundances increased with size of crown at fine spatial scale. On the other hand, chewer species richness and abundance increased with resource quantity at coarse scale. Feeding specialization, resources availability, and agility are discussed as ecological causes of the found pattern.

  9. Top-down effects of insect herbivores during early succession: influence on biomass and plant dominance.

    PubMed

    Carson, Walter P; Root, Richard B

    1999-11-01

    We tested the hypothesis that phytophagous insects would have a strong top-down effect on early successional plant communities and would thus alter the course of succession. To test this hypothesis, we suppressed above-ground insects at regular intervals with a broad-spectrum insecticide through the first 3 years of old-field succession at three widely scattered locations in central New York State. Insect herbivory substantially reduced total plant biomass to a similar degree at all three sites by reducing the abundance of meadow goldenrod, Solidago altissima. As a result, Euthamia graminifolia dominated control plots whereas S. altissima dominated insecticide-treated plots by the third year of succession. S. altissima is the dominant old-field herbaceous species in this region but typically requires at least 5 years to become dominant. Past explanations for this delay have implicated colonization limitation whereas our data demonstrate that insect herbivory is a likely alternative explanation. A widespread, highly polyphagous insect, the xylem-tapping spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius, appeared to be the herbivore responsible for the reduction in standing crop biomass at all three sites. Insect herbivory typically caused little direct leaf tissue loss for the ten plant species we examined, including S. altissima. Consequently, the amount of leaf area removed was not a reliable indicator of the influence of insect herbivory on standing crop biomass or on early succession. Overall, we found a strong top-down effect of insect herbivores on biomass at several sites, so our results may be broadly applicable. These findings run counter to generalizations that top-down effects of herbivores, particularly insects, are weak in terrestrial systems. These generalizations may not apply to insects, such as spittlebugs, that can potentially mount an effective defense (i.e., spittle) against predators and subsequently reach relatively high abundance on common plant species

  10. Herbivorous insect response to group selection cutting in a southeastern bottomland hardwood forest.

    SciTech Connect

    Michael D. Ulyshen; James L. Hanula; Scott Horn; Christopher E. Moorman.

    2005-04-01

    ABSTRACT Malaise and pitfall traps were used to sample herbivorous insects in canopy gaps created by group-selection cutting in a bottomland hardwood forest in South Carolina. The traps were placed at the centers, edges, and in the forest adjacent to gaps of different sizes (0.13, 0.26, and 0.50 ha) and ages (1 and 7 yr old) during four sampling periods in 2001. Overall, the abundance and species richness of insect herbivores were greater at the centers of young gaps than at the edge of young gaps or in the forest surrounding young gaps. There were no differences in abundance or species richness among old gap locations (i.e., centers, edges, and forest), and we collected significantly more insects in young gaps than old gaps. The insect communities in old gaps were more similar to the forests surrounding them than young gap communities were to their respective forest locations, but the insect communities in the two forests locations (surrounding young and old gaps) had the highest percent similarity of all. Although both abundance and richness increased in the centers of young gaps with increasing gap size, these differences were not significant.Weattribute the increased numbers of herbivorous insects to the greater abundance of herbaceous plants available in young gaps.

  11. Specialist Insect Herbivore and Light Availability Do Not Interact in the Evolution of an Invasive Plant

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Ziyan; He, Kate S.; Li, Bo

    2015-01-01

    Release from specialist insect herbivores may allow invasive plants to evolve traits associated with decreased resistance and increased competitive ability. Given that there may be genetic trade-off between resistance and tolerance, invasive plants could also become more tolerant to herbivores. Although it is widely acknowledged that light availability affects tolerance to herbivores, little information is available for whether the effect of light availability on tolerance differ between the introduced and native populations. We conducted a common garden experiment in the introduced range of Alternanthera philoxeroides using ten invasive US and ten native Argentinean populations at two levels of light availability and in the presence or absence of a specialist stem-boring insect Agasicles hygrophila. Plant biomass (total and storage root biomass), two allocation traits (root/shoot ratio and branch intensity, branches biomass/main stem biomass) and two functional traits (specific stem length and specific leaf area), which are potentially associated with herbivore resistance and light capture, were measured. Overall, we found that A. philoxeroides from introduced ranges had comparable biomass and tolerance to specialist herbivores, lower branch intensity, lower specific stem length and specific leaf area. Moreover, introduced populations displayed higher shade tolerance of storage root biomass and lower plastic response to shading in specific stem length. Finally, light availability had no significant effect on evolution of tolerance to specialist herbivores of A. philoxeroides. Our results suggest that post-introduction evolution might have occurred in A. philoxeroides. While light availability did not influence the evolution of tolerance to specialist herbivores, increased shade tolerance and release from specialist insects might have contributed to the successful invasion of A. philoxeroides. PMID:26407176

  12. Effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide on insect herbivores and their host plants. Technical progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Lincoln, D.E.

    1984-01-01

    The goal was to examine and confirm the observation that leaf eting insects feed at higher rates on plants grown under elevated carbon dioxide regimes. Results confirm and refine the preliminary observation. Subsequent experiments are designd to examine the basis for the increased feeding and examine the generality by testing another plant/herbivore system. (ACR)

  13. Phytohormone-based activity mapping of insect herbivore-produced elicitors

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In response to insect attack many plants exhibit dynamic biochemical changes resulting in the induced production of direct and indirect defenses. Elicitors present in herbivore oral secretions are believed to positively regulate many inducible plant defenses; however, little is known about the speci...

  14. Global climate change and above- belowground insect herbivore interactions

    PubMed Central

    McKenzie, Scott W.; Hentley, William T.; Hails, Rosemary S.; Jones, T. Hefin; Vanbergen, Adam J.; Johnson, Scott N.

    2013-01-01

    Predicted changes to the Earth’s climate are likely to affect above–belowground interactions. Our understanding is limited, however, by past focus on two-species aboveground interactions mostly ignoring belowground influences. Despite their importance to ecosystem processes, there remains a dearth of empirical evidence showing how climate change will affect above–belowground interactions. The responses of above- and belowground organisms to climate change are likely to differ given the fundamentally different niches they inhabit. Yet there are few studies that address the biological and ecological reactions of belowground herbivores to environmental conditions in current and future climates. Even fewer studies investigate the consequences of climate change for above–belowground interactions between herbivores and other organisms; those that do provide no evidence of a directed response. This paper highlights the importance of considering the belowground fauna when making predictions on the effects of climate change on plant-mediated interspecific interactions. PMID:24155750

  15. Fungal endophytes of native grasses decrease insect herbivore preference and performance.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Kerri M; Land, John M; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2010-10-01

    Endophytic fungal symbionts of grasses are well known for their protective benefit of herbivory reduction. However, the majority of studies on endophyte-grass symbioses have been conducted on economically important, agricultural species-particularly tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)-raising the hypothesis that strong benefits are the product of artificial selection. We examined whether fungal endophytes found in natural populations of native grass species deterred insect herbivores. By testing several native grass-endophyte symbiota, we examined phylogenetic signals in the effects of endophytes on insects and compared the relative importance of herbivore and symbiotum identity in the outcome of the interactions. Preference was assessed using three herbivore species [Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera), Schistocerca americana (Orthoptera), Rhopalosiphum padi (Hemiptera)] and ten native symbiota, which spanned seven grass genera. We also assessed herbivore performance in a no choice experiment for five native symbiota against S. frugiperda. We compared greenhouse and laboratory trials with natural levels of herbivory measured in experimental field populations. In all cases, we included the agronomic grass species, L. arundinaceum, to compare with results from the native grasses. Both in the field and in experimental trials, herbivores showed a significant preference for endophyte-free plant material for the majority of native grasses, with up to three times lower herbivory for endophyte-symbiotic plants; however, the degree of response depended on the identity of the herbivore species. Endophyte presence also significantly reduced performance of S. frugiperda for the majority of grass species. In contrast, the endophyte in L. arundinaceum had few significant anti-herbivore effects, except for a reduction in herbivory at one of two field sites. Our results demonstrate that the mechanisms by which native symbionts deter

  16. Plant Quantity Affects Development and Survival of a Gregarious Insect Herbivore and Its Endoparasitoid Wasp

    PubMed Central

    Fei, Minghui; Gols, Rieta; Zhu, Feng; Harvey, Jeffrey A.

    2016-01-01

    Virtually all studies of plant-herbivore-natural enemy interactions focus on plant quality as the major constraint on development and survival. However, for many gregarious feeding insect herbivores that feed on small or ephemeral plants, the quantity of resources is much more limiting, yet this area has received virtually no attention. Here, in both lab and semi-field experiments using tents containing variably sized clusters of food plants, we studied the effects of periodic food deprivation in a tri-trophic system where quantitative constraints are profoundly important on insect performance. The large cabbage white Pieris brassicae, is a specialist herbivore of relatively small wild brassicaceous plants that grow in variable densities, with black mustard (Brassica nigra) being one of the most important. Larvae of P. brassicae are in turn attacked by a specialist endoparasitoid wasp, Cotesia glomerata. Increasing the length of food deprivation of newly molted final instar caterpillars significantly decreased herbivore and parasitoid survival and biomass, but shortened their development time. Moreover, the ability of caterpillars to recover when provided with food again was correlated with the length of the food deprivation period. In outdoor tents with natural vegetation, we created conditions similar to those faced by P. brassicae in nature by manipulating plant density. Low densities of B. nigra lead to potential starvation of P. brassicae broods and their parasitoids, replicating nutritional conditions of the lab experiments. The ability of both unparasitized and parasitized caterpillars to find corner plants was similar but decreased with central plant density. Survival of both the herbivore and parasitoid increased with plant density and was higher for unparasitized than for parasitized caterpillars. Our results, in comparison with previous studies, reveal that quantitative constraints are far more important that qualitative constraints on the performance of

  17. Odor uniformity among tomato individuals in response to herbivore depends on insect species.

    PubMed

    Bautista-Lozada, Alicia; Espinosa-García, Francisco Javier

    2013-01-01

    Plants produce specific volatile organic compound (VOC) blends in response to herbivory. Herbivore-induced blends may prime the plant for future attack or attract carnivorous insects; these responses have been considered adaptive for plants. If herbivores differentially modify the VOC emission among individuals within a group of plants they feed upon, then plant responses to herbivores will not only produce specific blends but also variation in odor among individuals, i.e. individuals smell the same, then having a uniform odor. We investigated the VOC emission variation or uniformity among tomato individuals (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv. Castlemart) in response to moderate wounding by (1) nymphs of the psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc.) (TP); (2) Lepidoptera chewing-feeding larvae of Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda Smith) (FAW) and (3) of Cabbage Looper (Trichoplusia ni Hübner) (CL), and (4) mechanical damage (MD). We used a ratio-based analysis to compare the fold-change in concentration from constitutive to induced VOC emission. We also used size and shape analysis to compare the emission of damaged and non-damaged individuals. Aside of finding herbivore-specific blends in line with other studies, we found patterns not described previously. We detected constitutive and induced odor variation among individuals attacked by the same herbivore, with the induced odor uniformity depending on the herbivore identity. We also showed that the fold-change of VOCs from constitutive to induced state differed among individuals independently of the uniformity of the blends before herbivore attack. We discuss our findings in the context of the ecological roles of VOCs in plant-plant and plant-carnivore insects' interactions.

  18. Foraging in the dark - chemically mediated host plant location by belowground insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Scott N; Nielsen, Uffe N

    2012-06-01

    Root-feeding insects are key components in many terrestrial ecosystems. Like shoot-feeding insect herbivores, they exploit a range of chemical cues to locate host plants. Respiratory emissions of carbon dioxide (CO(2)) from the roots is widely reported as the main attractant, however, there is conflicting evidence about its exact role. CO(2) may act as a 'search trigger' causing insects to search more intensively for more host specific signals, or the plant may 'mask' CO(2) emissions with other root volatiles thus avoiding detection. At least 74 other compounds elicit behavioral responses in root-feeding insects, with the majority (>80 %) causing attraction. Low molecular weight compounds (e.g., alcohols, esters, and aldehydes) underpin attraction, whereas hydrocarbons tend to have repellent properties. A range of compounds act as phagostimulants (e.g., sugars) once insects feed on roots, whereas secondary metabolites often deter feeding. In contrast, some secondary metabolites usually regarded as plant defenses (e.g., dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA)), can be exploited by some root-feeding insects for host location. Insects share several host location cues with plant parasitic nematodes (CO(2), DIMBOA, glutamic acid), but some compounds (e.g., cucurbitacin A) repel nematodes while acting as phagostimulants to insects. Moreover, insect and nematode herbivory can induce exudation of compounds that may be mutually beneficial, suggesting potentially significant interactions between the two groups of herbivores. While a range of plant-derived chemicals can affect the behavior of root-feeding insects, little attempt has been made to exploit these in pest management, though this may become a more viable option with diminishing control options.

  19. Insect herbivores selectively suppress the HPL branch of the oxylipin pathway in host plants.

    PubMed

    Savchenko, Tatyana; Pearse, Ian S; Ignatia, Laura; Karban, Richard; Dehesh, Katayoon

    2013-02-01

    Insect herbivores have developed a myriad of strategies to manipulate the defense responses of their host plants. Here we provide evidence that chewing insects differentially alter the oxylipin profiles produced by the two main and competing branches of the plant defensive response pathway, the allene oxide synthase (AOS) and hydroperoxide lyase (HPL) branches, which are responsible for wound-inducible production of jasmonates (JAs), and green leafy volatiles (GLVs) respectively. Specifically, we used three Arabidopsis genotypes that were damaged by mechanical wounding or by insects of various feeding guilds (piercing aphids, generalist chewing caterpillars and specialist chewing caterpillars). We established that emission of GLVs is stimulated by wounding incurred mechanically or by aphids, but release of these volatiles is constitutively impaired by both generalist and specialist chewing insects. Simultaneously, however, these chewing herbivores stimulated JA production, demonstrating targeted insect suppression of the HPL branch of the oxylipin pathway. Use of lines engineered to express HPL constitutively, in conjunction with quantitative RT-PCR-based expression analyses, established a combination of transcriptional and post-transcriptional reprogramming of the HPL pathway genes as the mechanistic basis of insect-mediated suppression of the corresponding metabolites. Feeding studies suggested a potential evolutionary advantage of suppressing GLV production, as caterpillars preferably consumed leaf tissue from plants that had not been primed by these volatile cues.

  20. A meta-analysis of the effects of fragmentation on herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    De Carvalho Guimarães, Carla Daniele; Viana, João Paulo Rodrigues; Cornelissen, Tatiana

    2014-06-01

    We reviewed the evidence for the effects of fragmentation on insects and plants by conducting a meta-analysis for the effects of artificial forest edge formation on insect herbivore abundance, herbivore richness, and plant herbivory, with data pooled from 31 studies and 159 independent comparisons. Hedge's d was used as the metric to combine all studies. Edge formation exhibited strong effects on plant herbivory rates, as edge plants exhibited 70% more damage than interior plants. Edges also increased herbivore abundance by 14% and herbivore richness by almost 65%, and effects of edge formation were stronger for Lepidoptera (mainly caterpillars) and Orthoptera. Edge effects were also stronger for forested ecosystems compared with open habitats and for temperate regions. Because the studies here evaluated did not simultaneously evaluate bottom-up and top-down factors, the mechanisms responsible for the patterns found cannot be properly addressed, although variation in host plant chemistry, relaxation of pressure exerted by natural enemies, or both, can be suggested as potential factors explaining variation in herbivory between edge and interior habitats. Higher herbivory rates on edge habitats, as shown by our meta-analytical review, have the potential to alter community composition and should be studied in detail to unravel their effects on ecosystem functioning.

  1. Odor coding in a disease-transmitting herbivorous insect, the Asian citrus psyllid.

    PubMed

    Coutinho-Abreu, Iliano V; McInally, Shane; Forster, Lisa; Luck, Robert; Ray, Anandasankar

    2014-07-01

    Olfactory systems discriminate odorants very efficiently and herbivorous insects use them to find hosts in confounding and complex odor landscapes. The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri, feeds on citrus flush and transmits Candidatus Liberibacter that causes citrus greening disease globally. Here, we perform a systematic analysis of odor detection in the ACP antenna using single-unit electrophysiology of rhinarial plate sensilla to a large panel of odorants from plants. We identify neurons that respond strongly to odorants found in the host citrus plants. Comparisons with the generalist yeast-feeding Drosophila melanogaster and specialist anthropophilic Anopheles gambiae reveal differences in odor-coding strategies for the citrus-seeking ACP. These findings provide a foundation for understanding host-odor coding in herbivorous insects.

  2. Silencing of ecdysone receptor, insect intestinal mucin and sericotropin genes by bacterially produced double-stranded RNA affects larval growth and development in Plutella xylostella and Helicoverpa armigera.

    PubMed

    Israni, B; Rajam, M V

    2017-04-01

    RNA interference mediated gene silencing, which is triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), has become a important tool for functional genomics studies in various systems, including insects. Bacterially produced dsRNA employs the use of a bacterial strain lacking in RNaseIII activity and harbouring a vector with dual T7 promoter sites, which allow the production of intact dsRNA molecules. Here, we report an assessment of the functional relevance of the ecdysone receptor, insect intestinal mucin and sericotropin genes through silencing by dsRNA in two lepidopteran insect pests, Helicoverpa armigera and Plutella xylostella, both of which cause serious crop losses. Oral feeding of dsRNA led to significant reduction in transcripts of the target insect genes, which caused significant larval mortality with various moulting anomalies and an overall developmental delay. We also found a significant decrease in reproductive potential in female moths, with a drop in egg laying and compromised egg hatching from treated larvae as compared to controls. dsRNA was stable in the insect gut and was efficiently processed into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), thus accounting for the phenotypes observed in the present work. The study revealed the importance of these genes in core insect processes, which are essential for insect development and survival.

  3. Responses of insect herbivores and herbivory to habitat fragmentation: a hierarchical meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Rossetti, María Rosa; Tscharntke, Teja; Aguilar, Ramiro; Batáry, Péter

    2017-02-01

    Loss and fragmentation of natural habitats can lead to alterations of plant-animal interactions and ecosystems functioning. Insect herbivory, an important antagonistic interaction is expected to be influenced by habitat fragmentation through direct negative effects on herbivore community richness and indirect positive effects due to losses of natural enemies. Plant community changes with habitat fragmentation added to the indirect effects but with little predictable impact. Here, we evaluated habitat fragmentation effects on both herbivory and herbivore diversity, using novel hierarchical meta-analyses. Across 89 studies, we found a negative effect of habitat fragmentation on abundance and species richness of herbivores, but only a non-significant trend on herbivory. Reduced area and increased isolation of remaining fragments yielded the strongest effect on abundance and species richness, while specialist herbivores were the most vulnerable to habitat fragmentation. These fragmentation effects were more pronounced in studies with large spatial extent. The strong reduction in herbivore diversity, but not herbivory, indicates how important common generalist species can be in maintaining herbivory as a major ecosystem process.

  4. Adaptive evolution of threonine deaminase in plant defense against insect herbivores

    SciTech Connect

    Gonzales-Vigil, Eliana; Bianchetti, Christopher M.; Phillips, Jr., George N.; Howe, Gregg A.

    2011-11-07

    Gene duplication is a major source of plant chemical diversity that mediates plant-herbivore interactions. There is little direct evidence, however, that novel chemical traits arising from gene duplication reduce herbivory. Higher plants use threonine deaminase (TD) to catalyze the dehydration of threonine (Thr) to {alpha}-ketobutyrate and ammonia as the committed step in the biosynthesis of isoleucine (Ile). Cultivated tomato and related Solanum species contain a duplicated TD paralog (TD2) that is coexpressed with a suite of genes involved in herbivore resistance. Analysis of TD2-deficient tomato lines showed that TD2 has a defensive function related to Thr catabolism in the gut of lepidopteran herbivores. During herbivory, the regulatory domain of TD2 is removed by proteolysis to generate a truncated protein (pTD2) that efficiently degrades Thr without being inhibited by Ile. We show that this proteolytic activation step occurs in the gut of lepidopteran but not coleopteran herbivores, and is catalyzed by a chymotrypsin-like protease of insect origin. Analysis of purified recombinant enzymes showed that TD2 is remarkably more resistant to proteolysis and high temperature than the ancestral TD1 isoform. The crystal structure of pTD2 provided evidence that electrostatic interactions constitute a stabilizing feature associated with adaptation of TD2 to the extreme environment of the lepidopteran gut. These findings demonstrate a role for gene duplication in the evolution of a plant defense that targets and co-opts herbivore digestive physiology.

  5. [Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on plant, herbivorous insect, and its natural enemy: a review].

    PubMed

    Xie, Hai-Cui; Wang, Zhen-Ying; He, Kang-Lai

    2013-12-01

    Since the industrial revolution, the huge consumption of fossil fuels and unduly destruction of natural habitats by human activities have led to the ever-increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2. To study the adaptation mechanisms of plant, herbivorous insect, and its natural enemy within agricultural ecosystems to the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration is of significance in deciphering the damage pattern of agricultural pest occurrence and controlling the pest occurrence and in mitigating the CO2 emission from agricultural ecosystems. This paper reviewed the research progress on the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on the host plant, herbivorous insect, and its natural enemy in agro-ecosystem, with the focuses on the improvement of related research methods, the variation patterns of host plant primary and secondary metabolites induced by elevated atmospheric CO2, the effects of the elevated CO2 on the growth and development, population density, and behaviors of herbivorous insect, and the biology and predation and/or parasitism rates of natural enemy. The future research frontiers in this research area were also discussed.

  6. Tolerance to deer herbivory and resistance to insect herbivores in the common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis).

    PubMed

    Puentes, A; Johnson, M T J

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of plant defence in response to herbivory will depend on the fitness effects of damage, availability of genetic variation and potential ecological and genetic constraints on defence. Here, we examine the potential for evolution of tolerance to deer herbivory in Oenothera biennis while simultaneously considering resistance to natural insect herbivores. We examined (i) the effects of deer damage on fitness, (ii) the presence of genetic variation in tolerance and resistance, (iii) selection on tolerance, (iv) genetic correlations with resistance that could constrain evolution of tolerance and (v) plant traits that might predict defence. In a field experiment, we simulated deer damage occurring early and late in the season, recorded arthropod abundances, flowering phenology and measured growth rate and lifetime reproduction. Our study showed that deer herbivory has a negative effect on fitness, with effects being more pronounced for late-season damage. Selection acted to increase tolerance to deer damage, yet there was low and nonsignificant genetic variation in this trait. In contrast, there was substantial genetic variation in resistance to insect herbivores. Resistance was genetically uncorrelated with tolerance, whereas positive genetic correlations in resistance to insect herbivores suggest there exists diffuse selection on resistance traits. In addition, growth rate and flowering time did not predict variation in tolerance, but flowering phenology was genetically correlated with resistance. Our results suggest that deer damage has the potential to exert selection because browsing reduces plant fitness, but limited standing genetic variation in tolerance is expected to constrain adaptive evolution in O. biennis.

  7. The effects of enriched carbon dioxide atmospheres on plant--insect herbivore interactions.

    PubMed

    Fajer, E D; Bowers, M D; Bazzaz, F A

    1989-03-03

    Little is known about the effects of enriched CO(2) atmospheres, which may exist in the next century, on natural plant-insect herbivore interactions. Larvae of a specialist insect herbivore, Junonia coenia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), were reared on one of its host plants, Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae), grown in either current low (350 parts per million) or high (700 ppm) CO(2) environments. Those larvae raised on high-CO(2) foliage grew more slowly and experienced greater mortality, especially in early instars, than those raised on low-CO(2) foliage. Poor larval performance on high-CO(2) foliage was probably due to the reduced foliar water and nitrogen concentrations of those plants and not to changes in the concentration of the defensive compounds, iridoid glycosides. Adult pupal weight and female fecundity were not affected by the CO(2) environment of the host plant. These results indicate that interactions between plants and herbivorous insects will be modified under the predicted CO(2) conditions of the 21st century.

  8. Phenotypic variation in food utilization in an outbreak insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Quezada-García, Roberto; Fuentealba, Álvaro; Bauce, Éric

    2016-11-08

    The effects of nutrition may have subtantial impact on insect evolution by shaping different components of phenotypes. The key to undestanding this evolutionary process is to know how nutritional condition affects additive and non-additive components of the phenotype. However, this is poorly understood in outbreaking insects. We investigated the additive and non-additive variation present in food utilization traits in spruce budworm individuals subjected to chronic nutritional stress. 160 full-sib families of spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clem.) were raised under laboratory conditions, feeding on two diets (high and low energy) during three generations. Variables tested were pupal mass, consumption rate (RCR), growth rate (RGR), approximate digestibility (AD), the efficiency of conversion of digested food (ECD) and the efficiency of conversion of ingested food (ECI). Our results show that all traits tested presented a high percentage of non-additive effects that modulate phenotype expression. We found a significant impact of family x diet interaction on pupal mass, RGR and ECD. Furthermore, these traits exhibited the greatest heritability. There was no evidence of presence of maternal effects. The results revealed that food utilization traits may evolve through epigenetics effects, such as phenotypic plasticity. This information can be used by modellers to improve forecast of spruce budworm population dynamics. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  9. Global change effects on plant chemical defenses against insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Bidart-Bouzat, M Gabriela; Imeh-Nathaniel, Adebobola

    2008-11-01

    This review focuses on individual effects of major global change factors, such as elevated CO2, O3, UV light and temperature, on plant secondary chemistry. These secondary metabolites are well-known for their role in plant defense against insect herbivory. Global change effects on secondary chemicals appear to be plant species-specific and dependent on the chemical type. Even though plant chemical responses induced by these factors are highly variable, there seems to be some specificity in the response to different environmental stressors. For example, even though the production of phenolic compounds is enhanced by both elevated CO2 and UV light levels, the latter appears to primarily increase the concentrations of flavonoids. Likewise, specific phenolic metabolites seem to be induced by O3 but not by other factors, and an increase in volatile organic compounds has been particularly detected under elevated temperature. More information is needed regarding how global change factors influence inducibility of plant chemical defenses as well as how their indirect and direct effects impact insect performance and behavior, herbivory rates and pathogen attack. This knowledge is crucial to better understand how plants and their associated natural enemies will be affected in future changing environments.

  10. Insect herbivores, chemical innovation, and the evolution of habit specialization in Amazonian trees.

    PubMed

    Fine, Paul V A; Metz, Margaret R; Lokvam, John; Mesones, Italo; Zuñiga, J Milagros Ayarza; Lamarre, Greg P A; Pilco, Magno Vásquez; Baraloto, Christopher

    2013-08-01

    Herbivores are often implicated in the generation of the extraordinarily diverse tropical flora. One hypothesis linking enemies to plant diversification posits that the evolution of novel defenses allows plants to escape their enemies and expand their ranges. When range expansion involves entering a new habitat type, this could accelerate defense evolution if habitats contain different assemblages of herbivores and/or divergent resource availabilities that affect plant defense allocation. We evaluated this hypothesis by investigating two sister habitat specialist ecotypes of Protium subserratum (Burseraceae), a common Amazonian tree that occurs in white-sand and terra firme forests. We collected insect herbivores feeding on the plants, assessed whether growth differences between habitats were genetically based using a reciprocal transplant experiment, and sampled multiple populations of both lineages for defense chemistry. Protium subserratum plants were attacked mainly by chrysomelid beetles and cicadellid hemipterans. Assemblages of insect herbivores were dissimilar between populations of ecotypes from different habitats, as well as from the same habitat 100 km distant. Populations from terra firme habitats grew significantly faster than white-sand populations; they were taller, produced more leaf area, and had more chlorophyll. White-sand populations expressed more dry mass of secondary compounds and accumulated more flavone glycosides and oxidized terpenes, whereas terra firme populations produced a coumaroylquinic acid that was absent from white-sand populations. We interpret these results as strong evidence that herbivores and resource availability select for divergent types and amounts of defense investment in white-sand and terra firme lineages of Protium subserratum, which may contribute to habitat-mediated speciation in these trees.

  11. Insect herbivores increase mortality and reduce tree seedling growth of some species in temperate forest canopy gaps

    PubMed Central

    Burkepile, Deron E.; Parker, John D.

    2017-01-01

    Insect herbivores help maintain forest diversity through selective predation on seedlings of vulnerable tree species. Although the role of natural enemies has been well-studied in tropical systems, relatively few studies have experimentally manipulated insect abundance in temperate forests and tracked impacts over multiple years. We conducted a three-year experiment (2012–2014) deterring insect herbivores from seedlings in new treefall gaps in deciduous hardwood forests in Maryland. During this study, we tracked recruitment of all tree seedlings, as well as survivorship and growth of 889 individual seedlings from five tree species: Acer rubrum, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus spp., Liriodendron tulipifera, and Liquidambar styraciflua. Insect herbivores had little effect on recruitment of any tree species, although there was a weak indication that recruitment of A. rubrum was higher in the presence of herbivores. Insect herbivores reduced survivorship of L. tulipifera, but had no significant effects on A. rubrum, Fraxinus spp., F. grandifolia, or L. styraciflua. Additionally, insects reduced growth rates of early pioneer species A. rubrum, L. tulipifera, and L. styraciflua, but had little effect on more shade-tolerant species F. grandifolia and Fraxinus spp. Overall, by negatively impacting growth and survivorship of early pioneer species, forest insects may play an important but relatively cryptic role in forest gap dynamics, with potentially interesting impacts on the overall maintenance of diversity. PMID:28344904

  12. Insect attraction versus plant defense: young leaves high in glucosinolates stimulate oviposition by a specialist herbivore despite poor larval survival due to high saponin content.

    PubMed

    Badenes-Perez, Francisco R; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Heckel, David G

    2014-01-01

    Glucosinolates are plant secondary metabolites used in plant defense. For insects specialized on Brassicaceae, such as the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), glucosinolates act as "fingerprints" that are essential in host plant recognition. Some plants in the genus Barbarea (Brassicaceae) contain, besides glucosinolates, saponins that act as feeding deterrents for P. xylostella larvae, preventing their survival on the plant. Two-choice oviposition tests were conducted to study the preference of P. xylostella among Barbarea leaves of different size within the same plant. P. xylostella laid more eggs per leaf area on younger leaves compared to older ones. Higher concentrations of glucosinolates and saponins were found in younger leaves than in older ones. In 4-week-old plants, saponins were present in true leaves, while cotyledons contained little or no saponins. When analyzing the whole foliage of the plant, the content of glucosinolates and saponins also varied significantly in comparisons among plants that were 4, 8, and 12 weeks old. In Barbarea plants and leaves of different ages, there was a positive correlation between glucosinolate and saponin levels. This research shows that, in Barbarea plants, ontogenetical changes in glucosinolate and saponin content affect both attraction and resistance to P. xylostella. Co-occurrence of a high content of glucosinolates and saponins in the Barbarea leaves that are most valuable for the plant, but are also the most attractive to P. xylostella, provides protection against this specialist herbivore, which oviposition behavior on Barbarea seems to be an evolutionary mistake.

  13. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

    PubMed

    Campos-Navarrete, María José; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Munguía-Rosas, Miguel A; Parra-Tabla, Víctor

    2015-01-01

    Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD) and genotypic diversity (GD) on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and -within each of these two plot types- mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany) and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders) but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity.

  14. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

    PubMed Central

    Campos-Navarrete, María José; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Munguía-Rosas, Miguel A.; Parra-Tabla, Víctor

    2015-01-01

    Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD) and genotypic diversity (GD) on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and –within each of these two plot types– mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany) and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders) but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity. PMID:26241962

  15. Simulated climate warming alters phenological synchrony between an outbreak insect herbivore and host trees.

    PubMed

    Schwartzberg, Ezra G; Jamieson, Mary A; Raffa, Kenneth F; Reich, Peter B; Montgomery, Rebecca A; Lindroth, Richard L

    2014-07-01

    As the world's climate warms, the phenologies of interacting organisms in seasonally cold environments may advance at differing rates, leading to alterations in phenological synchrony that can have important ecological consequences. For temperate and boreal species, the timing of early spring development plays a key role in plant-herbivore interactions and can influence insect performance, outbreak dynamics, and plant damage. We used a field-based, meso-scale free-air forest warming experiment (B4WarmED) to examine the effects of elevated temperature on the phenology and performance of forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) in relation to the phenology of two host trees, aspen (Populus tremuloides) and birch (Betula papyrifera). Results of our 2-year study demonstrated that spring phenology advanced for both insects and trees, with experimentally manipulated increases in temperature of 1.7 and 3.4 °C. However, tree phenology advanced more than insect phenology, resulting in altered phenological synchrony. Specifically, we observed a decrease in the time interval between herbivore egg hatch and budbreak of aspen in both years and birch in one year. Moreover, warming decreased larval development time from egg hatch to pupation, but did not affect pupal mass. Larvae developed more quickly on aspen than birch, but pupal mass was not affected by host species. Our study reveals that warming-induced phenological shifts can alter the timing of ecological interactions across trophic levels. These findings illustrate one mechanism by which climate warming could mediate insect herbivore outbreaks, and also highlights the importance of climate change effects on trophic interactions.

  16. Does Plant Cultivar Difference Modify the Bottom-Up Effects of Resource Limitation on Plant-Insect Herbivore Interactions?

    PubMed

    Han, Peng; Desneux, Nicolas; Michel, Thomas; Le Bot, Jacques; Seassau, Aurelie; Wajnberg, Eric; Amiens-Desneux, Edwige; Lavoir, Anne-Violette

    2016-12-01

    Variation in resource input to plants triggers bottom-up effects on plant-insect herbivore interactions. However, variation in plant intrinsic traits in response to resource availability may modify the bottom-up effects. Furthermore, the consequences also may depend on the feeding strategy of insect herbivores belonging to different feeding guilds. We evaluated the performance of two insect herbivores from distinct feeding guilds, the leaf miner Tuta absoluta and the phloem feeder Bemisia tabaci. We offered the insects two tomato cultivars growing under optimal nitrogen input vs. nitrogen limitation, or under optimal water input vs. water limitation. We found that: (i) the two cultivars differed in their responses to nitrogen and water limitation by regulating primary (leaf-gas exchange related parameters, leaf nitrogen content, and leaf C/N ratio) and secondary metabolism (main defensive compounds: glycoalkaloids); (ii) for both plant cultivars, nitrogen or water limitation significantly affected T. absoluta survival and development, while B. tabaci survival was affected only by nitrogen limitation; and surprisingly (iii) plant cultivar differences did not modify the negative bottom-up effects of resource limitation on the two insect herbivores. In conclusion, the negative effects of resource limitation cascaded up to insect herbivores even though plant cultivars exhibited various adaptive traits to resource limitation.

  17. Insect Leaf-Chewing Damage Tracks Herbivore Richness in Modern and Ancient Forests

    PubMed Central

    Carvalho, Mónica R.; Wilf, Peter; Barrios, Héctor; Windsor, Donald M.; Currano, Ellen D.; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Jaramillo, Carlos A.

    2014-01-01

    The fossil record demonstrates that past climate changes and extinctions significantly affected the diversity of insect leaf-feeding damage, implying that the richness of damage types reflects that of the unsampled damage makers, and that the two are correlated through time. However, this relationship has not been quantified for living leaf-chewing insects, whose richness and mouthpart convergence have obscured their value for understanding past and present herbivore diversity. We hypothesized that the correlation of leaf-chewing damage types (DTs) and damage maker richness is directly observable in living forests. Using canopy access cranes at two lowland tropical rainforest sites in Panamá to survey 24 host-plant species, we found significant correlations between the numbers of leaf chewing insect species collected and the numbers of DTs observed to be made by the same species in feeding experiments, strongly supporting our hypothesis. Damage type richness was largely driven by insect species that make multiple DTs. Also, the rank-order abundances of DTs recorded at the Panamá sites and across a set of latest Cretaceous to middle Eocene fossil floras were highly correlated, indicating remarkable consistency of feeding-mode distributions through time. Most fossil and modern host-plant pairs displayed high similarity indices for their leaf-chewing DTs, but informative differences and trends in fossil damage composition became apparent when endophytic damage was included. Our results greatly expand the potential of insect-mediated leaf damage for interpreting insect herbivore richness and compositional heterogeneity from fossil floras and, equally promisingly, in living forests. PMID:24788720

  18. Insect leaf-chewing damage tracks herbivore richness in modern and ancient forests.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Mónica R; Wilf, Peter; Barrios, Héctor; Windsor, Donald M; Currano, Ellen D; Labandeira, Conrad C; Jaramillo, Carlos A

    2014-01-01

    The fossil record demonstrates that past climate changes and extinctions significantly affected the diversity of insect leaf-feeding damage, implying that the richness of damage types reflects that of the unsampled damage makers, and that the two are correlated through time. However, this relationship has not been quantified for living leaf-chewing insects, whose richness and mouthpart convergence have obscured their value for understanding past and present herbivore diversity. We hypothesized that the correlation of leaf-chewing damage types (DTs) and damage maker richness is directly observable in living forests. Using canopy access cranes at two lowland tropical rainforest sites in Panamá to survey 24 host-plant species, we found significant correlations between the numbers of leaf chewing insect species collected and the numbers of DTs observed to be made by the same species in feeding experiments, strongly supporting our hypothesis. Damage type richness was largely driven by insect species that make multiple DTs. Also, the rank-order abundances of DTs recorded at the Panamá sites and across a set of latest Cretaceous to middle Eocene fossil floras were highly correlated, indicating remarkable consistency of feeding-mode distributions through time. Most fossil and modern host-plant pairs displayed high similarity indices for their leaf-chewing DTs, but informative differences and trends in fossil damage composition became apparent when endophytic damage was included. Our results greatly expand the potential of insect-mediated leaf damage for interpreting insect herbivore richness and compositional heterogeneity from fossil floras and, equally promisingly, in living forests.

  19. Host-associated differentiation in a highly polyphagous, sexually reproducing insect herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Antwi, Josephine B; Sword, Gregory A; Medina, Raul F

    2015-01-01

    Insect herbivores may undergo genetic divergence on their host plants through host-associated differentiation (HAD). Much of what we know about HAD involves insect species with narrow host ranges (i.e., specialists) that spend part or all their life cycle inside their hosts, and/or reproduce asexually (e.g., parthenogenetic insects), all of which are thought to facilitate HAD. However, sexually reproducing polyphagous insects can also exhibit HAD. Few sexually reproducing insects have been tested for HAD, and when they have insects from only a handful of potential host-plant populations have been tested, making it difficult to predict how common HAD is when one considers the entire species’ host range. This question is particularly relevant when considering insect pests, as host-associated populations may differ in traits relevant to their control. Here, we tested for HAD in a cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) pest, the cotton fleahopper (CFH) (Pseudatomoscelis seriatus), a sexually reproducing, highly polyphagous hemipteran insect. A previous study detected one incidence of HAD among three of its host plants. We used Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to assess HAD in CFH collected from an expanded array of 13 host-plant species belonging to seven families. Overall, four genetically distinct populations were found. One genetically distinct genotype was exclusively associated with one of the host-plant species while the other three were observed across more than one host-plant species. The relatively low degree of HAD in CFH compared to the pea aphid, another hemipteran insect, stresses the likely importance of sexual recombination as a factor increasing the likelihood of HAD. PMID:26257868

  20. Cellulolytic Streptomyces Strains Associated with Herbivorous Insects Share a Phylogenetically Linked Capacity To Degrade Lignocellulose

    PubMed Central

    Book, Adam J.; Lewin, Gina R.; McDonald, Bradon R.; Takasuka, Taichi E.; Doering, Drew T.; Adams, Aaron S.; Blodgett, Joshua A. V.; Clardy, Jon; Raffa, Kenneth F.; Fox, Brian G.

    2014-01-01

    Actinobacteria in the genus Streptomyces are critical players in microbial communities that decompose complex carbohydrates in the soil, and these bacteria have recently been implicated in the deconstruction of plant polysaccharides for some herbivorous insects. Despite the importance of Streptomyces to carbon cycling, the extent of their plant biomass-degrading ability remains largely unknown. In this study, we compared four strains of Streptomyces isolated from insect herbivores that attack pine trees: DpondAA-B6 (SDPB6) from the mountain pine beetle, SPB74 from the southern pine beetle, and SirexAA-E (SACTE) and SirexAA-G from the woodwasp, Sirex noctilio. Biochemical analysis of secreted enzymes demonstrated that only two of these strains, SACTE and SDPB6, were efficient at degrading plant biomass. Genomic analyses indicated that SACTE and SDPB6 are closely related and that they share similar compositions of carbohydrate-active enzymes. Genome-wide proteomic and transcriptomic analyses revealed that the major exocellulases (GH6 and GH48), lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (AA10), and mannanases (GH5) were conserved and secreted by both organisms, while the secreted endocellulases (GH5 and GH9 versus GH9 and GH12) were from diverged enzyme families. Together, these data identify two phylogenetically related insect-associated Streptomyces strains with high biomass-degrading activity and characterize key enzymatic similarities and differences used by these organisms to deconstruct plant biomass. PMID:24837391

  1. Molecular characterization of trophic ecology within an island radiation of insect herbivores (Curculionidae: Entiminae: Cratopus).

    PubMed

    Kitson, James J N; Warren, Ben H; Florens, F B Vincent; Baider, Claudia; Strasberg, Dominique; Emerson, Brent C

    2013-11-01

    The phytophagous beetle family Curculionidae is the most species-rich insect family known, with much of this diversity having been attributed to both co-evolution with food plants and host shifts at key points within the early evolutionary history of the group. Less well understood is the extent to which patterns of host use vary within or among related species, largely because of the technical difficulties associated with quantifying this. Here we develop a recently characterized molecular approach to quantify diet within and between two closely related species of weevil occurring primarily within dry forests on the island of Mauritius. Our aim is to quantify dietary variation across populations and assess adaptive and nonadaptive explanations for this and to characterize the nature of a trophic shift within an ecologically distinct population within one of the species. We find that our study species are polyphagous, consuming a much wider range of plants than would be suggested by the literature. Our data suggest that local diet variation is largely explained by food availability, and locally specialist populations consume food plants that are not phylogenetically novel, but do appear to represent a novel preference. Our results demonstrate the power of molecular methods to unambiguously quantify dietary variation across populations of insect herbivores, providing a valuable approach to understanding trophic interactions within and among local plant and insect herbivore communities.

  2. Biological activity of acyl glucose esters from Datura wrightii glandular trichomes against three native insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Hare, J Daniel

    2005-07-01

    Datura wrightii is dimorphic for leaf trichome type in southern California. "Sticky" plants produce glandular trichomes that secrete acylsugars, whereas velvety plants produce nonglandular trichomes. Glandular trichomes confer resistance to some potential insect herbivores and are associated with reduced feeding in the field by two native coleopteran herbivores: the tobacco flea beetle, Epitrix hirtipennis, and a weevil, Trichobaris compacta. In contrast, another native beetle, Lema daturaphila, damages sticky and velvety plants similarly in the field. A series of choice and no-choice "ester removal" and "ester addition" feeding experiments were performed in the laboratory to evaluate the role of acylsugars in feeding by all three insect species. Consumption of sticky leaves after their esters were removed by washing was compared to consumption of unwashed sticky leaves and velvety leaves in ester removal experiments. Consumption of velvety leaves was measured after acylsugars were applied to those leaves in controlled amounts in the ester addition experiments. Consumption by E. hirtipennis was reduced by acylsugars in all experiments. Consumption by T. compacta was reduced by acylsugars in the ester removal experiments, but not in the ester addition experiments. The location of the acylsugars at the tip of a long trichome, rather than simply on the leaf surface, may be an important component of the biological activity of acylsugars against T. compacta in nature. Consumption by L. daturaphila was not significantly reduced by acylsugars in any experiment. The acylsugars caused no significant mortality of any of the three insect species.

  3. Experience-based modulation of behavioural responses to plant volatiles and other sensory cues in insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Anderson, P; Anton, S

    2014-08-01

    Plant volatiles are important cues for many herbivorous insects when choosing a suitable host plant and finding a mating partner. An appropriate behavioural response to sensory cues from plants and other insects is crucial for survival and fitness. As the natural environment can show both large spatial and temporal variability, herbivores may need to show behavioural plasticity to the available cues. By using earlier experiences, insects can adapt to local variation of resources. Experience is well known to affect sensory-guided behaviour in parasitoids and social insects, but there is also increasing evidence that it influences host plant choice and the probability of finding a mating partner in herbivorous insects. In this review, we will focus upon behavioural changes in holometabolous insect herbivores during host plant choice and localization of mating partners, modulated by experience to sensory cues. The experience can be acquired during both the larval and the adult stage and can influence later responses to plant volatiles and other sensory cues not only within the developmental stage but also after metamorphosis. Furthermore, we will address the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the experience-dependent behavioural adaptations and discuss ecological and evolutionary aspects of insect behavioural plasticity based upon experience.

  4. Effects of protein and carbohydrate on an insect herbivore: the vista from a fitness landscape.

    PubMed

    Le Gall, Marion; Behmer, Spencer T

    2014-11-01

    Protein and carbohydrates are important nutrients driving the growth of herbivores; however, their content in plants is highly variable. Multiple studies have explored their effect on herbivores, but only one other study (using a caterpillar) has provided a comprehensive overview that includes a simultaneous evaluation of their ratios and concentrations. In the present work, we ran two experiments using nymphs of the generalist grasshopper Melanoplus differentialis. Grasshoppers and caterpillars differ in a number of important ways, which might affect their feeding and physiological responses to foods with variable content of protein and carbohydrates. First, in a choice experiment, we measured performance and related this to the self-selected intake of nutrients. No differences were found for duration of development across treatments, but gain in mass was lower on a diet of low macronutrient concentration. Consumption of protein was always tightly regulated, but intake of carbohydrate was significantly reduced when consuming diluted food. In the second experiment, insects were constrained to one of nine diets and we plotted performance and consumption using a fitness-landscape approach that mimics the natural variation of nutrients in plants. We found significant effects of protein and carbohydrate content on gain in mass and in duration of development. The concentration of macronutrients in the food had more pronounced effects than did the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. The protein-carbohydrate content also significantly affected the intake of food and energy (calories), production of frass, and digestive efficiency. On foods with low macronutrient concentration consumption was high, but digestive efficiency was low. Our results suggest that insects will favor protein-biased foods when the total macronutrient content of available foods is low, and that in the short-term compensatory feeding responses can overcome nutritional deficits and/or imbalances. However

  5. An Insect Herbivore Microbiome with High Plant Biomass-Degrading Capacity

    SciTech Connect

    Suen, Garret; Barry, Kerrie; Goodwin, Lynne; Scott, Jarrod; Aylward, Frank; Adams, Sandra; Pinto-Tomas, Adrian; Foster, Clifton; Pauly, Markus; Weimer, Paul; Bouffard, Pascal; Li, Lewyn; Osterberger, Jolene; Harkins, Timothy; Slater, Steven; Donohue, Timothy; Currie, Cameron; Tringe, Susannah G.

    2010-09-23

    Herbivores can gain indirect access to recalcitrant carbon present in plant cell walls through symbiotic associations with lignocellulolytic microbes. A paradigmatic example is the leaf-cutter ant (Tribe: Attini), which uses fresh leaves to cultivate a fungus for food in specialized gardens. Using a combination of sugar composition analyses, metagenomics, and whole-genome sequencing, we reveal that the fungus garden microbiome of leaf-cutter ants is composed of a diverse community of bacteria with high plant biomass-degrading capacity. Comparison of this microbiome?s predicted carbohydrate-degrading enzyme profile with other metagenomes shows closest similarity to the bovine rumen, indicating evolutionary convergence of plant biomass degrading potential between two important herbivorous animals. Genomic and physiological characterization of two dominant bacteria in the fungus garden microbiome provides evidence of their capacity to degrade cellulose. Given the recent interest in cellulosic biofuels, understanding how large-scale and rapid plant biomass degradation occurs in a highly evolved insect herbivore is of particular relevance for bioenergy.

  6. An Insect Herbivore Microbiome with High Plant Biomass-Degrading Capacity

    PubMed Central

    Suen, Garret; Scott, Jarrod J.; Aylward, Frank O.; Adams, Sandra M.; Tringe, Susannah G.; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A.; Foster, Clifton E.; Pauly, Markus; Weimer, Paul J.; Barry, Kerrie W.; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Bouffard, Pascal; Li, Lewyn; Osterberger, Jolene; Harkins, Timothy T.; Slater, Steven C.; Donohue, Timothy J.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2010-01-01

    Herbivores can gain indirect access to recalcitrant carbon present in plant cell walls through symbiotic associations with lignocellulolytic microbes. A paradigmatic example is the leaf-cutter ant (Tribe: Attini), which uses fresh leaves to cultivate a fungus for food in specialized gardens. Using a combination of sugar composition analyses, metagenomics, and whole-genome sequencing, we reveal that the fungus garden microbiome of leaf-cutter ants is composed of a diverse community of bacteria with high plant biomass-degrading capacity. Comparison of this microbiome's predicted carbohydrate-degrading enzyme profile with other metagenomes shows closest similarity to the bovine rumen, indicating evolutionary convergence of plant biomass degrading potential between two important herbivorous animals. Genomic and physiological characterization of two dominant bacteria in the fungus garden microbiome provides evidence of their capacity to degrade cellulose. Given the recent interest in cellulosic biofuels, understanding how large-scale and rapid plant biomass degradation occurs in a highly evolved insect herbivore is of particular relevance for bioenergy. PMID:20885794

  7. Non-target effects of transgenic blight-resistant American chestnut (Fagales: Fagaceae) on insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Post, K H; Parry, D

    2011-08-01

    American chestnut [Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkhausen], a canopy dominant species across wide swaths of eastern North America, was reduced to an understory shrub after introduction of the blight fungus [Cryphonectria parasitica (Murrill) Barr] in the early 1900s. Restoration of American chestnut by using biotechnology is promising, but the imprecise nature of transgenesis may inadvertently alter tree phenotype, thus potentially impacting ecologically dependent organisms. We quantified effects of genetic engineering and fungal inoculation of trees on insect herbivores by using transgenic American chestnuts expressing an oxalate oxidase gene and wild-type American and Chinese (C. mollissima Blume) chestnuts. Of three generalist folivores bioassayed, only gypsy moth [Lymantria dispar (L.)] was affected by genetic modification, exhibiting faster growth on transgenic than on wild-type chestnuts, whereas growth of polyphemus moth [Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer)] differed between wild-type species, and fall webworm [Hyphantria cunea (Drury)] performed equally on all trees. Inoculation of chestnuts with blight fungus had no effect on the growth of two herbivores assayed (polyphemus moth and fall webworm). Enhanced fitness of gypsy moth on genetically modified trees may hinder restoration efforts if this invasive herbivore's growth is improved because of transgene expression.

  8. An insect herbivore microbiome with high plant biomass-degrading capacity.

    PubMed

    Suen, Garret; Scott, Jarrod J; Aylward, Frank O; Adams, Sandra M; Tringe, Susannah G; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A; Foster, Clifton E; Pauly, Markus; Weimer, Paul J; Barry, Kerrie W; Goodwin, Lynne A; Bouffard, Pascal; Li, Lewyn; Osterberger, Jolene; Harkins, Timothy T; Slater, Steven C; Donohue, Timothy J; Currie, Cameron R

    2010-09-23

    Herbivores can gain indirect access to recalcitrant carbon present in plant cell walls through symbiotic associations with lignocellulolytic microbes. A paradigmatic example is the leaf-cutter ant (Tribe: Attini), which uses fresh leaves to cultivate a fungus for food in specialized gardens. Using a combination of sugar composition analyses, metagenomics, and whole-genome sequencing, we reveal that the fungus garden microbiome of leaf-cutter ants is composed of a diverse community of bacteria with high plant biomass-degrading capacity. Comparison of this microbiome's predicted carbohydrate-degrading enzyme profile with other metagenomes shows closest similarity to the bovine rumen, indicating evolutionary convergence of plant biomass degrading potential between two important herbivorous animals. Genomic and physiological characterization of two dominant bacteria in the fungus garden microbiome provides evidence of their capacity to degrade cellulose. Given the recent interest in cellulosic biofuels, understanding how large-scale and rapid plant biomass degradation occurs in a highly evolved insect herbivore is of particular relevance for bioenergy.

  9. Experimental climate warming alters aspen and birch phytochemistry and performance traits for an outbreak insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Jamieson, Mary A; Schwartzberg, Ezra G; Raffa, Kenneth F; Reich, Peter B; Lindroth, Richard L

    2014-12-23

    , and herbivore feeding, but that annual weather variability may modulate warming effects leading to uncertain consequences for plant-insect interactions with projected climate change.

  10. Complex feeding tracks of the sessile herbivorous insect Ophiomyia maura as a function of the defense against insect parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Ayabe, Yoshiko; Ueno, Takatoshi

    2012-01-01

    Because insect herbivores generally suffer from high mortality due to their natural enemies, reducing the risk of being located by natural enemies is of critical importance for them, forcing them to develop a variety of defensive measures. Larvae of leaf-mining insects lead a sedentary life inside a leaf and make conspicuous feeding tracks called mines, exposing themselves to the potential risk of parasitism. We investigated the defense strategy of the linear leafminer Ophiomyia maura Meigen (Diptera: Agromyzidae), by focusing on its mining patterns. We examined whether the leafminer could reduce the risk of being parasitized (1) by making cross structures in the inner area of a leaf to deter parasitoids from tracking the mines due to complex pathways, and (2) by mining along the edge of a leaf to hinder visually searching parasitoids from finding mined leaves due to effective background matching of the mined leaves among intact leaves. We quantified fractal dimension as mine complexity and area of mine in the inner area of the leaf as interior mine density for each sample mine, and analyzed whether these mine traits affected the susceptibility of O. maura to parasitism. Our results have shown that an increase in mine complexity with the development of occupying larvae decreases the probability of being parasitized, while interior mine density has no influence on parasitism. These results suggest that the larval development increases the host defense ability through increasing mine complexity. Thus the feeding pattern of these sessile insects has a defensive function by reducing the risk of parasitism.

  11. Plant Volatiles Induced by Herbivore Egg Deposition Affect Insects of Different Trophic Levels

    PubMed Central

    Fatouros, Nina E.; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Weldegergis, Berhane T.; Pashalidou, Foteini G.; van Loon, Joop J. A.; Dicke, Marcel; Harvey, Jeffrey A.; Gols, Rieta; Huigens, Martinus E.

    2012-01-01

    Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant’s volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels. PMID:22912893

  12. Plant volatiles induced by herbivore egg deposition affect insects of different trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Fatouros, Nina E; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Pashalidou, Foteini G; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Gols, Rieta; Huigens, Martinus E

    2012-01-01

    Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant's volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels.

  13. Tolerance and resistance of invasive and native Eupatorium species to generalist herbivore insects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Rui-Fang; Feng, Yu-Long

    2016-11-01

    Invasive plants are exotic species that escape control by native specialist enemies. However, exotic plants may still be attacked by locally occurring generalist enemies, which can influence the dynamics of biological invasions. If invasive plants have greater defensive (resistance and tolerance) capabilities than indigenous plants, they may experience less damage from native herbivores. In the present study, we tested this prediction using the invasive plant Eupatorium adenophorum and two native congeners under simulated defoliation and generalist herbivore insect (Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera litura) treatments. E. adenophorum was less susceptible and compensated more quickly to damages in biomass production from both treatments compared to its two congeners, exhibiting greater herbivore tolerance. This strong tolerance to damage was associated with greater resource allocation to aboveground structures, leading to a higher leaf area ratio and a lower root: crown mass ratio than those of its native congeners. E. adenophorum also displayed a higher resistance index (which integrates acid detergent fiber, nitrogen content, carbon/nitrogen ratio, leaf mass per area, toughness, and trichome density) than its two congeners. Thus, H. armigera and S. litura performed poorly on E. adenophorum, with less leaf damage, a lengthened insect developmental duration, and decreased pupating: molting ratios compared to those of the native congeners. Strong tolerance and resistance traits may facilitate the successful invasion of E. adenophorum in China and may decrease the efficacy of leaf-feeding biocontrol agents. Our results highlight both the need for further research on defensive traits and their role in the invasiveness and biological control of exotic plants, and suggest that biocontrol of E. adenophorum in China would require damage to the plant far in excess of current levels.

  14. The Effect of Host-Plant Phylogenetic Isolation on Species Richness, Composition and Specialization of Insect Herbivores: A Comparison between Native and Exotic Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Grandez-Rios, Julio Miguel; Lima Bergamini, Leonardo; Santos de Araújo, Walter; Villalobos, Fabricio; Almeida-Neto, Mário

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the drivers of plant-insect interactions is still a key issue in terrestrial ecology. Here, we used 30 well-defined plant-herbivore assemblages to assess the effects of host plant phylogenetic isolation and origin (native vs. exotic) on the species richness, composition and specialization of the insect herbivore fauna on co-occurring plant species. We also tested for differences in such effects between assemblages composed exclusively of exophagous and endophagous herbivores. We found a consistent negative effect of the phylogenetic isolation of host plants on the richness, similarity and specialization of their insect herbivore faunas. Notably, except for Jaccard dissimilarity, the effect of phylogenetic isolation on the insect herbivore faunas did not vary between native and exotic plants. Our findings show that the phylogenetic isolation of host plants is a key factor that influences the richness, composition and specialization of their local herbivore faunas, regardless of the host plant origin. PMID:26379159

  15. Inducibility of chemical defences by two chewing insect herbivores in pine trees is specific to targeted plant tissue, particular herbivore and defensive trait.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Lundborg, Lina; Zas, Rafael; Carrillo-Gavilán, Amparo; Borg-Karlson, Anna-Karin; Sampedro, Luis

    2013-10-01

    There is increasing evidence that plants can react to biotic aggressions with highly specific responses. However, few studies have attempted to jointly investigate whether the induction of plant defences is specific to a targeted plant tissue, plant species, herbivore identity, and defensive trait. Here we studied those factors contributing to the specificity of induced defensive responses in two economically important pine species against two chewing insect pest herbivores. Juvenile trees of Pinus pinaster and P. radiata were exposed to herbivory by two major pest threats, the large pine weevil Hylobius abietis (a bark-feeder) and the pine processionary caterpillar Thaumetopoea pityocampa (a folivore). We quantified in two tissues (stem and needles) the constitutive (control plants) and herbivore-induced concentrations of total polyphenolics, volatile and non-volatile resin, as well as the profile of mono- and sesquiterpenes. Stem chewing by the pine weevil increased concentrations of non-volatile resin, volatile monoterpenes, and (marginally) polyphenolics in stem tissues. Weevil feeding also increased the concentration of non-volatile resin and decreased polyphenolics in the needle tissues. Folivory by the caterpillar had no major effects on needle defensive chemistry, but a strong increase in the concentration of polyphenolics in the stem. Interestingly, we found similar patterns for all these above-reported effects in both pine species. These results offer convincing evidence that induced defences are highly specific and may vary depending on the targeted plant tissue, the insect herbivore causing the damage and the considered defensive compound.

  16. Production of induced volatiles by Datura wrightii in response to damage by insects: effect of herbivore species and time.

    PubMed

    Hare, J Daniel; Sun, Jia J

    2011-07-01

    Natural enemies of herbivorous insects utilize numerous chemical cues to locate and identify their prey. Among these, volatile plant compounds produced after attack by herbivores may play a significant role (hereafter herbivore-induced plant volatiles or HIPVs). One unresolved question is whether the composition of the volatile cue blends induced by different herbivore species differ consistently enough to indicate not only that the plants are damaged by herbivores but also the identity of the herbivore species causing the damage. We studied HIPV production in the undomesticated plant species Datura wrightii in the laboratory when damaged by either of two leaf-chewing herbivore species, Lema daturaphila or Manduca sexta, or when damaged by L. daturaphila and the piercing-sucking bug, Tupiocoris notatus, or both L. daturaphila and T. notatus, for 24 hr. HIPV production was monitored 1 d before induction, the day of induction, and for 7 d after induction. In all experiments, both the quantities and composition of the HIPV blends varied with the time since induction as different components reached peak production at different times after induction. HIPV blends did not differ consistently with the herbivore species causing the damage. For plants damaged by both L. daturaphila and T. notatus, greater amounts of HIPVs were produced than by plants damaged by either species alone, but the amounts did not differ from that predicted as the sum from damage inflicted by each herbivore species independently. The HIPVs of D. wrightii are a general rather than specific indicator of damage by herbivores. Because generalist predators are the most abundant natural enemies in this system, general cues of herbivore damage may be all that are required to facilitate the discovery by predators of plants damaged by any of several suitable prey species.

  17. Interactions between goldenrod (Solidago altissima L.) and its insect herbivore (Trirhabda virgata) over the course of succession.

    PubMed

    Uriarte, M

    2000-03-01

    Consumers can mediate the composition of plant communities and alter ecosystem processes. Although herbivores usually increase N availability in the short term, they might decrease it in the long term. I investigated the long-term effect of insect herbivores on leaf tissue quality and soil N availability in goldenrod (Solidago altissima) fields using two approaches: (1) I compared plots from which herbivores had been excluded for 17 years with adjacent plots that had experienced normal levels of herbivory, and (2) I examined a chronosequence of nine goldenrod fields representing three successional stages: early, middle, and late. These parallel approaches showed that, in the long term, herbivores decrease the quality of leaf litter and soil N availability in goldenrod fields. These long-term effects appear to compensate for various short-term effects that increase N availability in the soil (e.g., added frass, increased light penetration). Furthermore, herbivores decrease leaf litter quality and N availability by reducing the quality of leaf tissue within the same species. This pattern may result from insect herbivores preferentially grazing on plants with a high N content thereby increasing the amount of recalcitrant litter over the course of succession.

  18. Constraints of simultaneous resistance to a fungal pathogen and an insect herbivore in lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.).

    PubMed

    Ballhorn, Daniel J

    2011-02-01

    The existence of tradeoffs among plant defenses is commonly accepted, however, actual evidence for these tradeoffs is scarce. In this study, I analyzed effects of different direct defenses of wild lima bean plants (Phaseolus lunatus) that were simultaneously exposed to a fungal pathogen (Colletotrichum lindemuthianum) and an insect herbivore, the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis). Although plants were derived from spatially widely separated populations, I observed a common tradeoff between resistance to pathogens and herbivores. Plants with high levels of anti-herbivore defense (cyanogenesis) showed low levels of resistance to pathogens (polyphenol oxidase activity and phenolic compounds), and vice versa. Competition for resources generally is considered to be the basis for tradeoffs. However, I report direct inhibition of polyphenol oxidase by cyanide, making simultaneous expression of both defenses at high levels impossible. I argue that populations composed of individuals investing in one type of defense have an advantage in environments that periodically favor either pathogen or herbivore plant antagonists.

  19. Wild Herbivore Grazing Enhances Insect Diversity over Livestock Grazing in an African Grassland System

    PubMed Central

    Roets, Francois; Samways, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Southern Africa’s grassland biodiversity is threatened by habitat transformation such as commercial forestry. Ecological networks (ENs) have been instigated to alleviate the pressure of habitat transformation on local biodiversity. ENs are large scale webs of corridors and patches of natural vegetation criss-crossing production landscapes that can simulate conditions in protected areas (PAs). Many ENs have lost many native large mammal species, which have been replaced by domestic livestock to retain natural grazing dynamics, which could have an impact on the long-term value of ENs for insects. Here we compared dung beetle, butterfly and grasshopper diversity in ENs across a landscape mosaic of timber plantations, where 1) wild megaherbivores were maintained, 2) in ENs where these herbivores were replaced by livestock and, 3) in a nearby World Heritage PA which retained its natural complement of megaherbivores. Sites in the PA far from any plantation were similar in composition to those in the wild grazed EN. Presence of the wild grazers improved the alpha- and beta-diversity of all focal insect taxa when compared to domestic grazing. Furthermore, species composition shows significant differences between the two grazing systems indicating that an assemblage of native large mammals facilitates insect diversity conservation. We support the maintenance or introduction of large native mammals in ENs or similar conservation areas in production landscapes to simulate the ecological conditions and natural heterogeneity in nearby PAs. PMID:27783685

  20. Breeding matters: Natal experience influences population state-dependent host acceptance by an eruptive insect herbivore

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Eruptive forest insects are highly influential agents of change in forest ecosystems, and their effects have increased with recent climate change. State-dependent life histories contribute significantly to the population dynamics of eruptive forest insect herbivores; however, the proximate mechanisms by which these species shift between states is poorly understood. Laboratory bioassays were conducted using the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) to determine the effect of maternal host selection on offspring host preferences, as they apply to population state-dependent behaviors. Female mountain pine beetles exhibited state-dependent preference for artificial host material amended with monoterpenes in the absence of other cues, such that individuals reared in high-density epidemic-state simulations rejected low monoterpene conditions, while low-density endemic-state beetles accepted low monoterpene conditions. State-specific behavior in offspring was dependent on rearing conditions, as a function of maternal host selection, and these effects were observed within one generation. Density-dependent host selection behaviors exhibited by female mountain pine beetle offspring is reinforced by context-dependent maternal effects arising from parental host selection, and in situ exposure to conspecifics. These results demonstrate potential proximate mechanisms that control population dynamics in eruptive forest insects, and will allow for more accurate predictions of continued impact and spread of these species. PMID:28207862

  1. The Multiple Strategies of an Insect Herbivore to Overcome Plant Cyanogenic Glucoside Defence

    PubMed Central

    Pentzold, Stefan; Zagrobelny, Mika; Roelsgaard, Pernille Sølvhøj; Møller, Birger Lindberg; Bak, Søren

    2014-01-01

    Cyanogenic glucosides (CNglcs) are widespread plant defence compounds that release toxic hydrogen cyanide by plant β-glucosidase activity after tissue damage. Specialised insect herbivores have evolved counter strategies and some sequester CNglcs, but the underlying mechanisms to keep CNglcs intact during feeding and digestion are unknown. We show that CNglc-sequestering Zygaena filipendulae larvae combine behavioural, morphological, physiological and biochemical strategies at different time points during feeding and digestion to avoid toxic hydrolysis of the CNglcs present in their Lotus food plant, i.e. cyanogenesis. We found that a high feeding rate limits the time for plant β-glucosidases to hydrolyse CNglcs. Larvae performed leaf-snipping, a minimal disruptive feeding mode that prevents mixing of plant β-glucosidases and CNglcs. Saliva extracts did not inhibit plant cyanogenesis. However, a highly alkaline midgut lumen inhibited the activity of ingested plant β-glucosidases significantly. Moreover, insect β-glucosidases from the saliva and gut tissue did not hydrolyse the CNglcs present in Lotus. The strategies disclosed may also be used by other insect species to overcome CNglc-based plant defence and to sequester these compounds intact. PMID:24625698

  2. Compensatory responses in plant-herbivore interactions: Impacts of insects on leaf water relations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peschiutta, María L.; Bucci, Sandra J.; Scholz, Fabián G.; Goldstein, Guillermo

    2016-05-01

    Herbivore damage to leaves has been typically evaluated in terms of fractions of area removed; however morpho-physiological changes in the remaining tissues can occur in response to removal. We assessed the effects of partial removal of the leaf mesophyll by Caliroa cerasi (Hymenoptera) on leaf hydraulic conductance (Kleaf), vascular architecture, water relations and leaf size of three Prunus avium cultivars. The insect feeds on the leaf mesophyll leaving the vein network intact (skeletonization). Within each cultivar there were trees without infestations and trees chronically infested, at least over the last three years. Leaf size of intact leaves tended to be similar during leaf expansion before herbivore attack occurs across infested and non-infested trees. However, after herbivore attack and when the leaves were fully expanded, damaged leaves were smaller than leaves from non-infested trees. Damaged area varied between 21 and 31% depending on cultivar. The non-disruption of the vascular system together with either vein density or capacitance increased in damaged leaves resulted in similar Kleaf and stomatal conductance in infested and non-infested trees. Non-stomatal water loss from repeated leaf damage led to lower leaf water potentials in two of the infested cultivars. Lower leaf osmotic potentials and vulnerability to loss of Kleaf were observed in infested plants. Our results show that skeletonization resulted in compensatory changes in terms of water relations and hydraulics traits and in cultivar-specific physiological changes in phylogenetic related P. avium. Our findings indicate that detrimental effects of herbivory on the photosynthetic surface are counterbalanced by changes providing higher drought resistance, which has adaptive significance in ecosystems where water availability is low and furthermore where global climate changes would decrease soil water availability in the future even further.

  3. Incorporation of an invasive plant into a native insect herbivore food web

    PubMed Central

    Santos Pimenta, Lúcia P.; Lammers, Youri; Steenbergen, Peter J.; Flohil, Marco; Beveridge, Nils G.P.; van Duijn, Pieter T.; Meulblok, Marjolein M.; Sosef, Nils; van de Ven, Robin; Werring, Ralf; Beentjes, Kevin K.; Meijer, Kim; Vos, Rutger A.; Vrieling, Klaas; Gravendeel, Barbara; Choi, Young; Verpoorte, Robert; Smit, Chris; Beukeboom, Leo W.

    2016-01-01

    The integration of invasive species into native food webs represent multifarious dynamics of ecological and evolutionary processes. We document incorporation of Prunus serotina (black cherry) into native insect food webs. We find that P. serotina harbours a herbivore community less dense but more diverse than its native relative, P. padus (bird cherry), with similar proportions of specialists and generalists. While herbivory on P. padus remained stable over the past century, that on P. serotina gradually doubled. We show that P. serotina may have evolved changes in investment in cyanogenic glycosides compared with its native range. In the leaf beetle Gonioctena quinquepunctata, recently shifted from native Sorbus aucuparia to P. serotina, we find divergent host preferences on Sorbus- versus Prunus-derived populations, and weak host-specific differentiation among 380 individuals genotyped for 119 SNP loci. We conclude that evolutionary processes may generate a specialized herbivore community on an invasive plant, allowing prognoses of reduced invasiveness over time. On the basis of the results presented here, we would like to caution that manual control might have the adverse effect of a slowing down of processes of adaptation, and a delay in the decline of the invasive character of P. serotina. PMID:27190702

  4. Cyanide detoxification in an insect herbivore: Molecular identification of β-cyanoalanine synthases from Pieris rapae.

    PubMed

    van Ohlen, Maike; Herfurth, Anna-Maria; Kerbstadt, Henrike; Wittstock, Ute

    2016-03-01

    Cyanogenic compounds occur widely in the plant kingdom. Therefore, many herbivores are adapted to the presence of these compounds in their diet by either avoiding cyanide release or by efficient cyanide detoxification mechanisms. The mechanisms of adaptation are not fully understood. Larvae of Pieris rapae (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) are specialist herbivores on glucosinolate-containing plants. They are exposed to cyanide during metabolism of phenylacetonitrile, a product of benzylglucosinolate breakdown catalyzed by plant myrosinases and larval nitrile-specifier protein (NSP) in the gut. Cyanide is metabolized to β-cyanoalanine and thiocyanate in the larvae. Here, we demonstrate that larvae of P. rapae possess β-cyanoalanine activity in their gut. We have identified three gut-expressed cDNAs designated PrBSAS1-PrBSAS3 which encode proteins with similarity to β-substituted alanine synthases (BSAS). Characterization of recombinant PrBSAS1-PrBSAS3 shows that they possess β-cyanoalanine activity. In phylogenetic trees, PrBSAS1-PrBSAS3, the first characterized insect BSAS, group together with a characterized mite β-cyanoalanine synthase and bacterial enzymes indicating a similar evolutionary history.

  5. The evolution of tolerance to deer herbivory: modifications caused by the abundance of insect herbivores.

    PubMed Central

    Stinchcombe, John R; Rausher, Mark D

    2002-01-01

    Although recent evidence indicates that coevolutionary interactions between species often vary on a biogeographical scale, little consideration has been given to the processes responsible for producing this pattern. One potential explanation is that changes in the community composition alter the coevolutionary interactions between species, but little evidence exists regarding the occurrence of such changes. Here we present evidence that the pattern of natural selection on plant defence traits, and the probable response to that selection, are critically dependent on the composition of the biotic community. The evolutionary trajectory of defence traits against mammalian herbivory in the Ivyleaf morning glory (Ipomoea hederacea), and which defence traits are likely to respond to selection, are both dependent on the presence or absence of insect herbivores. These results indicate that variation in community composition may be a driving force in generating geographical mosaics. PMID:12065040

  6. Climate change triggers effects of fungal pathogens and insect herbivores on litter decomposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butenschoen, Olaf; Scheu, Stefan

    2014-10-01

    Increasing infestation by insect herbivores and pathogenic fungi in response to climate change will inevitably impact the amount and quality of leaf litter inputs into the soil. However, little is known on the interactive effect of infestation severity and climate change on litter decomposition, and no such study has been published for deciduous forests in Central Europe. We assessed changes in initial chemical quality of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and maple litter (Acer platanoides L.) in response to infestation by the gall midge Mikiola fagi Hart. and the pathogenic fungus Sawadaea tulasnei Fuckel, respectively, and investigated interactive effects of infestation severity, changes in temperature and soil moisture on carbon mineralization in a short-term laboratory study. We found that infestation by the gall midge M. fagi and the pathogenic fungus S. tulasnei significantly changed the chemical quality of beech and maple litter. Changes in element concentrations were generally positive and more pronounced, and if negative less pronounced for maple than beech litter most likely due to high quality fungal tissue remaining on litter after abscission. More importantly, alterations in litter chemical quality did not translate to distinct patterns of carbon mineralization at ambient conditions, but even low amounts of infested litter accelerated carbon mineralization at moderately increased soil moisture and in particular at higher temperature. Our results indicate that insect herbivores and fungal pathogens can markedly alter initial litter chemical quality, but that afterlife effects on carbon mineralization depend on soil moisture and temperature, suggesting that increased infestation severity under projected climate change potentially increases soil carbon release in deciduous forests in Central Europe.

  7. Insect Herbivores Associated With Ludwigia Species, Oligospermum Section, in Their Argentine Distribution

    PubMed Central

    Hernández, M. Cristina; Cabrera Walsh, Guillermo

    2014-01-01

    The South American water primroses, Ludwigia grandiflora (Michx.) Greuter & Burdet, L. grandiflora subsp. hexapetala (Hook. & Arn.) G.L. Nesom & Kartesz, Ludwigia peploides (Kunth) P.H. Raven, and L. p. subsp. montevidensis (Spreng.) P.H. Raven (Onagraceae, Section Oligospermum), have become invasive in several watersheds of the United States and Europe. Surveys were carried out in center-east of Argentina to find insect species that might serve as biological control agents for L. g. subsp. hexapetala in California and elsewhere. Stems (0.5–0.6 m) of Ludwigia species, Sect. Oligospermum, were collected in 41 sites and analyzed in the laboratory; immature insects were reared to adults. The plant species found in the area were L. grandiflora (2 sites), L. g. subsp. hexapetala (33 sites), and L. p. subsp. montevidensis (4 sites). There was a variety of insect guilds feeding on L. g. subsp. hexapetala, including six species with stem-borer larvae, one species with fruit-feeding larvae, four species with defoliating larvae, two species with defoliating larvae on young leaves and axil meristems, one species of cell content feeder, and three species of sap feeders. Nine of these species also have defoliating adults. Biological information on most of them is provided. Of these insect herbivores, only two species were also found on L. grandiflora, and one on L. peploides. Several of the species found on L. g. hexapetala, such as the cell-content feeder Liothrips ludwigi (Thysanoptera), the stem-borers Merocnemus binotatus (Boheman) and Tyloderma spp. (Coleoptera), are promising candidates for biocontrol agents. PMID:25502037

  8. Climate Change and Tritrophic Interactions: Will Modifications to Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase the Vulnerability of Herbivorous Insects to Natural Enemies?

    PubMed

    Boullis, Antoine; Francis, Frederic; Verheggen, François J

    2015-04-01

    Insects are highly dependent on odor cues released into the environment to locate conspecifics or food sources. This mechanism is particularly important for insect predators that rely on kairomones released by their prey to detect them. In the context of climate change and, more specifically, modifications in the gas composition of the atmosphere, chemical communication-mediating interactions between phytophagous insect pests, their host plants, and their natural enemies is likely to be impacted. Several reports have indicated that modifications to plants caused by elevated carbon dioxide and ozone concentrations might indirectly affect insect herbivores, with community-level modifications to this group potentially having an indirect influence on higher trophic levels. The vulnerability of agricultural insect pests toward their natural enemies under elevated greenhouse gases concentrations has been frequently reported, but conflicting results have been obtained. This literature review shows that the higher levels of carbon dioxide, as predicted for the coming century, do not enhance the abundance or efficiency of natural enemies to locate hosts or prey in most published studies. Increased ozone levels lead to modifications in herbivore-induced volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by damaged plants, which may impact the attractiveness of these herbivores to the third trophic level. Furthermore, other oxidative gases (such as SO2 and NO2) tend to reduce the abundance of natural enemies. The impact of changes in atmospheric gas emissions on plant-insect and insect-insect chemical communication has been under-documented, despite the significance of these mechanisms in tritrophic interactions. We conclude by suggesting some further prospects on this topic of research yet to be investigated.

  9. Neural coding merges sex and habitat chemosensory signals in an insect herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Trona, Federica; Anfora, Gianfranco; Balkenius, Anna; Bengtsson, Marie; Tasin, Marco; Knight, Alan; Janz, Niklas; Witzgall, Peter; Ignell, Rickard

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the processing of odour mixtures is a focus in olfaction research. Through a neuroethological approach, we demonstrate that different odour types, sex and habitat cues are coded together in an insect herbivore. Stronger flight attraction of codling moth males, Cydia pomonella, to blends of female sex pheromone and plant odour, compared with single compounds, was corroborated by functional imaging of the olfactory centres in the insect brain, the antennal lobes (ALs). The macroglomerular complex (MGC) in the AL, which is dedicated to pheromone perception, showed an enhanced response to blends of pheromone and plant signals, whereas the response in glomeruli surrounding the MGC was suppressed. Intracellular recordings from AL projection neurons that transmit odour information to higher brain centres, confirmed this synergistic interaction in the MGC. These findings underscore that, in nature, sex pheromone and plant odours are perceived as an ensemble. That mating and habitat cues are coded as blends in the MGC of the AL highlights the dual role of plant signals in habitat selection and in premating sexual communication. It suggests that the MGC is a common target for sexual and natural selection in moths, facilitating ecological speciation. PMID:23595270

  10. Biochemical crypsis in the avoidance of natural enemies by an insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    De Moraes, Consuelo M; Mescher, Mark C

    2004-06-15

    Plant-herbivore interactions provide well studied examples of coevolution, but little is known about how such interactions are influenced by the third trophic level. Here we show that larvae of the specialized lepidopteran herbivore Heliothis subflexa reduce their vulnerability to natural enemies through adaptation to a remarkable and previously unknown feature of their host plant, Physalis angulata: The fruits of this plant lack linolenic acid (LA), which is required for the development of most insects. By overcoming this nutritional deficiency, H. subflexa larvae achieve numerous advantages. First, they gain near-exclusive access to a food resource: we demonstrate that closely related Heliothis virescens larvae cannot develop on P. angulata fruit unless the fruit are treated with LA. Second, they reduce their vulnerability to enemies: LA is a key component of volicitin, an elicitor of plant-volatile-signaling defenses. We demonstrate that volicitin is absent in the oral secretions of fruit-feeding caterpillars, that the volatile profiles of plants induced by fruit feeding differ from those induced by leaf feeding or by feeding on LA-treated fruit, and that the former are far less attractive to female Cardiochiles nigriceps parasitoids. Finally, they render themselves nutritionally unsuitable as hosts for enemies that require LA for their own development: we show that C. nigriceps larvae fail to develop within the bodies of fruit-feeding caterpillars but do develop in caterpillars feeding on LA-treated fruit. Thus, H. subflexa larvae not only overcome a serious dietary deficiency but also reduce their vulnerability to natural enemies through a form of "biochemical crypsis."

  11. Specific polyphenols and tannins are associated with defense against insect herbivores in the tropical oak Quercus oleoides.

    PubMed

    Moctezuma, Coral; Hammerbacher, Almuth; Heil, Martin; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Méndez-Alonzo, Rodrigo; Oyama, Ken

    2014-05-01

    The role of plant polyphenols as defenses against insect herbivores is controversial. We combined correlative field studies across three geographic regions (Northern Mexico, Southern Mexico, and Costa Rica) with induction experiments under controlled conditions to search for candidate compounds that might play a defensive role in the foliage of the tropical oak, Quercus oleoides. We quantified leaf damage caused by four herbivore guilds (chewers, skeletonizers, leaf miners, and gall forming insects) and analyzed the content of 18 polyphenols (including hydrolyzable tannins, flavan-3-ols, and flavonol glycosides) in the same set of leaves using high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Foliar damage ranged from two to eight percent per region, and nearly 90% of all the damage was caused by chewing herbivores. Damage due to chewing herbivores was positively correlated with acutissimin B, catechin, and catechin dimer, and damage by mining herbivores was positively correlated with mongolinin A. By contrast, gall presence was negatively correlated with vescalagin and acutissimin B. By using redundancy analysis, we searched for the combinations of polyphenols that were associated to natural herbivory: the combination of mongolinin A and acutissimin B had the highest association to herbivory. In a common garden experiment with oak saplings, artificial damage increased the content of acutissimin B, mongolinin A, and vescalagin, whereas the content of catechin decreased. Specific polyphenols, either individually or in combination, rather than total polyphenols, were associated with standing leaf damage in this tropical oak. Future studies aimed at understanding the ecological role of polyphenols can use similar correlative studies to identify candidate compounds that could be used individually and in biologically meaningful combinations in tests with herbivores and pathogens.

  12. Influence of leaf traits on the spatial distribution of insect herbivores associated with an overstorey rainforest tree.

    PubMed

    Basset, Yves

    1991-09-01

    The spatial distribution of insect herbivores associated with the Australian rainforest treeArgyrodendron actinophyllum (Sterculiaceae) was investigated by restricted canopy fogging. The foliage of this species was low in nitrogen and water content, and high in fibre content. Herbivore abundance was positively correlated with the amount of young foliage present within the samples and in adjacent samples, and with the nitrogen content of young leaves. In particular, the occurrence of phloem-feeders was correlated with the magnitude of translocation within the samples. The influence of leaf water content upon herbivore distribution was marginal, presumably because this factor is not limiting in rain-forest environments during the wet season, which usually coincides with the season of leaf-flush. Specific leaf weight, leaf size and foliage compactness had little or no apparent effect on herbivore distribution. Since the magnitude of leaf turnover affected both the quantity and the quality, as exemplified by translocation effects, of young foliage available, this factor may be critical to herbivores associated with evergreen rainforest trees which are particularly low in foliar nutrients, such asA. actinophyllum.

  13. Insect herbivore feeding and their excretion contribute to volatile organic compounds emission to the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zebelo, S.; Gnavi, G.; Bertea, C.; Bossi, S.; Andrea, O.; Cordero, C.; Rubiolo, P.; Bicchi, C.; Maffei, M.

    2011-12-01

    Secondary plant metabolites play an important role in insect plant interactions. The Lamiaceae family, especially Mentha species, accumulate secondary plant metabolites in their glandular trichomes, mainly mono and sesquiterpenes. Here we show that mint plants respond to herbivory by changing the quality and quantity of leaf secondary plant metabolite components. The volatiles from herbivore damaged, mechanical damage and healthy plant were collected by HS-SPME and analyzed by GC-MS. Plants with the same treatment were kept for genomic analysis. Total RNA was extracted from the above specified treatments. The terpenoid quantitative gene expressions (qPCR) were then assayed. Upon herbivory, M. aquatica synthesizes and emits (+)-menthofuran and the other major monoterpene (+)-pulegone emitted by healthy and mechanically damaged plants. Herbivory was found to up-regulate the expression of genes involved in terpenoid biosynthesis. The increased emission of (+)-menthofuran was correlated with the upregulation of (+)-menthofuran synthase. In addition we analysed the VOC composition of C. herbacea frass from insects feeding on Mentha aquatica. VOCs were sampled by HS-SPME and analyzed by GCxGC-qMS, and the results compared through quantitative comparative analysis of 2D chromatographic data. Most terpenoids from M. aquatica were completely catabolized by C. herbacea and were absent in the frass volatile fraction. On the other hand, the monoterpene 1,8-cineole was oxidized and frass yielded several new hydroxy-1,8-cineoles, among which 2α-OH-, 3α-OH-, 3β-OH- and 9-OH-1,8-cineole. The role of VOC emitted during herbivory and frass excretion on secondary organic aerosol formation is discussed.

  14. Papain protects papaya trees from herbivorous insects: role of cysteine proteases in latex.

    PubMed

    Konno, Kotaro; Hirayama, Chikara; Nakamura, Masatoshi; Tateishi, Ken; Tamura, Yasumori; Hattori, Makoto; Kohno, Katsuyuki

    2004-02-01

    Many plants contain latex that exudes when leaves are damaged, and a number of proteins and enzymes have been found in it. The roles of those latex proteins and enzymes are as yet poorly understood. We found that papain, a cysteine protease in latex of the Papaya tree (Carica papaya, Caricaceae), is a crucial factor in the defense of the papaya tree against lepidopteran larvae such as oligophagous Samia ricini (Saturniidae) and two notorious polyphagous pests, Mamestra brassicae (Noctuidae) and Spodoptera litura (Noctuidae). Leaves of a number of laticiferous plants, including papaya and a wild fig, Ficus virgata (Moraceae), showed strong toxicity and growth inhibition against lepidopteran larvae, though no apparent toxic factors from these species have been reported. When the latex was washed off, the leaves of these lactiferous plants lost toxicity. Latexes of both papaya and the wild fig were rich in cysteine-protease activity. E-64, a cysteine protease-specific inhibitor, completely deprived the leaves of toxicity when painted on the surface of papaya and fig leaves. Cysteine proteases, such as papain, ficin, and bromelain, all showed toxicity. The results suggest that plant latex and the proteins in it, cysteine proteases in particular, provide plants with a general defense mechanism against herbivorous insects.

  15. Plant-mediated interactions between two herbivores differentially affect a subsequently arriving third herbivore in populations of wild cabbage.

    PubMed

    Kroes, A; Stam, J M; David, A; Boland, W; van Loon, J J A; Dicke, M; Poelman, E H

    2016-11-01

    Plants are part of biodiverse communities and frequently suffer from attack by multiple herbivorous insects. Plant responses to these herbivores are specific for insect feeding guilds: aphids and caterpillars induce different plant phenotypes. Moreover, plants respond differentially to single or dual herbivory, which may cascade into a chain of interactions in terms of resistance to other community members. Whether differential responses to single or dual herbivory have consequences for plant resistance to yet a third herbivore is unknown. We assessed the effects of single or dual herbivory by Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and/or Plutella xylostella caterpillars on resistance of plants from three natural populations of wild cabbage to feeding by caterpillars of Mamestra brassicae. We measured plant gene expression and phytohormone concentrations to illustrate mechanisms involved in induced responses. Performance of both B. brassicae and P. xylostella was reduced when feeding simultaneously with the other herbivore, compared to feeding alone. Gene expression and phytohormone concentrations in plants exposed to dual herbivory were different from those found in plants exposed to herbivory by either insect alone. Plants previously induced by both P. xylostella and B. brassicae negatively affected growth of the subsequently arriving M. brassicae. Furthermore, induced responses varied between wild cabbage populations. Feeding by multiple herbivores differentially activates plant defences, which has plant-mediated negative consequences for a subsequently arriving herbivore. Plant population-specific responses suggest that plant populations adapt to the specific communities of insect herbivores. Our study contributes to the understanding of plant defence plasticity in response to multiple insect attacks.

  16. Robustness of plant-insect herbivore interaction networks to climate change in a fragmented temperate forest landscape.

    PubMed

    Bähner, K W; Zweig, K A; Leal, I R; Wirth, R

    2017-02-10

    Forest fragmentation and climate change are among the most severe and pervasive forms of human impact. Yet, their combined effects on plant-insect herbivore interaction networks, essential components of forest ecosystems with respect to biodiversity and functioning, are still poorly investigated, particularly in temperate forests. We addressed this issue by analysing plant-insect herbivore networks (PIHNs) from understories of three managed beech forest habitats: small forest fragments (2.2-145 ha), forest edges and forest interior areas within three continuous control forests (1050-5600 ha) in an old hyper-fragmented forest landscape in SW Germany. We assessed the impact of forest fragmentation, particularly edge effects, on PIHNs and the resulting differences in robustness against climate change by habitat-wise comparison of network topology and biologically realistic extinction cascades of networks following scores of vulnerability to climate change for the food plant species involved. Both the topological network metrics (complexity, nestedness, trophic niche redundancy) and robustness to climate change strongly increased in forest edges and fragments as opposed to the managed forest interior. The nature of the changes indicates that human impacts modify network structure mainly via host plant availability to insect herbivores. Improved robustness of PIHNs in forest edges/small fragments to climate-driven extinction cascades was attributable to an overall higher thermotolerance across plant communities, along with positive effects of network structure. The impoverishment of PIHNs in managed forest interiors and the suggested loss of insect diversity from climate-induced co-extinction highlight the need for further research efforts focusing on adequate silvicultural and conservation approaches.

  17. Evaluation of bias on the assessment of diet breadth of herbivorous insects using molecular methods.

    PubMed

    De la Cadena, Gissela; Papadopoulou, Anna; Maes, Jean-Michel; Gómez-Zurita, Jesús

    2017-04-01

    The interactions between herbivores and their host plants play a key role in ecological processes. Understanding the width and nature of these interactions is fundamental to ecology and conservation. Recent research on DNA-based inference of trophic associations suggests that the host range of phytophagous insects in the tropics may be wider than previously thought based on traditional observation. However, the reliability of molecular inference of ecological associations, still strongly dependent on PCR and thus exposed to the risk of contamination with environmental DNA, is under debate. Here, we explored alternative procedures to reduce the chance of amplification of external, nondiet DNA, including surface decontamination and analysis of mid/hind guts, comparing the results with those obtained using the standard protocol. We studied 261 specimens in eight species of Neotropical Chrysomelidae that yielded 316 psbA-trnH intergenic spacer sequences (cpDNA marker of putative diets) from unique and multiple-band PCR results. The taxonomic identity of these sequences was inferred using the automated pipeline BAGpipe, yielding results consistent with 31 plant families. Regardless of the protocol used, a wide taxonomic spectrum of food was inferred for all chrysomelid species. Canonical Correspondence Analysis using these data revealed significant differences attributed mainly to species (expectedly, since they represent different ecologies), but also to treatment (untreated vs. cleaned/gut samples) and PCR results (single vs. multiple bands). Molecular identification of diets is not straightforward and, regardless of the species' niche breadth, combining approaches that reduce external contamination and studying multiple individuals per species may help increasing confidence in results.

  18. Phytohormone-based activity mapping of insect herbivore-produced elicitors

    PubMed Central

    Schmelz, Eric A.; Engelberth, Jurgen; Alborn, Hans T.; Tumlinson, James H.; Teal, Peter E. A.

    2009-01-01

    In response to insect attack, many plants exhibit dynamic biochemical changes, resulting in the induced production of direct and indirect defenses. Elicitors present in herbivore oral secretions are believed to positively regulate many inducible plant defenses; however, little is known about the specificity of elicitor recognition in plants. To investigate the phylogenic distribution of elicitor activity, we tested representatives from three different elicitor classes on the time course of defense-related phytohormone production, including ethylene (E), jasmonic acid (JA), and salicylic acid, in a range of plant species spanning angiosperm diversity. All families examined responded to at least one elicitor class with significant increases in E and JA production within 1 to 2 h after treatment, yet elicitation activity among species was highly idiosyncratic. The fatty-acid amino acid conjugate volicitin exhibited the widest range of phytohormone and volatile inducing activity, which spanned maize (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max), and eggplant (Solanum melongena). In contrast, the activity of inceptin-related peptides, originally described in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), was limited even within the Fabaceae. Similarly, caeliferin A16:0, a disulfooxy fatty acid from grasshoppers, was the only elicitor with demonstrable activity in Arabidopsis thaliana. Although precise mechanisms remain unknown, the unpredictable nature of elicitor activity between plant species supports the existence of specific receptor-ligand interactions mediating recognition. Despite the lack of an ideal plant model for studying the action of numerous elicitors, E and JA exist as highly conserved and readily quantifiable markers for future discoveries in this field. PMID:19124770

  19. A review and meta-analysis of the enemy release hypothesis in plant–herbivorous insect systems

    PubMed Central

    Meijer, Kim; Schilthuizen, Menno; Beukeboom, Leo

    2016-01-01

    A suggested mechanism for the success of introduced non-native species is the enemy release hypothesis (ERH). Many studies have tested the predictions of the ERH using the community approach (native and non-native species studied in the same habitat) or the biogeographical approach (species studied in their native and non-native range), but results are highly variable, possibly due to large variety of study systems incorporated. We therefore focused on one specific system: plants and their herbivorous insects. We performed a systematic review and compiled a large number (68) of datasets from studies comparing herbivorous insects on native and non-native plants using the community or biogeographical approach. We performed a meta-analysis to test the predictions from the ERH for insect diversity (number of species), insect load (number of individuals) and level of herbivory for both the community and biogeographical approach. For both the community and biogeographical approach insect diversity was significantly higher on native than on non-native plants. Insect load tended to be higher on native than non-native plants at the community approach only. Herbivory was not different between native and non-native plants at the community approach, while there was too little data available for testing the biogeographical approach. Our meta-analysis generally supports the predictions from the ERH for both the community and biogeographical approach, but also shows that the outcome is importantly determined by the response measured and approach applied. So far, very few studies apply both approaches simultaneously in a reciprocal manner while this is arguably the best way for testing the ERH. PMID:28028463

  20. Attracting pollinators and avoiding herbivores: insects influence plant traits within and across years.

    PubMed

    Buchanan, Amanda Lynn; Underwood, Nora

    2013-10-01

    Perennial plants interact with herbivores and pollinators across multiple growing seasons, and thus may respond to herbivores and pollinators both within and across years. Joint effects of herbivores and pollinators influence plant traits, but while some of the potential interactions among herbivory, pollination, plant size, and plant reproductive traits have been well studied, others are poorly understood. This is particularly true for perennial plants where effects of herbivores and pollinators may manifest across years. Here, we describe two experiments addressing the reciprocal interactions of plant traits with herbivore damage and pollination across 2 years using the perennial plant Chamerion angustifolium. We measured (1) plant responses to manipulation of damage and pollination in the year of treatment and the subsequent season, (2) damage and pollination responses to manipulation of plant size and flowering traits in the year of treatment, and (3) plant-mediated indirect interactions between herbivores and pollinators. We found that plant traits had little effect on damage and pollination, but damage and pollination affected plant traits in both the treatment year and the subsequent year. We found evidence of indirect effects between leaf herbivores and pollinators in both directions; indirect effects of pollinators on leaf herbivores have not been previously demonstrated. Our results indicate that pollen receipt results in shorter plants with fewer stems but does not change flower number, while leaf herbivory results in taller plants with fewer flowers. Together, herbivory and pollination may contribute to intermediate plant height and plants with fewer stems and flowers in our system.

  1. The effects of herbivore-induced plant volatiles on interactions between plants and flower-visiting insects.

    PubMed

    Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel

    2011-09-01

    Plants are faced with a trade-off between on the one hand growth, development and reproduction and on the other hand defence against environmental stresses. Yet, research on insect-plant interactions has addressed plant-pollinator interactions and plant-attacker interactions separately. Plants have evolved a high diversity of constitutive and induced responses to attack, including the systemic emission of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs). The effect of HIPVs on the behaviour of carnivorous insects has received ample attention for leaf-feeding (folivorous) species and their parasitoids and predators. Here, we review whether and to what extent HIPVs affect the interaction of plants in the flowering stage with mutualistic and antagonistic insects. Whereas the role of flower volatiles in the interactions between plants and insect pollinators has received increased attention over the last decade, studies addressing both HIPVs and pollinator behaviour are rare, despite the fact that in a number of plant species herbivory is known to affect flower traits, including size, nectar secretion and composition. In addition, folivory and florivory can also result in significant changes in flower volatile emission and in most systems investigated, pollinator visitation decreased, although exceptions have been found. Negative effects of HIPVs on pollinator visitation rates likely exert negative selection pressure on HIPV emission. The systemic nature of herbivore-induced plant responses and the behavioural responses of antagonistic and mutualistic insects, requires the study of volatile emission of entire plants in the flowering stage. We conclude that approaches to integrate the study of plant defences and pollination are essential to advance plant biology, in particular in the context of the trade-off between defence and growth/reproduction.

  2. Spatio-Temporal, Genotypic, and Environmental Effects on Plant Soluble Protein and Digestible Carbohydrate Content: Implications for Insect Herbivores with Cotton as an Exemplar.

    PubMed

    Deans, Carrie A; Behmer, Spencer T; Fiene, Justin; Sword, Gregory A

    2016-11-01

    Plant soluble protein and digestible carbohydrate content significantly affect insect herbivore fitness, but studies reporting plant protein and carbohydrate content are rare. Instead, the elements nitrogen and carbon often are used as surrogates for plant protein and digestible carbohydrate content, respectively. However, this is problematic for two reasons. First, carbon is found in all organic molecules, which precludes strong correlations with ecologically important dietary macronutrients (e.g., digestible carbohydrates, the primary energy source for most insect herbivores). Second, some elements (e.g., nitrogen) are present in both macronutrients (e.g., protein) and non-nutritive secondary compounds (e.g., alkaloids, protease inhibitors); in these cases N values would greatly overestimate protein available for an insect herbivore. Thus, the objective of this study was to explicitly document plant protein-carbohydrate content and assess its variation in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum and G. barbadense), which is a nutritional resource for a number of insect herbivores. We did this by measuring plant soluble protein (P) and digestible carbohydrate (C) content across seven plant tissues, five varieties, and two growing environments. Significant differences in P and C concentration, total macronutrient content (P + C), and P:C ratio were observed across plant tissues, plant age and environment; smaller differences were seen across plant genotype. Foliar tissues had higher total P + C content compared to reproductive tissues, except for developing seeds and developing flowers, which contained twice the total P + C content; these two tissues also had the highest P content. Our data show that even agricultural monocultures offer a highly heterogeneous protein-carbohydrate landscape for insect herbivores. Characterizing plant resources using nutritional currencies (e.g., protein and carbohydrates) that are ecologically and physiologically-relevant to insect

  3. Insect herbivores associated with an evergreen tree Goniorrhachis marginata Taub. (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae) in a tropical dry forest.

    PubMed

    Silva, J O; Neves, F S

    2014-08-01

    Goniorrhachis marginata Taub. (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae) is a tree species found in Brazilian tropical dry forests that retain their leaves during the dry season. That being, we addressed the following question: i) How do insect diversity (sap-sucking and chewing), leaf herbivory and defensive traits (tannin and leaf sclerophylly) vary on the evergreen tree species G. marginata between seasons? The abundance of sap-sucking insects was higher in the dry season than in the rainy season. However, we did not verify any difference in the species richness and abundance of chewing insects between seasons. Leaf herbivory was higher in the rainy season, whereas leaf sclerophylly was higher in the dry season. However, herbivory was not related to sclerophylly. Insect herbivores likely decrease their folivory activity during the dry season due to life history patterns or changes in behaviour, possibly entering diapause or inactivity during this period. Therefore, G. marginata acts as a likely keystone species, serving as a moist refuge for the insect fauna during the dry season in tropical dry forest, and the presence of this evergreen species is crucial to conservation strategies of this threatened ecosystem.

  4. Differential and Synergistic Functionality of Acylsugars in Suppressing Oviposition by Insect Herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Chappell, Thomas M.; Halitschke, Rayko; De Jong, Darlene M.; Kessler, André; Kennedy, George G.; Mutschler, Martha A.

    2016-01-01

    Acylsugars are secondary metabolites exuded from type IV glandular trichomes that provide broad-spectrum insect suppression for Solanum pennellii Correll, a wild relative of cultivated tomato. Acylsugars produced by different S. pennellii accessions vary by sugar moieties (glucose or sucrose) and fatty acid side chains (lengths and branching patterns). Our objective was to determine which acylsugar compositions more effectively suppressed oviposition of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Middle East—Asia Minor 1 Group), tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds), and western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande). We extracted and characterized acylsugars from four S. pennellii accessions with different compositions, as well as from an acylsugar-producing tomato breeding line. We also fractionated the acylsugars of one S. pennellii accession to examine the effects of its components. Effects of acylsugars on oviposition were evaluated by administering a range of doses to oviposition sites of adult whiteflies and thrips in non-choice and choice bioassays, respectively. The acylsugars from S. pennellii accessions and the tomato breeding line demonstrated differential functionality in their ability to alter the distribution of whitefly oviposition and suppress oviposition on acylsugar treated substrates. Tobacco thrips were sensitive to all compositions while western flower thrips and whiteflies were more sensitive to acylsugars from a subset of S. pennellii accessions. It follows that acylsugars could thus mediate plant-enemy interactions in such a way as to affect evolution of host specialization, resistance specificity, and potentially host differentiation or local adaptation. The acylsugars from S. pennellii LA1376 were separated by polarity into two fractions that differed sharply for their sugar moieties and fatty acid side chains. These fractions had different efficacies, with neither having activity approaching that of the original

  5. Terpene down-regulation in orange reveals the role of fruit aromas in mediating interactions with insect herbivores and pathogens.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, Ana; San Andrés, Victoria; Cervera, Magdalena; Redondo, Ana; Alquézar, Berta; Shimada, Takehiko; Gadea, José; Rodrigo, María Jesús; Zacarías, Lorenzo; Palou, Lluís; López, María M; Castañera, Pedro; Peña, Leandro

    2011-06-01

    Plants use volatile terpene compounds as odor cues for communicating with the environment. Fleshy fruits are particularly rich in volatiles that deter herbivores and attract seed dispersal agents. We have investigated how terpenes in citrus fruit peels affect the interaction between the plant, insects, and microorganisms. Because limonene represents up to 97% of the total volatiles in orange (Citrus sinensis) fruit peel, we chose to down-regulate the expression of a limonene synthase gene in orange plants by introducing an antisense construct of this gene. Transgenic fruits showed reduced accumulation of limonene in the peel. When these fruits were challenged with either the fungus Penicillium digitatum or with the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, they showed marked resistance against these pathogens that were unable to infect the peel tissues. Moreover, males of the citrus pest medfly (Ceratitis capitata) were less attracted to low limonene-expressing fruits than to control fruits. These results indicate that limonene accumulation in the peel of citrus fruit appears to be involved in the successful trophic interaction between fruits, insects, and microorganisms. Terpene down-regulation might be a strategy to generate broad-spectrum resistance against pests and pathogens in fleshy fruits from economically important crops. In addition, terpene engineering may be important for studying the basic ecological interactions between fruits, herbivores, and pathogens.

  6. Asynchrony between Host Plant and Insects-Defoliator within a Tritrophic System: The Role of Herbivore Innate Immunity

    PubMed Central

    Martemyanov, Vyacheslav V.; Pavlushin, Sergey V.; Dubovskiy, Ivan M.; Yushkova, Yuliya V.; Morosov, Sergey V.; Chernyak, Elena I.; Efimov, Vadim M.; Ruuhola, Teija; Glupov, Victor V.

    2015-01-01

    The effects of asynchrony in the phenology of spring-feeding insect-defoliators and their host plants on insects’ fitness, as well as the importance of this effect for the population dynamics of outbreaking species of insects, is a widespread and well-documented phenomenon. However, the spreading of this phenomenon through the food chain, and especially those mechanisms operating this spreading, are still unclear. In this paper, we study the effect of seasonally declined leafquality (estimated in terms of phenolics and nitrogen content) on herbivore fitness, immune parameters and resistance against pathogen by using the silver birch Betula pendula—gypsy moth Lymantria dispar—nucleopolyhedrovirus as the tritrophic system. We show that a phenological mismatch induced by the delay in the emergence of gypsy moth larvae and following feeding on mature leaves has negative effects on the female pupal weight, on the rate of larval development and on the activity of phenoloxidase in the plasma of haemolymph. In addition, the larval susceptibility to exogenous nucleopolyhydrovirus infection as well as covert virus activation were both enhanced due to the phenological mismatch. The observed effects of phenological mismatch on insect-baculovirus interaction may partially explain the strong and fast fluctuations in the population dynamics of the gypsy moth that is often observed in the studied part of the defoliator area. This study also reveals some indirect mechanisms of effect related to host plant quality, which operate through the insect innate immune status and affect resistance to both exogenous and endogenous virus. PMID:26115118

  7. Density-dependent reduction and induction of milkweed cardenolides by a sucking insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Martel, John W; Malcolm, Stephen B

    2004-03-01

    The effect of aphid population size on host-plant chemical defense expression and the effect of plant defense on aphid population dynamics were investigated in a milkweed-specialist herbivore system. Density effects of the aposematic oleander aphid, Aphis nerii, on cardenolide expression were measured in two milkweed species, Asclepias curassavica and A. incarnata. These plants vary in constitutive chemical investment with high mean cardenolide concentration in A. curassavica and low to zero in A. incarnata. The second objective was to determine whether cardenolide expression in these two host plants impacts mean A. nerii colony biomass (mg) and density. Cardenolide concentration (microgram/g) of A. curassavica in both aphid-treated leaves and opposite, herbivore-free leaves decreased initially in comparison with aphid-free controls, and then increased significantly with A. nerii density. Thus, A. curassavica responds to aphid herbivory initially with density-dependent phytochemical reduction, followed by induction of cardenolides to concentrations above aphid-free controls. In addition, mean cardenolide concentration of aphid-treated leaves was significantly higher than that of opposite, herbivore-free leaves. Therefore, A. curassavica induction is strongest in herbivore-damage tissue. Conversely, A. incarnata exhibited no such chemical response to aphid herbivory. Furthermore, neither host plant responded chemically to herbivore feeding duration time (days) or to the interaction between herbivore initial density and feeding duration time. There were also no significant differences in mean colony biomass or population density of A. nerii reared on high cardenolide (A. curassavica) and low cardenolide (A. incarnata) hosts.

  8. Oviposition Deterrents in Herbivorous Insects and their potential use in Integrated Pest Management.

    PubMed

    Kumari, Archana; Kaushik, Nutan

    2016-03-01

    In the life cycle of insects, oviposition is an important phenomenon, and it is influenced by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, especially in relation to suitable hosts for completion of their life-cycle. Oviposition deterrents which deter an insect from laying eggs are important in the management of insect pests. Proper understanding of these deterrents shall provide necessary insight into new vistas for Insect Pest Management. Chemicals from plants and insects play an important role in attracting phytophagous insects for selecting host for oviposition. Considerable research has been done on oviposition deterrents and their mode of actions. In the present review, we have consolidated the updated information on this important aspect of insect behavior.

  9. An insect herbivore microbiome with high plant biomass-degrading capacity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Herbivores can gain indirect access to recalcitrant carbon present in plant cell walls through symbiotic associations with lignocellulolytic microbes. A paradigmatic example is the leaf-cutter ant (Tribe: Attini), which uses fresh leaves to cultivate a fungus for food in specialized gardens. Using a...

  10. Glycoalkaloids of wild and cultivated Solanum: effects on specialist and generalist insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Altesor, Paula; García, Álvaro; Font, Elizabeth; Rodríguez-Haralambides, Alejandra; Vilaró, Francisco; Oesterheld, Martín; Soler, Roxina; González, Andrés

    2014-06-01

    Plant domestication by selective breeding may reduce plant chemical defense in favor of growth. However, few studies have simultaneously studied the defensive chemistry of cultivated plants and their wild congeners in connection to herbivore susceptibility. We compared the constitutive glycoalkaloids (GAs) of cultivated potato, Solanum tuberosum, and a wild congener, S. commersonii, by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. We also determined the major herbivores present on the two species in field plots, and tested their preference for the plants and their isolated GAs in two-choice bioassays. Solanum commersonii had a different GA profile and higher concentrations than S. tuberosum. In the field, S. tuberosum was mostly attacked by the generalist aphids Myzus persicae and Macrosiphum euphorbiae, and by the specialist flea beetle Epitrix argentinensis. In contrast, the most common herbivore on S. commersonii was the specialist sawfly Tequus sp. Defoliation levels were higher on the wild species, probably due to the chewing feeding behavior of Tequus sp. As seen in the field, M. persicae and E. argentinensis preferred leaf disks of the cultivated plant, while Tequus sp. preferred those of the wild one. Congruently, GAs from S. commersonii were avoided by M. persicae and preferred by Tequus sp. The potato aphid performed well on both species and was not deterred by S. commersonii GAs. These observations suggest that different GA profiles explain the feeding preferences of the different herbivores, and that domestication has altered the defensive capacity of S. tuberosum. However, the wild relative is still subject to severe defoliation by a specialist herbivore that may cue on the GAs.

  11. Bottom-up and top-down effects on insect herbivores do not vary among sites of different salinity.

    PubMed

    Albarracin, Maria T; Stiling, Peter

    2006-10-01

    It has been suggested, but rarely tested, that the relative strength of top-down and bottom-up factors in communities varies along an environmental stress gradient. We compared the strength of bottom-up and top-down effects on the densities of insect herbivores along a range of sites of different salinities in west-central Florida. We used a 2 x 2 factorial design with plots divided into four treatments: (1) bottom-up manipulation, where fertilizer was applied to increase plant quality; (2) top-down manipulation, where sticky traps were used to reduce the effects of natural enemies (parasitoids); (3) bottom-up and top-down manipulation, where fertilizer was applied and sticky traps were used; and (4) control plots. These plots were established along a range of salinities among seven different sites containing the salt marsh plant Borrichia frutescens. In each plot, we determined the parasitism levels and abundances of the sap sucker Pissonotus quadripustulatus, the gall maker Asphondylia borrichiae, and the lepidopteran stem borer Argyresthia spp. Gall density, Pissonotus density, and stem borer density were significantly higher in lower salinity sites, suggesting a strong effect of environmental stress. There was a significant increase of galls and Pissonotus and a marginally significant increase of bored stems on fertilized plots but not on trapped plots. There was a significant interaction of site and fertilizer on gall parasitism. There were no interactions of either treatment with salinity on herbivore densities. The general lack of interaction between salinity level and other treatments on herbivore densities contrasts with our previous result where treatment effects did vary with salinity level on a large experimentally generated salinity gradient at one site. Thus, the results of the present paper suggest that, while environmental stress can modify top-down and bottom-up effects on herbivores at single sites, variation in site-to-site factors, possibly

  12. The maize lipoxygenase, ZmLOX10, mediates green leaf volatile, jasmonate, and herbivore-induced plant volatile production for defense against insect attack

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fatty acid derivatives are of central importance for plant immunity against insect herbivores. However, major regulatory genes and the signals that modulate these defense metabolites are vastly understudied, especially in important agro-economic monocot species. Here we show that products and sign...

  13. Domestication in Murtilla (Ugni molinae) Reduced Defensive Flavonol Levels but Increased Resistance Against a Native Herbivorous Insect.

    PubMed

    Chacón-Fuentes, Manuel; Parra, Leonardo; Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar; Seguel, Ivette; Ceballos, Ricardo; Quiroz, Andres

    2015-06-01

    Plant domestication can have negative consequences for defensive traits against herbivores, potentially reducing the levels of chemical defenses in plants and consequently their resistance against herbivores. We characterized and quantified the defensive flavonols from multiple cultivated ecotypes with wild ancestors of murtilla, Ugni molinae Turcz, an endemic plant from Chile, at different times of the year, and examined their effects on a native insect herbivore, Chilesia rudis Butler (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). We hypothesized that domestication results in a decrease in flavonol levels in U. molinae plants, and that this negatively affected C. rudis performance and preference. Ethanolic extracts were made from leaves, stems, and fruit of murtilla plants for flavonol analysis. Flavonols identified were kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, and quercetin 3-D-β-glucoside, the last two being the most abundant. More interestingly, we showed differences in flavonol composition between wild and cultivated U. molinae that persisted for most of the year. Relative amounts of all four flavonols were higher in wild U. molinae leaves; however, no differences were found in the stem and fruit between wild and cultivated plants. In choice and no-choice assays, C. rudis larvae gained more mass on, and consumed more leaf material of, wild as compared with cultivated U. molinae plants. Moreover, when applied to leaves, larvae ate more leaf material with increasing concentrations of each flavonol compound. Our study demonstrates that domestication in U. molinae reduced the amount of flavonols in leaves as well as the performance and preference of C. rudis, indicating that these compounds stimulate feeding of C. rudis.

  14. Does lignin modification affect feeding preference or growth performance of insect herbivores in transgenic silver birch (Betula pendula Roth)?

    PubMed

    Tiimonen, Heidi; Aronen, Tuija; Laakso, Tapio; Saranpää, Pekka; Chiang, Vincent; Ylioja, Tiina; Roininen, Heikki; Häggman, Hely

    2005-11-01

    Transgenic silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) lines were produced in order to modify lignin biosynthesis. These lines carry COMT (caffeate/5-hydroxyferulate O-methyltransferase) gene from Populus tremuloides driven by constitutive promoter 35S CaMV (cauliflower mosaic virus) or UbB1 (ubiquitin promoter from sunflower). The decreased syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) ratio was found in stem and leaf lignin of 35S CaMV-PtCOMT transgenic silver birch lines when compared to non-transformed control or UbB1-PtCOMT lines. In controlled feeding experiments the leaves of transgenic birch lines as well as controls were fed to insect herbivores common in boreal environment, i.e., larvae of Aethalura punctulata, Cleora cinctaria and Trichopteryx carpinata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) as well as the adults of birch leaf-feeding beetles Agelastica alni (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and Phyllobius spp. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The feeding preferences of these herbivores differed in some cases among the tested birch lines, but these differences could not be directly associated to lignin modification. They could as well be explained by other characteristics of leaves, either natural or caused by transgene site effects. Growth performance of lepidopteran larvae fed on transgenic or control leaves did not differ significantly.

  15. The impact of microbial symbionts on host plant utilization by herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Hansen, Allison K; Moran, Nancy A

    2014-03-01

    Herbivory, defined as feeding on live plant tissues, is characteristic of highly successful and diverse groups of insects and represents an evolutionarily derived mode of feeding. Plants present various nutritional and defensive barriers against herbivory; nevertheless, insects have evolved a diverse array of mechanisms that enable them to feed and develop on live plant tissues. For decades, it has been suggested that insect-associated microbes may facilitate host plant use, and new molecular methodologies offer the possibility to elucidate such roles. Based on genomic data, specialized feeding on phloem and xylem sap is highly dependent on nutrient provisioning by intracellular symbionts, as exemplified by Buchnera in aphids, although it is unclear whether such symbionts play a substantive role in host plant specificity of their hosts. Microorganisms present in the gut or outside the insect body could provide more functions including digestion of plant polymers and detoxification of plant-produced toxins. However, the extent of such contributions to insect herbivory remains unclear. We propose that the potential functions of microbial symbionts in facilitating or restricting the use of host plants are constrained by their location (intracellular, gut or environmental), and by the fidelity of their associations with insect host lineages. Studies in the next decade, using molecular methods from environmental microbiology and genomics, will provide a more comprehensive picture of the role of microbial symbionts in insect herbivory.

  16. Trade-offs in host choice of an herbivorous insect based on parasitism and larval performance.

    PubMed

    Murphy, Shannon M; Loewy, Katrina J

    2015-11-01

    Herbivore diet breadth is predicted to evolve in response to both bottom-up and top-down selective pressures, including host plant abundance, quality and natural enemy pressure. As the relative importance and strength of interactions change over an herbivore's geographic range, local patterns of host plant use should change in response, altering local diet breadths. Fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea) is a widespread, polyphagous moth species that feeds on hundreds of plant species worldwide. Populations of fall webworm in Colorado remain polyphagous, but their diet breadth is restricted compared to other populations and thus present an ideal opportunity to test the ecological drivers of host use by a polyphagous herbivore. We investigated how host abundance, larval performance, and parasitism affect host use for fall webworm to test how these selective pressures may act individually or in concert, as well as the role of any trade-offs among fitness components, to explain diet breadth and host use. We found that host abundance was a significant predictor of host use, which suggests a selective pressure to reduce search time for oviposition sites by adult females. We also detected an important trade-off between bottom-up and top-down selective pressures: higher quality host plants also had a greater proportion of larval mortality due to parasitism. Local patterns of host plant abundance appear to narrow the set of hosts used by fall webworms in Colorado, while the trade-off between host quality and risk of parasitism helps explain the maintenance of a generalized feeding strategy within this restricted set of hosts.

  17. Effects of larval host plant species on fecundity of the generalist insect herbivore Ennomos subsignarius (Lepidoptera: Geometridae).

    PubMed

    Ryall, K L

    2010-02-01

    The elm spanworm, Ennomos subsignarius Hübner (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), is an eruptive herbivore that feeds on numerous tree species in forests throughout its range. An unprecedented outbreak in an urban environment in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, caused severe levels of defoliation to a number of native and exotic hardwood tree species, some of which represent novel hosts for this insect. Increased insect performance on these novels hosts was hypothesized as having contributed to the outbreak. To assess this, percentage larval survival and pupal weight were measured for larvae reared on foliage from six different tree species in a no-choice laboratory bioassay. Adult longevity and fecundity (no. eggs laid per female) were assessed for laboratory-reared individuals, as well as for pupae collected from eight different host tree species from the field. A survey to assess feeding occurrence measured defoliation on eight tree species. During this urban outbreak, sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus, a tree species not native to North America, experienced the highest levels of defoliation. Performance of E. subsignarius (pupal weight, female longevity, and fecundity) on this host was comparable with the known host of elm (Ulmus spp.). Despite the fact that E. subsignaria performed well on several introduced hosts, fecundity levels were much lower than previously published reports, suggesting that the current outbreak is not caused by increased fecundity on these novel hosts in contrast to the hypothesis.

  18. In situ volatile collection, analysis, and comparison of three Centaurea species and their relationship to biocontrol with herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Beck, John J; Smith, Lincoln; Merrill, Glory B

    2008-04-23

    Centaurea solstitialis, commonly known as yellow starthistle, is an invasive plant listed as a noxious weed in the western areas of North America and is the target of classical biological control, which involves release of herbivores known to be specific to this plant. These insects often choose their host plant on the basis of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted. Accordingly, volatile analysis of host plants can provide insight into VOCs that may attract and/or repel the insect. To this end, solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and a customized collection bag were utilized to perform in situ volatile collection on intact and mechanically damaged leaves of Centaurea solstitialis, Centaurea cyanus, and Centaurea cineraria. Volatile identification was performed by GC-MS, and the VOC differences were determined. The plants C. solstitialis and C. cyanus have been reported to attract the weevil, Ceratapion basicorne, a candidate for biological control, whereas C. cineraria does not attract the weevil. Major VOCs unique to C. cineraria include the sesquiterpenes cyclosativene, alpha-ylangene, and trans-alpha-bergamotene. The compound trans-beta-farnesene was unique to C. solstitialis and C. cyanus.

  19. Biodiversity and Activity of the Gut Microbiota across the Life History of the Insect Herbivore Spodoptera littoralis

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Bosheng; Teh, Beng-Soon; Sun, Chao; Hu, Sirui; Lu, Xingmeng; Boland, Wilhelm; Shao, Yongqi

    2016-01-01

    Microbes that live inside insects play critical roles in host nutrition, physiology, and behavior. Although Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are one of the most diverse insect taxa, their microbial symbionts are little-studied, particularly during metamorphosis. Here, using ribosomal tag pyrosequencing of DNA and RNA, we investigated biodiversity and activity of gut microbiotas across the holometabolous life cycle of Spodoptera littoralis, a notorious agricultural pest worldwide. Proteobacteria and Firmicutes dominate but undergo a structural “metamorphosis” in tandem with its host. Enterococcus, Pantoea and Citrobacter were abundant and active in early-instar, while Clostridia increased in late-instar. Interestingly, only enterococci persisted through metamorphosis. Female adults harbored high proportions of Enterococcus, Klebsiella and Pantoea, whereas males largely shifted to Klebsiella. Comparative functional analysis with PICRUSt indicated that early-instar larval microbiome was more enriched for genes involved in cell motility and carbohydrate metabolism, whereas in late-instar amino acid, cofactor and vitamin metabolism increased. Genes involved in energy and nucleotide metabolism were abundant in pupae. Female adult microbiome was enriched for genes relevant to energy metabolism, while an increase in the replication and repair pathway was observed in male. Understanding the metabolic activity of these herbivore-associated microbial symbionts may assist the development of novel pest-management strategies. PMID:27389097

  20. Interspecific variation within the genus Asclepias in response to herbivory by a phloem-feeding insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Zehnder, Caralyn B; Hunter, Mark D

    2007-11-01

    Induced plant responses to leaf-chewing insects have been well studied, but considerably less is known about the effects of phloem-feedings insects on induction. In a set of laboratory experiments, we examined density-dependent induction by the milkweed-oleander aphid, Aphis nerii, of putative defenses in four milkweed species (Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias syriaca, Asclepias tuberosa, and Asclepias viridis). We hypothesized that high aphid density would lead to increased cardenolide expression in species with low constitutive levels of cardenolides (e.g., A. tuberosa), but that there would be no induction in high constitutive cardenolide species (e.g., A. viridis). Based on previous studies, we did not expect cardenolide induction in A. incarnata. Contrary to our predictions, we observed feeding-induced declines of cardenolide concentrations in A. viridis. Cardenolide concentrations did not respond to aphid feeding in the other three milkweed species. Aphids also caused reductions in biomass accumulation by two of four Asclepias species, A. viridis and A. incarnata. High aphid density led to a decrease in A. viridis foliar nitrogen concentration. However, aphids had no effect on the defensive chemistry, growth, or nutritional quality of either A. syriaca or A. tuberosa. Our results highlight that congeneric plant species may respond differently to the same levels of herbivore damage.

  1. Synergistic effects of an extreme weather event and habitat fragmentation on a specialised insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Piessens, Katrien; Adriaens, Dries; Jacquemyn, Hans; Honnay, Olivier

    2009-02-01

    Habitat fragmentation is considered to be one of the main causes of population decline and species extinction worldwide. Furthermore, habitat fragmentation can decrease the ability of populations to resist and to recover from environmental disturbances such as extreme weather events, which are expected to occur at an increasing rate as a result of climate change. In this study, we investigated how calcareous grassland fragmentation affected the impact of the climatically extreme summer of 2003 on egg deposition rates, population size variation and survival of the blue butterfly Cupido minimus, a specialist herbivore of Anthyllis vulneraria. Immediately after the 2003 summer heat wave, populations of the host plant declined in size; this was paralleled with decreases in population size of the herbivore and altered egg deposition rates. In 2006 at the end of the monitoring period, however, most A. vulneraria populations had recovered and only one population went extinct. In contrast, several butterfly populations had gone extinct between 2003 and 2006. Extinction probability was significantly related to initial population size, with small populations having a higher risk of extinction than large populations. These results support the prediction that species of higher trophic levels are more susceptible to extinction due to habitat fragmentation and severe disturbances.

  2. Biological Control beneath the Feet: A Review of Crop Protection against Insect Root Herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Kergunteuil, Alan; Bakhtiari, Moe; Formenti, Ludovico; Xiao, Zhenggao; Defossez, Emmanuel; Rasmann, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Sustainable agriculture is certainly one of the most important challenges at present, considering both human population demography and evidence showing that crop productivity based on chemical control is plateauing. While the environmental and health threats of conventional agriculture are increasing, ecological research is offering promising solutions for crop protection against herbivore pests. While most research has focused on aboveground systems, several major crop pests are uniquely feeding on roots. We here aim at documenting the current and potential use of several biological control agents, including micro-organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and nematodes) and invertebrates included among the macrofauna of soils (arthropods and annelids) that are used against root herbivores. In addition, we discuss the synergistic action of different bio-control agents when co-inoculated in soil and how the induction and priming of plant chemical defense could be synergized with the use of the bio-control agents described above to optimize root pest control. Finally, we highlight the gaps in the research for optimizing a more sustainable management of root pests. PMID:27916820

  3. Comparative Genomic Analysis of the Endosymbionts of Herbivorous Insects Reveals Eco-Environmental Adaptations: Biotechnology Applications

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Weibing; Xie, Shangxian; Chen, Xueyan; Sun, Su; Zhou, Xin; Liu, Lantao; Gao, Peng; Kyrpides, Nikos C.; No, En-Gyu; Yuan, Joshua S.

    2013-01-01

    Metagenome analysis of the gut symbionts of three different insects was conducted as a means of comparing taxonomic and metabolic diversity of gut microbiomes to diet and life history of the insect hosts. A second goal was the discovery of novel biocatalysts for biorefinery applications. Grasshopper and cutworm gut symbionts were sequenced and compared with the previously identified metagenome of termite gut microbiota. These insect hosts represent three different insect orders and specialize on different food types. The comparative analysis revealed dramatic differences among the three insect species in the abundance and taxonomic composition of the symbiont populations present in the gut. The composition and abundance of symbionts was correlated with their previously identified capacity to degrade and utilize the different types of food consumed by their hosts. The metabolic reconstruction revealed that the gut metabolome of cutworms and grasshoppers was more enriched for genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and transport than wood-feeding termite, whereas the termite gut metabolome was enriched for glycosyl hydrolase (GH) enzymes relevant to lignocellulosic biomass degradation. Moreover, termite gut metabolome was more enriched with nitrogen fixation genes than those of grasshopper and cutworm gut, presumably due to the termite's adaptation to the high fiber and less nutritious food types. In order to evaluate and exploit the insect symbionts for biotechnology applications, we cloned and further characterized four biomass-degrading enzymes including one endoglucanase and one xylanase from both the grasshopper and cutworm gut symbionts. The results indicated that the grasshopper symbiont enzymes were generally more efficient in biomass degradation than the homologous enzymes from cutworm symbionts. Together, these results demonstrated a correlation between the composition and putative metabolic functionality of the gut microbiome and host diet, and suggested

  4. Transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to chewing and sucking insect herbivores

    DOE PAGES

    Appel, Heidi M.; Fescemyer, Howard; Ehlting, Juergen; ...

    2014-11-14

    We tested the hypothesis that Arabidopsis can recognize and respond differentially to insect species at the transcriptional level using a genome wide microarray. Transcriptional reprogramming was characterized using co-expression analysis in damaged and undamaged leaves at two times in response to mechanical wounding and four insect species. In all, 2778 (10.6%) of annotated genes on the array were differentially expressed in at least one treatment. Responses differed mainly between aphid and caterpillar and sampling times. Responses to aphids and caterpillars shared only 10% of up-regulated and 8% of down-regulated genes. Responses to two caterpillars shared 21 and 12% of up-more » and down-regulated genes, whereas responses to the two aphids shared only 7 and 4% of up-regulated and down-regulated genes. Overlap in genes expressed between 6 and 24 h was 3–15%, and depended on the insect species. Responses in attacked and unattacked leaves differed at 6 h but converged by 24 h. Genes responding to the insects are also responsive to many stressors and included primary metabolism. Aphids down-regulated amino acid catabolism; caterpillars stimulated production of amino acids involved in glucosinolate synthesis. Co-expression analysis revealed 17 response networks. Transcription factors were a major portion of differentially expressed genes throughout and responsive genes shared most of the known or postulated binding sites. However, cis-element composition of genes down regulated by the aphid M. persicae was unique, as were those of genes down-regulated by caterpillars. As many as 20 cis-elements were over-represented in one or more treatments, including some from well-characterized classes and others as yet uncharacterized. We suggest that transcriptional changes elicited by wounding and insects are heavily influenced by transcription factors and involve both enrichment of a common set of cis-elements and a unique enrichment of a few cis-elements in responding

  5. Transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to chewing and sucking insect herbivores

    SciTech Connect

    Appel, Heidi M.; Fescemyer, Howard; Ehlting, Juergen; Weston, David; Rehrig, Erin; Joshi, Trupti; Xu, Dong; Bohlmann, Joerg; Schultz, Jack

    2014-11-14

    We tested the hypothesis that Arabidopsis can recognize and respond differentially to insect species at the transcriptional level using a genome wide microarray. Transcriptional reprogramming was characterized using co-expression analysis in damaged and undamaged leaves at two times in response to mechanical wounding and four insect species. In all, 2778 (10.6%) of annotated genes on the array were differentially expressed in at least one treatment. Responses differed mainly between aphid and caterpillar and sampling times. Responses to aphids and caterpillars shared only 10% of up-regulated and 8% of down-regulated genes. Responses to two caterpillars shared 21 and 12% of up- and down-regulated genes, whereas responses to the two aphids shared only 7 and 4% of up-regulated and down-regulated genes. Overlap in genes expressed between 6 and 24 h was 3–15%, and depended on the insect species. Responses in attacked and unattacked leaves differed at 6 h but converged by 24 h. Genes responding to the insects are also responsive to many stressors and included primary metabolism. Aphids down-regulated amino acid catabolism; caterpillars stimulated production of amino acids involved in glucosinolate synthesis. Co-expression analysis revealed 17 response networks. Transcription factors were a major portion of differentially expressed genes throughout and responsive genes shared most of the known or postulated binding sites. However, cis-element composition of genes down regulated by the aphid M. persicae was unique, as were those of genes down-regulated by caterpillars. As many as 20 cis-elements were over-represented in one or more treatments, including some from well-characterized classes and others as yet uncharacterized. We suggest that transcriptional changes elicited by wounding and insects are heavily influenced by transcription factors and involve both enrichment of a common set of cis-elements and a unique enrichment of a few cis-elements in responding genes.

  6. Climate change, nutrition and immunity: Effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on the immune function of an insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Gherlenda, Andrew N; Haigh, Anthony M; Moore, Ben D; Johnson, Scott N; Riegler, Markus

    2016-02-01

    Balanced nutrition is fundamental to health and immunity. For herbivorous insects, nutrient-compositional shifts in host plants due to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperature may compromise this balance. Therefore, understanding their immune responses to such shifts is vital if we are to predict the outcomes of climate change for plant-herbivore-parasitoid and pathogen interactions. We tested the immune response of Paropsis atomaria Olivier (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feeding on Eucalyptus tereticornis Sm. seedlings exposed to elevated CO2 (640 μmol mol(-1); CE) and temperature (ambient plus 4 °C; TE). Larvae were immune-challenged with a nylon monofilament in order to simulate parasitoid or pathogen attack without other effects of actual parasitism or pathology. The cellular (in vivo melanisation) and humoral (in vitro phenoloxidase PO activity) immune responses were assessed, and linked to changes in leaf chemistry. CE reduced foliar nitrogen (N) concentrations and increased C:N ratios and concentrations of total phenolics. The humoral response was reduced at CE. PO activity and haemolymph protein concentrations decreased at CE, while haemolymph protein concentrations were positively correlated with foliar N concentrations. However, the cellular response increased at CE and this was not correlated with any foliar traits. Immune parameters were not impacted by TE. Our study revealed that opposite cellular and humoral immune responses occurred as a result of plant-mediated effects at CE. In contrast, elevated temperatures within the tested range had minimal impact on immune responses. These complex interactions may alter the outcomes of parasitoid and pathogen attack in future climates.

  7. A mixed diet of toxic plants enables increased feeding and anti-predator defense by an insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Mason, P A; Bernardo, M A; Singer, M S

    2014-10-01

    Some insect herbivores sequester plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) for their own defense, raising the interesting possibility that grazing herbivores are defended by combinations of PSMs from different plant species. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the grazing caterpillar, Grammia incorrupta, deters the ant, Aphaenogaster cockerelli, by eating a mixture of plants containing iridoid glycosides (IGs) and those containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), and that this deterrence is greater than that attained by eating either plant alone. This hypothesis was tested against the non-mutually exclusive hypothesis that mixing plants containing PAs with those containing IGs improves growth performance. Caterpillar survival and growth were measured on three experimental diets: a PA plant, an IG plant, and a mixture of the two. We measured the degree of deterrence associated with these, and an additional experimental diet devoid of PSMs at naturally occurring A. cockerelli nests. Caterpillars fed both plants gained more mass than those fed either plant alone, but took longer to develop. These differences were not caused by diet-based variation in growth efficiency, but by eating more food when offered the mixed-plant diet relative to single-plant diets. The mixed diet was shown to provide deterrence to ants, whereas caterpillars fed single-plant diets were not significantly more deterrent than caterpillars that had eaten the PSM-free diet. We hypothesize that enhanced defense results from increased food consumption in response to multiple plant species, perhaps leading to greater PSM sequestration. Through this mechanism, bottom-up and top-down effects may mutually reinforce the grazing dietary strategy.

  8. The effects of experimental warming on the timing of a plant-insect herbivore interaction.

    PubMed

    Kharouba, Heather M; Vellend, Mark; Sarfraz, Rana M; Myers, Judith H

    2015-05-01

    The phenology of many species is shifting in response to climatic changes, and these shifts are occurring at varying rates across species. This can potentially affect species' interactions and individual fitness. However, few studies have experimentally tested the influence of warming on the timing of species interactions. This is an important gap in the literature given the potential for different direct and indirect effects of temperature via phenological change. Our aim was to test the effects of warming on the western tent caterpillar (Malacosoma californicum pluviale). In addition to the direct effects of warming, we considered the two primary indirect effects mediated by warming-driven changes in its host plant, red alder (Alnus rubra): changes in resource availability due to phenological mismatch (i.e. changes in the relative timing of the interaction), and changes in resource quality associated with leaf maturation. We experimentally warmed egg masses and larvae of the western tent caterpillar placed on branches of red alder in the field. Warming advanced the timing of larval but not leaf emergence. This led to varying degrees of phenological mismatch, with larvae emerging as much as 25 days before to 10 days after the emergence of leaves. Even the earliest-emerging larvae, however, had high survival in the absence of leaves for up to 3 weeks, and they were surprisingly resistant to starvation. In addition, although warming created phenological mismatch that initially slowed the development of larvae that emerged before leaf emergence, it accelerated larval development once leaves were available. Therefore, warming had no net effect on our measures of insect performance. Our results demonstrate that the indirect effects of warming, in creating phenological mismatch, are as important to consider as the direct effects on insect performance. Although future climatic warming might influence plants and insects in different ways, some insects may be well adapted

  9. Volatiles of Solena amplexicaulis (Lam.) Gandhi Leaves Influencing Attraction of Two Generalist Insect Herbivores.

    PubMed

    Sarkar, Nupur; Karmakar, Amarnath; Barik, Anandamay

    2016-10-01

    Epilachna vigintioctopunctata Fabr. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Aulacophora foveicollis Lucas (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) are important pests of Solena amplexicaulis (Lam.) Gandhi (Cucurbitaceae), commonly known as creeping cucumber. The profiles of volatile organic compounds from undamaged plants, plants after 48 hr continuous feeding of adult females of either E. vigintioctopunctata or A. foveicollis, by adults of both species, and after mechanical damaging were identified and quantified by GC-MS and GC-FID analyses. Thirty two compounds were detected in volatiles of all treatments. In all plants, methyl jasmonate was the major compound. In Y-shaped glass tube olfactometer bioassays under laboratory conditions, both insect species showed a significant preference for complete volatile blends from insect damaged plants, compared to those of undamaged plants. Neither E. vigintioctopunctata nor A. foveicollis showed any preference for volatiles released by heterospecifically damaged plants vs. conspecifically damaged plants or plants attacked by both species. Epilachna vigintioctopunctata and A. foveicollis showed attraction to three different synthetic compounds, linalool oxide, nonanal, and E-2-nonenal in proportions present in volatiles of insect damaged plants. Both species were attracted by a synthetic blend of 1.64 μg linalool oxide + 3.86 μg nonanal + 2.23 μg E-2-nonenal, dissolved in 20 μl methylene chloride. This combination might be used as trapping tools in pest management strategies.

  10. Expansion of a bitter taste receptor family in a polyphagous insect herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Wei; Papanicolaou, Alexie; Zhang, Hui-Jie; Anderson, Alisha

    2016-01-01

    The Insect taste system plays a central role in feeding behaviours and co-evolution of insect-host interactions. Gustatory receptors form the interface between the insect taste system and the environment. From genome and transcriptome sequencing we identified 197 novel gustatory receptor (GR) genes from the polyphagous pest Helicoverpa armigera. These GRs include a significantly expanded bitter receptor family (180 GRs) that could be further divided into three categories based on polypeptide lengths, gene structure and amino acid sequence. Type 1 includes 29 bitter Gr genes that possess introns. Type 2 includes 13 long intronless bitter Gr genes, while Type 3 comprises 131 short intronless bitter Gr genes. Calcium imaging analysis demonstrated that three Type 3 GRs (HarmGR35, HarmGR50 and HarmGR195) can be activated by a crude extract of cotton leaves. HarmGR195, a GR specifically and selectively expressed in adult tarsi, showed a specific response to proline, an amino acid widely present in plant tissues. We hypothesise that the expansion in the H. armigera GR family may be functionally tied to its polyphagous behavior. Understanding the molecular basis of polyphagy may provide opportunities for the development of new environmentally friendly pest control strategies. PMID:27032373

  11. Functional proteomics-aided selection of protease inhibitors for herbivore insect control

    PubMed Central

    Rasoolizadeh, Asieh; Munger, Aurélie; Goulet, Marie-Claire; Sainsbury, Frank; Cloutier, Conrad; Michaud, Dominique

    2016-01-01

    Studies have reported the potential of protease inhibitors to engineer insect resistance in transgenic plants but the general usefulness of this approach in crop protection still remains to be established. Insects have evolved strategies to cope with dietary protease inhibitors, such as the use of proteases recalcitrant to inhibition, that often make the selection of effective inhibitors very challenging. Here, we used a functional proteomics approach for the ‘capture’ of Cys protease targets in crude protein extracts as a tool to identify promising cystatins for plant improvement. Two cystatins found to differ in their efficiency to capture Cys proteases of the coleopteran pest Leptinotarsa decemlineata also differed in their usefulness to produce transgenic potato lines resistant to this insect. Plants expressing the most potent cystatin at high level had a strong repressing effect on larval growth and leaf intake, while plants expressing the weakest cystatin showed no effect on both two parameters compared to untransformed parental line used for genetic transformation. Our data underline the relevance of considering the whole range of possible protease targets when selecting an inhibitor for plant pest control. They also confirm the feasibility of developing cystatin-expressing transgenics resistant to a major pest of potato. PMID:27958307

  12. Alkaloid variation among epichloid endophytes of sleepygrass (Achnatherum robustum) and consequences for resistance to insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Shymanovich, Tatsiana; Saari, Susanna; Lovin, Mary E; Jarmusch, Alan K; Jarmusch, Scott A; Musso, Ashleigh M; Charlton, Nikki D; Young, Carolyn A; Cech, Nadja B; Faeth, Stanley H

    2015-01-01

    Epichloid endophytes are well known symbionts of many cool-season grasses that may alleviate environmental stresses for their hosts. For example, endophytes produce alkaloid compounds that may be toxic to invertebrate or vertebrate herbivores. Achnatherum robustum, commonly called sleepygrass, was aptly named due to the presence of an endophyte that causes toxic effects to livestock and wildlife. Variation in alkaloid production observed in two A. robustum populations located near Weed and Cloudcroft in the Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico, suggests two different endophyte species are present in these populations. Genetic analyses of endophyte-infected samples revealed major differences in the endophyte alkaloid genetic profiles from the two populations, which were supported with chemical analyses. The endophyte present in the Weed population was shown to produce chanoclavine I, paspaline, and terpendoles, so thus resembles the previously described Epichloë funkii. The endophyte present in the Cloudcroft population produces chanoclavineI, ergonovine, lysergic acid amide, and paspaline, and is an undescribed endophyte species. We observed very low survival rates for aphids feeding on plants infected with the Cloudcroft endophyte, while aphid survival was better on endophyte infected plants in the Weed population. This observation led to the hypothesis that the alkaloid ergonovine is responsible for aphid mortality. Direct testing of aphid survival on oat leaves supplemented with ergonovine provided supporting evidence for this hypothesis. The results of this study suggest that alkaloids produced by the Cloudcroft endophyte, specifically ergonovine, have insecticidal properties.

  13. Development of specific ITS markers for plant DNA identification within herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Pumariño, L; Alomar, O; Agustí, N

    2011-06-01

    DNA-based techniques have proved to be very useful methods to study trophic relationships between pests and their natural enemies. However, most predators are best defined as omnivores, and the identification of plant-specific DNA should also allow the identification of the plant species the predators have been feeding on. In this study, a PCR approach based on the development of specific primers was developed as a self-marking technique to detect plant DNA within the gut of one heteropteran omnivorous predator (Macrolophus pygmaeus) and two lepidopteran pest species (Helicoverpa armigera and Tuta absoluta). Specific tomato primers were designed from the ITS 1-2 region, which allowed the amplification of a tomato DNA fragment of 332 bp within the three insect species tested in all cases (100% of detection at t=0) and did not detect DNA of other plants nor of the starved insects. Plant DNA half-lives at 25°C ranged from 5.8 h, to 27.7 h and 28.7 h within M. pygmaeus, H. armigera and T. absoluta, respectively. Tomato DNA detection within field-collected M. pygmaeus suggests dietary mixing in this omnivorous predator and showed a higher detection of tomato DNA in females and nymphs than males. This study provides a useful tool to detect and to identify plant food sources of arthropods and to evaluate crop colonization from surrounding vegetation in conservation biological control programs.

  14. Minimization of chloroplast contamination in 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing of insect herbivore bacterial communities

    PubMed Central

    Hanshew, Alissa S.; Mason, Charles J.; Raffa, Kenneth F.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2014-01-01

    Chloroplast sequence contamination in 16S ribosomal RNA gene (16S) analyses can be particularly problematic when sampling microbial communities in plants and folivorous arthropods. We previously encountered high levels of plastid contamination in herbivorous insect samples when we used the predominant 454 pyrosequencing 16S methodologies described in the literature. 799F, a primer previously found to exclude chloroplast sequences, was modified to enhance its efficacy, and we describe, in detail, our methodology throughout amplicon pyrosequencing. Thirteen versions of 799F were assessed for the exclusion of chloroplast sequences from our samples. We found that a shift in the mismatch between 799F and chloroplast 16S resulted in significant reduction of chloroplast reads. Our results also indicate that amplifying sequences from environmental samples in a two-step PCR process, with the addition of the multiplex identifiers and 454 adapters in a second round of PCR, further improved primer specificity. Primers that included 3′ phosphorothioate bonds, which were designed to block primer degradation, did not amplify consistently across samples. The different forward primers do not appear to bias the bacterial communities detected. We provide a methodological framework for reducing chloroplast reads in high-throughput sequencing data sets that can be applied to a number of environmental samples and sequencing techniques. PMID:23968645

  15. Tracking the elusive history of diversification in plant-herbivorous insect-parasitoid food webs: insights from figs and fig wasps.

    PubMed

    Kjellberg, Finn; Proffit, Magali

    2016-02-01

    The food webs consisting of plants, herbivorous insects and their insect parasitoids are a major component of terrestrial biodiversity. They play a central role in the functioning of all terrestrial ecosystems, and the number of species involved is mind-blowing (Nyman et al. 2015). Nevertheless, our understanding of the evolutionary and ecological determinants of their diversity is still in its infancy. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Sutton et al. (2016) open a window into the comparative analysis of spatial genetic structuring in a set of comparable multitrophic models, involving highly species-specific interactions: figs and fig wasps. This is the first study to compare genetic structure using population genetics tools in a fig-pollinating wasp (Pleistodontes imperialis sp1) and its main parasitoid (Sycoscapter sp.A). The fig-pollinating wasp has a discontinuous spatial distribution that correlates with genetic differentiation, while the parasitoid bridges the discontinuity by parasitizing other pollinator species on the same host fig tree and presents basically no spatial genetic structure. The full implications of these results for our general understanding of plant-herbivorous insect-insect parasitoids diversification become apparent when envisioned within the framework of recent advances in fig and fig wasp biology.

  16. Soil nutrient effects on oviposition preference, larval performance, and chemical defense of a specialist insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Prudic, Kathleen L; Oliver, Jeffrey C; Bowers, M Deane

    2005-05-01

    This study examined the effects of increased leaf nitrogen in natural host-plants (Plantago spp.) on female oviposition preference, larval performance, and larval chemical defense of the butterfly Junonia coenia. Increased availability of soil nutrients caused the host-plant's foliar nitrogen to increase and its chemical defense to decrease. Larval performance did not correlate with increases in foliar nitrogen. Larval growth rate and survival were equivalent across host-plant treatments. However, larvae raised on fertilized host-plants showed concomitant decreases in chemical defense as compared to larvae reared on unfertilized host-plants. Since most butterfly larvae cannot move long distances during their first few instars and are forced to feed upon the plant on which they hatched, J. coenia larval chemical defense is determined, in large part, by female oviposition choice. Female butterflies preferred host-plants with high nitrogen over host-plants with low nitrogen; however, this preference was also mediated by plant chemical defense. Female butterflies preferred more chemically defended host-plants when foliar nitrogen was equivalent between host-plants. J. coenia larvae experience intense predation in the field, especially when larvae are not chemically well defended. Any qualitative or quantitative variation in plant allelochemical defense has fitness consequences on these larvae. Thus, these results indicate that females may be making sub-optimal oviposition decisions under a nutrient-enriched regime, when predators are present. Given the recent increase in fertilizer application and nitrogen deposition on the terrestrial landscape, these interactions between female preference, larval performance, and larval chemical defense may result in long-term changes in population dynamics and persistence of specialist insects.

  17. Belowground induction by Delia radicum or phytohormones affect aboveground herbivore communities on field-grown broccoli

    PubMed Central

    Pierre, S. P.; Dugravot, S.; Hervé, M. R.; Hassan, H. M.; van Dam, N. M.; Cortesero, A. M.

    2013-01-01

    Induced plant defence in response to phytophagous insects is a well described phenomenon. However, so far little is known about the effect of induced plant responses on subsequently colonizing herbivores in the field. Broccoli plants were induced in the belowground compartment using (i) infestation by the root-herbivore Delia radicum, (ii) root application of jasmonic acid (JA) or (iii) root application of salicylic acid (SA). The abundance of D. radicum and six aboveground herbivores displaying contrasting levels of host specialization were surveyed for 5 weeks. Our study showed that the response of herbivores was found to differ from one another, depending on the herbivore species, its degree of specialization and the root treatment. The abundance of the root herbivore D. radicum and particularly the number of emerging adults was decreased by both phytohormone treatments, while the number of D. radicum eggs was increased on conspecific infested plants. The root infestation exhibited moderate effects on the aboveground community. The abundance of the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae was strongly increased on D. radicum infested plants, but the other species were not impacted. Root hormone applications exhibited a strong effect on the abundance of specialist foliar herbivores. A higher number of B. brassicae and Pieris brassicae and a lower number of Plutella xylostella were found on JA treated plants. On SA treated plants we observed a decrease of the abundance of B. brassicae, Pi. rapae, and P. xylostella. Surprisingly, generalist species, Mamestra brassicae and Myzus persicae were not affected by root induction treatments. Finally, root treatments had no significant effect on either glucosinolate (GLS) profiles of the heads or on plant quality parameters. These results are discussed from the perspective of below- aboveground interactions and adaptations of phytophagous insects to induced plant responses according to their trophic specialization level. PMID:23970888

  18. Turning the 'mustard oil bomb' into a 'cyanide bomb': aromatic glucosinolate metabolism in a specialist insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Stauber, Einar J; Kuczka, Petrissa; van Ohlen, Maike; Vogt, Birgit; Janowitz, Tim; Piotrowski, Markus; Beuerle, Till; Wittstock, Ute

    2012-01-01

    Plants have evolved a variety of mechanisms for dealing with insect herbivory among which chemical defense through secondary metabolites plays a prominent role. Physiological, behavioural and sensorical adaptations to these chemicals provide herbivores with selective advantages allowing them to diversify within the newly occupied ecological niche. In turn, this may influence the evolution of plant metabolism giving rise to e.g. new chemical defenses. The association of Pierid butterflies and plants of the Brassicales has been cited as an illustrative example of this adaptive process known as 'coevolutionary armsrace'. All plants of the Brassicales are defended by the glucosinolate-myrosinase system to which larvae of cabbage white butterflies and related species are biochemically adapted through a gut nitrile-specifier protein. Here, we provide evidence by metabolite profiling and enzyme assays that metabolism of benzylglucosinolate in Pieris rapae results in release of equimolar amounts of cyanide, a potent inhibitor of cellular respiration. We further demonstrate that P. rapae larvae develop on transgenic Arabidopsis plants with ectopic production of the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin without ill effects. Metabolite analyses and fumigation experiments indicate that cyanide is detoxified by β-cyanoalanine synthase and rhodanese in the larvae. Based on these results as well as on the facts that benzylglucosinolate was one of the predominant glucosinolates in ancient Brassicales and that ancient Brassicales lack nitrilases involved in alternative pathways, we propose that the ability of Pierid species to safely handle cyanide contributed to the primary host shift from Fabales to Brassicales that occured about 75 million years ago and was followed by Pierid species diversification.

  19. Comparative analysis of quantitative trait loci controlling glucosinolates, myrosinase and insect resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    PubMed Central

    Kliebenstein, Daniel; Pedersen, Deana; Barker, Bridget; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2002-01-01

    Evolutionary interactions among insect herbivores and plant chemical defenses have generated systems where plant compounds have opposing fitness consequences for host plants, depending on attack by various insect herbivores. This interplay complicates understanding of fitness costs and benefits of plant chemical defenses. We are studying the role of the glucosinolate-myrosinase chemical defense system in protecting Arabidopsis thaliana from specialist and generalist insect herbivory. We used two Arabidopsis recombinant inbred populations in which we had previously mapped QTL controlling variation in the glucosinolate-myrosinase system. In this study we mapped QTL controlling resistance to specialist (Plutella xylostella) and generalist (Trichoplusia ni) herbivores. We identified a number of QTL that are specific to one herbivore or the other, as well as a single QTL that controls resistance to both insects. Comparison of QTL for herbivory, glucosinolates, and myrosinase showed that T. ni herbivory is strongly deterred by higher glucosinolate levels, faster breakdown rates, and specific chemical structures. In contrast, P. xylostella herbivory is uncorrelated with variation in the glucosinolate-myrosinase system. This agrees with evolutionary theory stating that specialist insects may overcome host plant chemical defenses, whereas generalists will be sensitive to these same defenses. PMID:12019246

  20. Effects of plant identity and diversity on the dietary choice of a soil-living insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Schallhart, Nikolaus; Tusch, Manuel Josef; Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Traugott, Michael

    2012-12-01

    Plant identity and diversity influence herbivore communities in many different ways. While it is well known how they affect the feeding preferences of aboveground herbivores, this information is lacking for soil ecosystems, where examining plant-herbivore trophic interactions is difficult. We performed a mesocosm experiment assessing how plant identity and diversity affect the food choice of Agriotes larvae, which are soil-living generalist herbivores. We offered four plant species, (maize, a grass, a legume, and a forb) at varying combinations and diversity levels to these larvae, and analyzed their feeding behavior using stable isotopes. We hypothesized that (1) their food choice is driven by preference for certain plant species rather than by root abundance and that (2) the preference for specific plants changes with increasing plant diversity. We found that larvae preferred the grass and legume but avoided maize and the forb. Whether a plant was preferred or avoided was independent of diversity, but the extent of avoidance or preference changed with increasing plant diversity. Our findings reveal that the dietary choice of soil-living generalist herbivores is determined by plant-specific traits rather than root abundance. Our data also suggest that soil herbivore feeding preferences are modulated by plant diversity.

  1. Cabbage Seasonal Leaf Quality Mediating the Diamondback Moth Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae) Performance.

    PubMed

    Teixeira, N C; Santos, N A; Maurício, R M; Guedes, R N C; Oliveira, M G A; Campos, W G

    2013-12-01

    Seasonal variation in plant quality may be intense enough to generate predictable patterns in insect herbivore populations. In order to explain seasonal oscillations in neotropical populations of the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (L.), we tested the following: (1) if nutritional quality of cabbage (Brassica oleraceae var. capitata), a primary host plant of diamondback moth, adversely affects the performance of this insect in late spring and early summer, when populations decline and go extinct, and (2) if nutritional features of cabbage change with the seasons. We measured the performance of diamondback moth reared on leaves of cabbages grown during the four seasons of the year. Summer plants proved to be worse for the survival of the immature stages and subsequent adult fecundity, but there were no significant differences between the remaining seasons. Our results support the hypothesis that short-lived plants, grown in different seasons of the year in the tropics, have different nutritional and defensive attributes. We analyzed nutritional quality of cabbage leaves from the four seasons, but only total lipids were reduced in summer plants. Neotropical populations of diamondback moth collapse before plant quality decay in the summer. If the diamondback moth is well adapted to the seasonal deterioration of the habitat, including the reduction in the quality of host plants, it is expected that emigration happens before the mortality increases and natality decreases during the summer.

  2. Biomechanical Properties of Hemlocks: A Novel Approach to Evaluating Physical Barriers of the Plant–Insect Interface and Resistance to a Phloem-Feeding Herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Ayayee, Paul; Yang, Fuqian; Rieske, Lynne K.

    2014-01-01

    Micromechanical properties that help mediate herbivore access may be particularly important when considering herbivorous insects that feed with piercing-sucking stylets. We used microindentation to quantify the micromechanical properties of hemlock, Tsuga spp., to quantify the hardness of the feeding site of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae. We measured hardness of the hemlock leaf cushion, the stylet insertion point of the adelgid, across four seasons in a 1 y period for four hemlock species growing in a common garden, including eastern, western, mountain, and northern Japanese hemlocks. Leaf cushion hardness was highest in the fall and winter and lowest in summer for all species. Northern Japanese hemlock had relatively greater hardness than the remaining species. Our data contributes an additional perspective to the existing framework within which greater susceptibility and subsequent mortality of eastern hemlocks is observed. The potential application of microindentation to understanding the nature and relevance of plant mechanical defenses in plant–herbivore interactions is also demonstrated and highlighted. PMID:26462689

  3. Taste discriminating capability to different bitter compounds by the larval styloconic sensilla in the insect herbivore Papilio hospiton (Géné).

    PubMed

    Sollai, Giorgia; Tomassini Barbarossa, Iole; Solari, Paolo; Crnjar, Roberto

    2015-03-01

    Herbivorous animals may benefit from the capability to discriminate the taste of bitter compounds since plants produce noxious compounds, some of which toxic, while others are only unpalatable. Our goal was to investigate the contribution of the peripheral taste system in the discrimination of different bitter compounds by an herbivorous insect using the larvae of Papilio hospiton Géné as the experimental model, showing a narrow choice range of host plants. The spike activity from the lateral and medial styloconic sensilla, housing two and one bitter-sensitive gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs), respectively, was recorded following stimulation with nicotine, caffeine, salicin and quercitrin and the time course of the discharges was analyzed. Nicotine and caffeine activated all three bitter-sensitive GRNs, while salicin and quercitrin affected only two of them. In feeding behavior bioassays, intact larvae ate glass-fiber disks moistened with salicin and quercitrin, but rejected those with nicotine and caffeine, while lateral sensillum-ablated insects also ate the disks with the two latter compounds. The capability to discriminate bitter taste stimuli and the neural codes involved are discussed.

  4. Terpene Down-Regulation in Orange Reveals the Role of Fruit Aromas in Mediating Interactions with Insect Herbivores and Pathogens1[C][W

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez, Ana; San Andrés, Victoria; Cervera, Magdalena; Redondo, Ana; Alquézar, Berta; Shimada, Takehiko; Gadea, José; Rodrigo, María Jesús; Zacarías, Lorenzo; Palou, Lluís; López, María M.; Castañera, Pedro; Peña, Leandro

    2011-01-01

    Plants use volatile terpene compounds as odor cues for communicating with the environment. Fleshy fruits are particularly rich in volatiles that deter herbivores and attract seed dispersal agents. We have investigated how terpenes in citrus fruit peels affect the interaction between the plant, insects, and microorganisms. Because limonene represents up to 97% of the total volatiles in orange (Citrus sinensis) fruit peel, we chose to down-regulate the expression of a limonene synthase gene in orange plants by introducing an antisense construct of this gene. Transgenic fruits showed reduced accumulation of limonene in the peel. When these fruits were challenged with either the fungus Penicillium digitatum or with the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, they showed marked resistance against these pathogens that were unable to infect the peel tissues. Moreover, males of the citrus pest medfly (Ceratitis capitata) were less attracted to low limonene-expressing fruits than to control fruits. These results indicate that limonene accumulation in the peel of citrus fruit appears to be involved in the successful trophic interaction between fruits, insects, and microorganisms. Terpene down-regulation might be a strategy to generate broad-spectrum resistance against pests and pathogens in fleshy fruits from economically important crops. In addition, terpene engineering may be important for studying the basic ecological interactions between fruits, herbivores, and pathogens. PMID:21525333

  5. Oviposition preference of cabbage white butterflies in the framework of costs and benefits of interspecific herbivore associations.

    PubMed

    Shiojiri, Kaori; Sabelis, Maurice; Takabayashi, Junji

    2015-12-01

    When deciding where to oviposit, herbivorous insects consider: (i) the plant's value as a food source, (ii) the risks of competing with con- and heterospecific herbivores, and (iii) the risks of parasitism and predation on the host plant. The presence of con- and/or heterospecific competitors would further affect the oviposition preference, because the preceding herbivores induce direct/indirect defences in plants against forthcoming herbivores, and thereby alter oviposition decisions. In previous studies, the abovementioned factors have not been studied in an integrative manner. We performed here a case study of this by assessing the oviposition preferences of a small white butterfly, Pieris rapae, for plants occupied by combinations of conspecific larvae, heterospecific larvae (Plutella xylostella), specialist parasitoids of Pi. rapae (Cotesia glomerata) and generalist predators (ants). We previously reported that the females showed equal preference for Pl. xylostella-infested and uninfested plants. Here, we showed that Pi. rapae females preferred uninfested plants to conspecific-infested ones, and Pl. xylostella-infested plants to Pi. rapae-infested ones. We discuss these oviposition preferences of Pi. rapae females in the framework of costs and benefits of interspecific herbivore associations from the above point of view.

  6. Oviposition preference of cabbage white butterflies in the framework of costs and benefits of interspecific herbivore associations

    PubMed Central

    Shiojiri, Kaori; Sabelis, Maurice; Takabayashi, Junji

    2015-01-01

    When deciding where to oviposit, herbivorous insects consider: (i) the plant’s value as a food source, (ii) the risks of competing with con- and heterospecific herbivores, and (iii) the risks of parasitism and predation on the host plant. The presence of con- and/or heterospecific competitors would further affect the oviposition preference, because the preceding herbivores induce direct/indirect defences in plants against forthcoming herbivores, and thereby alter oviposition decisions. In previous studies, the abovementioned factors have not been studied in an integrative manner. We performed here a case study of this by assessing the oviposition preferences of a small white butterfly, Pieris rapae, for plants occupied by combinations of conspecific larvae, heterospecific larvae (Plutella xylostella), specialist parasitoids of Pi. rapae (Cotesia glomerata) and generalist predators (ants). We previously reported that the females showed equal preference for Pl. xylostella-infested and uninfested plants. Here, we showed that Pi. rapae females preferred uninfested plants to conspecific-infested ones, and Pl. xylostella-infested plants to Pi. rapae-infested ones. We discuss these oviposition preferences of Pi. rapae females in the framework of costs and benefits of interspecific herbivore associations from the above point of view. PMID:27019738

  7. The effects of atmospheric CO/sub 2/ on insect herbivores and their hosts plants: Progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Lincoln, D.E.

    1989-04-01

    The overall goal of the research program is to determine how plant/herbivore interactions change with increasing atmospheric CO/sub 2/ concentration and how these changes affect community structure and functioning. Five specific objectives have been developed to approach these goals over the grant period. These objectives are to determine: (1) if specialist feeding herbivores respond to host plant CO/sub 2/ enrichment in the same manner as generalist feeders, (2) if the impact of defoliation is lessened under enriched CO/sub 2/conditions, (3) the biochemical basis for the altered nutritional value of leaves resulting from elevated CO/sub 2/, (4) the demographic and consumption responses of an herbivore to CO/sub 2/ regimes, and (5) whether plants with the C/sub 4/ photosynthetic pathway will also have altered relationships with herbivores. Significant progress has been made on three of these goals. Manuscripts are appended. A revised study plan to complete the remaining objectives is appended.

  8. Interactions between repeated fire, nutrients, and insect herbivores affect the recovery of diversity in the southern Amazon.

    PubMed

    Massad, Tara Joy; Balch, Jennifer K; Davidson, Eric A; Brando, Paulo M; Mews, Cândida Lahís; Porto, Pábio; Quintino, Raimundo Mota; Vieira, Simone A; Junior, Ben Hur Marimon; Trumbore, Susan E

    2013-05-01

    Surface fires burn extensive areas of tropical forests each year, altering resource availability, biotic interactions, and, ultimately, plant diversity. In transitional forest between the Brazilian cerrado (savanna) and high stature Amazon forest, we took advantage of a long-term fire experiment to establish a factorial study of the interactions between fire, nutrient availability, and herbivory on early plant regeneration. Overall, five annual burns reduced the number and diversity of regenerating stems. Community composition changed substantially after repeated fires, and species common in the cerrado became more abundant. The number of recruits and their diversity were reduced in the burned area, but burned plots closed to herbivores with nitrogen additions had a 14 % increase in recruitment. Diversity of recruits also increased up to 50 % in burned plots when nitrogen was added. Phosphorus additions were related to an increase in species evenness in burned plots open to herbivores. Herbivory reduced seedling survival overall and increased diversity in burned plots when nutrients were added. This last result supports our hypothesis that positive relationships between herbivore presence and diversity would be strongest in treatments that favor herbivory--in this case herbivory was higher in burned plots which were initially lower in diversity. Regenerating seedlings in less diverse plots were likely more apparent to herbivores, enabling increased herbivory and a stronger signal of negative density dependence. In contrast, herbivores generally decreased diversity in more species rich unburned plots. Although this study documents complex interactions between repeated burns, nutrients, and herbivory, it is clear that fire initiates a shift in the factors that are most important in determining the diversity and number of recruits. This change may have long-lasting effects as the forest progresses through succession.

  9. A plant pathogen reduces the enemy-free space of an insect herbivore on a shared host plant.

    PubMed

    Biere, Arjen; Elzinga, Jelmer A; Honders, Sonja C; Harvey, Jeffrey A

    2002-11-07

    An important mechanism in stabilizing tightly linked host-parasitoid and prey-predator interactions is the presence of refuges that protect organisms from their natural enemies. However, the presence and quality of refuges can be strongly affected by the environment. We show that infection of the host plant Silene latifolia by its specialist fungal plant pathogen Microbotryum violaceum dramatically alters the enemy-free space of a herbivore, the specialist noctuid seed predator Hadena bicruris, on their shared host plant. The pathogen arrests the development of seed capsules that serve as refuges for the herbivore's offspring against the specialist parasitoid Microplitis tristis, a major source of mortality of H. bicruris in the field. Pathogen infection resulted both in lower host-plant food quality, causing reduced adult emergence, and in twofold higher rates of parasitism of the herbivore. We interpret the strong oviposition preference of H. bicruris for uninfected plants in the field as an adaptive response, positioning offspring on refuge-rich, high-quality hosts. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that plant-inhabiting micro-organisms can affect higher trophic interactions through alteration of host refuge quality. We speculate that such interference can potentially destabilize tightly linked multitrophic interactions.

  10. A plant pathogen reduces the enemy-free space of an insect herbivore on a shared host plant.

    PubMed Central

    Biere, Arjen; Elzinga, Jelmer A; Honders, Sonja C; Harvey, Jeffrey A

    2002-01-01

    An important mechanism in stabilizing tightly linked host-parasitoid and prey-predator interactions is the presence of refuges that protect organisms from their natural enemies. However, the presence and quality of refuges can be strongly affected by the environment. We show that infection of the host plant Silene latifolia by its specialist fungal plant pathogen Microbotryum violaceum dramatically alters the enemy-free space of a herbivore, the specialist noctuid seed predator Hadena bicruris, on their shared host plant. The pathogen arrests the development of seed capsules that serve as refuges for the herbivore's offspring against the specialist parasitoid Microplitis tristis, a major source of mortality of H. bicruris in the field. Pathogen infection resulted both in lower host-plant food quality, causing reduced adult emergence, and in twofold higher rates of parasitism of the herbivore. We interpret the strong oviposition preference of H. bicruris for uninfected plants in the field as an adaptive response, positioning offspring on refuge-rich, high-quality hosts. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that plant-inhabiting micro-organisms can affect higher trophic interactions through alteration of host refuge quality. We speculate that such interference can potentially destabilize tightly linked multitrophic interactions. PMID:12427312

  11. An Amino Acid Substitution Inhibits Specialist Herbivore Production of an Antagonist Effector and Recovers Insect-Induced Plant Defenses1[W][OA

    PubMed Central

    Schmelz, Eric A.; Huffaker, Alisa; Carroll, Mark J.; Alborn, Hans T.; Ali, Jared G.; Teal, Peter E.A.

    2012-01-01

    Plants respond to insect herbivory through the production of biochemicals that function as either direct defenses or indirect defenses via the attraction of natural enemies. While attack by closely related insect pests can result in distinctive levels of induced plant defenses, precise biochemical mechanisms responsible for differing responses remain largely unknown. Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) responds to Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) herbivory through the detection of fragments of chloroplastic ATP synthase γ-subunit proteins, termed inceptin-related peptides, present in larval oral secretions (OS). In contrast to generalists like Fall armyworm, OS of the legume-specializing velvetbean caterpillar (VBC; Anticarsia gemmatalis) do not elicit ethylene production and demonstrate significantly lower induced volatile emission in direct herbivory comparisons. Unlike all other Lepidoptera OS examined, which preferentially contain inceptin (Vu-In; +ICDINGVCVDA−), VBC OS contain predominantly a C-terminal truncated peptide, Vu-In−A (+ICDINGVCVD−). Vu-In−A is both inactive and functions as a potent naturally occurring antagonist of Vu-In-induced responses. To block antagonist production, amino acid substitutions at the C terminus were screened for differences in VBC gut proteolysis. A valine-substituted peptide (Vu-InΔV; +ICDINGVCVDV−) retaining full elicitor activity was found to accumulate in VBC OS. Compared with the native polypeptide, VBC that previously ingested 500 pmol of the valine-modified chloroplastic ATP synthase γ-subunit precursor elicited significantly stronger plant responses in herbivory assays. We demonstrate that a specialist herbivore minimizes the activation of defenses by converting an elicitor into an antagonist effector and identify an amino acid substitution that recovers these induced plant defenses to a level observed with generalist herbivores. PMID:23008466

  12. Bottom-up and top-down herbivore regulation mediated by glucosinolates in Brassica oleracea var. acephala.

    PubMed

    Santolamazza-Carbone, Serena; Velasco, Pablo; Soengas, Pilar; Cartea, María Elena

    2014-03-01

    Quantitative differences in plant defence metabolites, such as glucosinolates, may directly affect herbivore preference and performance, and indirectly affect natural enemy pressure. By assessing insect abundance and leaf damage rate, we studied the responses of insect herbivores to six genotypes of Brassica oleracea var. acephala, selected from the same cultivar for having high or low foliar content of sinigrin, glucoiberin and glucobrassicin. We also investigated whether the natural parasitism rate was affected by glucosinolates. Finally, we assessed the relative importance of plant chemistry (bottom-up control) and natural enemy performance (top-down control) in shaping insect abundance, the ratio of generalist/specialist herbivores and levels of leaf damage. We found that high sinigrin content decreased the abundance of the generalist Mamestra brassicae (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) and the specialist Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae), but increased the load of the specialist Eurydema ornatum (Hemiptera, Pentatomidae). Plants with high sinigrin content suffered less leaf injury. The specialist Brevicoryne brassicae (Hemiptera, Aphididae) increased in plants with low glucobrassicin content, whereas the specialists Pieris rapae (Lepidoptera, Pieridae), Aleyrodes brassicae (Hemiptera, Aleyrodidae) and Phyllotreta cruciferae (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) were not affected by the plant genotype. Parasitism rates of M. brassicae larvae and E. ornatum eggs were affected by plant genotype. The ratio of generalist/specialist herbivores was positively correlated with parasitism rate. Although both top-down and bottom-up forces were seen to be contributing, the key factor in shaping both herbivore performance and parasitism rate was the glucosinolate concentration, which highlights the impact of bottom-up forces on the trophic cascades in crop habitats.

  13. How Predictable Are the Behavioral Responses of Insects to Herbivore Induced Changes in Plants? Responses of Two Congeneric Thrips to Induced Cotton Plants

    PubMed Central

    Silva, Rehan; Furlong, Michael J.; Wilson, Lewis J.; Walter, Gimme H.

    2013-01-01

    Changes in plants following insect attack are referred to as induced responses. These responses are widely viewed as a form of defence against further insect attack. In the current study we explore whether it is possible to make generalizations about induced plant responses given the unpredictability and variability observed in insect-plant interactions. Experiments were conducted to test for consistency in the responses of two congeneric thrips, Frankliniella schultzei Trybom and Frankliniella occidentalis Pergrande (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) to cotton seedlings (Gossypium hirsutum Linneaus (Malvales: Malvaceae)) damaged by various insect herbivores. In dual-choice experiments that compared intact and damaged cotton seedlings, F. schultzei was attracted to seedlings damaged by Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Tetranychus urticae (Koch) (Trombidiforms: Tetranychidae), Tenebrio molitor Linnaeus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), F. schultzei and F. occidentalis but not to mechanically damaged seedlings. In similar tests, F. occidentalis was attracted to undamaged cotton seedlings when simultaneously exposed to seedlings damaged by H. armigera, T. molitor or F. occidentalis. However, when exposed to F. schultzei or T. urticae damaged plants, F. occidentalis was more attracted towards damaged plants. A quantitative relationship was also apparent, F. schultzei showed increased attraction to damaged seedlings as the density of T. urticae or F. schultzei increased. In contrast, although F. occidentalis demonstrated increased attraction to plants damaged by higher densities of T. urticae, there was a negative relationship between attraction and the density of damaging conspecifics. Both species showed greater attraction to T. urticae damaged seedlings than to seedlings damaged by conspecifics. Results demonstrate that the responses of both species of thrips were context dependent, making generalizations difficult to formulate. PMID:23691075

  14. Geographic spread, genetics and functional characteristics of ryanodine receptor based target-site resistance to diamide insecticides in diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Steinbach, Denise; Gutbrod, Oliver; Lümmen, Peter; Matthiesen, Svend; Schorn, Corinna; Nauen, Ralf

    2015-08-01

    Anthranilic diamides and flubendiamide belong to a new chemical class of insecticides acting as conformation sensitive activators of the insect ryanodine receptor (RyR). These compounds control a diverse range of different herbivorous insects including diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), a notorious global pest on cruciferous crops, which recently developed resistance due to target-site mutations located in the trans-membrane domain of the Plutella RyR. In the present study we further investigated the genetics and functional implications of a RyR G4946E target-site mutation we recently identified in a Philippine diamondback moth strain (Sudlon). Strain Sudlon is homozygous for the G4946E mutation and has been maintained under laboratory conditions without selection pressure for almost four years, and still exhibit stable resistance ratios of >2000-fold to all commercial diamides. Its F1 progeny resulting from reciprocal crosses with a susceptible strain (BCS-S) revealed no maternal effects and a diamide susceptible phenotype, suggesting an autosomally almost recessive mode of inheritance. Subsequent back-crosses indicate a near monogenic nature of the diamide resistance in strain Sudlon. Radioligand binding studies with Plutella thoracic microsomal membrane preparations provided direct evidence for the dramatic functional implications of the RyR G4946E mutation on both diamide specific binding and its concentration dependent modulation of [(3)H]ryanodine binding. Computational modelling based on a cryo-EM structure of rabbit RyR1 suggests that Plutella G4946E is located in trans-membrane helix S4 close to S4-S5 linker domain supposed to be involved in the modulation of the voltage sensor, and another recently described mutation, I4790M in helix S2 approx. 13 Å opposite of G4946E. Genotyping by pyrosequencing revealed the presence of the RyR G4946E mutation in larvae collected in 2013/14 in regions of ten different countries where

  15. Metabolism, excretion and avoidance of cyanogenic glucosides in insects with different feeding specialisations.

    PubMed

    Pentzold, Stefan; Zagrobelny, Mika; Bjarnholt, Nanna; Kroymann, Juergen; Vogel, Heiko; Olsen, Carl Erik; Møller, Birger Lindberg; Bak, Søren

    2015-11-01

    Cyanogenic glucosides (CNglcs) are widespread plant defence compounds releasing toxic hydrogen cyanide when hydrolysed by specific β-glucosidases after plant tissue damage. In contrast to specialist herbivores that have mechanisms to avoid toxicity from CNglcs, it is generally assumed that non-adapted herbivores are negatively affected by CNglcs. Recent evidence, however, implies that the defence potential of CNglcs towards herbivores may not be as effective as previously anticipated. Here, performance, metabolism and excretion products of insects not adapted to CNglcs were analysed, including species with different degrees of dietary specialisation (generalists, specialists) and different feeding modes (leaf-snipping lepidopterans, piercing-sucking aphids). Insects were reared either on cyanogenic or acyanogenic plants or on an artificial cyanogenic diet. Lepidopteran generalists (Spodoptera littoralis, Spodoptera exigua, Mamestra brassicae) were compared to lepidopteran glucosinolate-specialists (Pieris rapae, Pieris brassicae, Plutella xylostella), and a generalist aphid (Myzus persicae) was compared to an aphid glucosinolate-specialist (Lipaphis erysimi). All insects were tolerant to cyanogenic plants; in lepidopterans tolerance was mainly due to excretion of intact CNglcs. The two Pieris species furthermore metabolized aromatic CNglcs to amino acid conjugates (Cys, Gly, Ser) and derivatives of these, which is similar to the metabolism of benzylglucosinolates in these species. Aphid species avoided uptake of CNglcs during feeding. Our results imply that non-adapted insects tolerate plant CNglcs either by keeping them intact for excretion, metabolizing them, or avoiding uptake.

  16. (The effects of atmospheric CO/sub 2/ on insect herbivores and their host plants): Progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Lincoln, D.E.

    1987-04-01

    Preliminary analysis of two populations of Artemisia tridentata compared leaf chemical and physiological characteristics which influence herbivores. The proportion of sixteen of the volatile compounds differed significantly between the two populations; however, total yield of volatiles did not. This initial survey established the reliability of the procedure to quantitatively monitor plant responses to CO/sub 2/ enrichment and suggests that test samples be restricted to a single population. Four sesquiterpene lactones have been selected for the experimental quantitative HPLC analysis; all peaks have been assigned identities and have demonstrated high degree of reproducibility. Growth of Artemisia under high and low light at three CO/sub 2/ levels demonstrated that this species also undergoes a ''dilution'' of the leaf carbon content and is useful as test species for herbivory response to CO/sub 2/ induced effects. The initial experiment also showed that high irradiance is a necessary growth condition. 10 refs.

  17. Non-Photochemical Quenching Capacity in Arabidopsis thaliana Affects Herbivore Behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Johansson Jänkänpää, Hanna; Frenkel, Martin; Zulfugarov, Ismayil; Reichelt, Michael; Krieger-Liszkay, Anja; Mishra, Yogesh; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Moen, Jon; Lee, Choon-Hwan; Jansson, Stefan

    2013-01-01

    Under natural conditions, plants have to cope with numerous stresses, including light-stress and herbivory. This raises intriguing questions regarding possible trade-offs between stress defences and growth. As part of a program designed to address these questions we have compared herbivory defences and damage in wild type Arabidopsis thaliana and two “photoprotection genotypes”, npq4 and oePsbS, which respectively lack and overexpress PsbS (a protein that plays a key role in qE-type non-photochemical quenching). In dual-choice feeding experiments both a specialist (Plutella xylostella) and a generalist (Spodoptera littoralis) insect herbivore preferred plants that expressed PsbS most strongly. In contrast, although both herbivores survived equally well on each of the genotypes, for oviposition female P. xylostella adults preferred plants that expressed PsbS least strongly. However, there were no significant differences between the genotypes in levels of the 10 most prominent glucosinolates; key substances in the Arabidopsis anti-herbivore chemical defence arsenal. After transfer from a growth chamber to the field we detected significant differences in the genotypes’ metabolomic profiles at all tested time points, using GC-MS, but no consistent “metabolic signature” for the lack of PsbS. These findings suggest that the observed differences in herbivore preferences were due to differences in the primary metabolism of the plants rather than their contents of typical “defence compounds”. A potentially significant factor is that superoxide accumulated most rapidly and to the highest levels under high light conditions in npq4 mutants. This could trigger changes in planta that are sensed by herbivores either directly or indirectly, following its dismutation to H2O2. PMID:23301046

  18. Performance of generalist and specialist herbivores and their endoparasitoids differs on cultivated and wild Brassica populations.

    PubMed

    Gols, Rieta; Bukovinszky, Tibor; van Dam, Nicole M; Dicke, Marcel; Bullock, James M; Harvey, Jeffrey A

    2008-02-01

    Through artificial selection, domesticated plants often contain modified levels of primary and secondary metabolites compared to their wild progenitors. It is hypothesized that the changed chemistry of cultivated plants will affect the performance of insects associated with these plants. In this paper, the development of several specialist and generalist herbivores and their endoparasitoids were compared when reared on a wild and cultivated population of cabbage, Brassica oleracea, and a recently established feral Brassica species. Irrespective of insect species or the degree of dietary specialization, herbivores and parasitoids developed most poorly on the wild population. For the specialists, plant population influenced only development time and adult body mass, whereas for the generalists, plant populations also affected egg-to-adult survival. Two parasitoid species, a generalist (Diadegma fenestrale) and a specialist (D. semiclausum), were reared from the same host (Plutella xylostella). Performance of D. semiclausum was closely linked to that of its host, whereas the correlation between survival of D. fenestrale and host performance was less clear. Plants in the Brassicaceae characteristically produce defense-related glucosinolates (GS). Levels of GS in leaves of undamaged plants were significantly higher in plants from the wild population than from the domesticated populations. Moreover, total GS concentrations increased significantly in wild plants after herbivory, but not in domesticated or feral plants. The results of this study reveal that a cabbage cultivar and plants from a wild cabbage population exhibit significant differences in quality in terms of their effects on the growth and development of insect herbivores and their natural enemies. Although cultivated plants have proved to be model systems in agroecology, we argue that some caution should be applied to evolutionary explanations derived from studies on domesticated plants, unless some knowledge

  19. The Arabidopsis thaliana Transcription Factor AtMYB102 Functions in Defense Against the Insect Herbivore Pieris rapae

    PubMed Central

    De Vos, Martin; Denekamp, Marten; Dicke, Marcel; Vuylsteke, Marnik; Van Loon, LC; Smeekens, Sjef CM

    2006-01-01

    In Arabidopsis thaliana the R2R3-MYB transcription factor family consists of over 100 members and is implicated in many biological processes, such as plant development, metabolism, senescence, and defense. The R2R3-MYB transcription factor gene AtMYB102 has been shown to respond to salt stress, ABA, JA, and wounding, suggesting that AtMYB102 plays a role in the response of plants to dehydration after wounding. Here, we studied the role of AtMYB102 in the response of A. thaliana to feeding by larvae of the white cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae. A. thaliana reporter lines expressing GUS under control of the AtMYB102 promoter revealed that AtMYB102 is expressed locally at the feeding sites of herbivore-damaged leaves, but not systemically in uninfested plant parts. Knockout AtMYB102 transposon-insertion mutant plants (myb102) allowed a faster development of P. rapae caterpillars than wild-type Col-0 plants. Moreover, the number of caterpillars that had developed into pupae within 14 days was significantly higher on myb102, indicating that in wild-type plants AtMYB102 contributes to basal resistance against P. rapae feeding. Microarray analysis of wild-type Col-0 and AtMYB102 overexpressing 35S::MYB102 plants revealed a large number of differentially expressed genes. Besides several defense-related genes, a relatively large number of genes is associated with cell wall modifications. PMID:19517001

  20. Impacts of local adaptation of forest trees on associations with herbivorous insects: implications for adaptive forest management

    PubMed Central

    Sinclair, Frazer H; Stone, Graham N; Nicholls, James A; Cavers, Stephen; Gibbs, Melanie; Butterill, Philip; Wagner, Stefanie; Ducousso, Alexis; Gerber, Sophie; Petit, Rémy J; Kremer, Antoine; Schönrogge, Karsten

    2015-01-01

    Disruption of species interactions is a key issue in climate change biology. Interactions involving forest trees may be particularly vulnerable due to evolutionary rate limitations imposed by long generation times. One mitigation strategy for such impacts is Climate matching – the augmentation of local native tree populations by input from nonlocal populations currently experiencing predicted future climates. This strategy is controversial because of potential cascading impacts on locally adapted animal communities. We explored these impacts using abundance data for local native gallwasp herbivores sampled from 20 provenances of sessile oak (Quercus petraea) planted in a common garden trial. We hypothesized that non-native provenances would show (i) declining growth performance with increasing distance between provenance origin and trial site, and (ii) phenological differences to local oaks that increased with latitudinal differences between origin and trial site. Under a local adaptation hypothesis, we predicted declining gallwasp abundance with increasing phenological mismatch between native and climate-matched trees. Both hypotheses for oaks were supported. Provenance explained significant variation in gallwasp abundance, but no gall type showed the relationship between abundance and phenological mismatch predicted by a local adaptation hypothesis. Our results show that climate matching would have complex and variable impacts on oak gall communities. PMID:26640522

  1. How will species respond to climate change? Examining the effects of temperature and population density on an herbivorous insect.

    PubMed

    Laws, Angela Nardoni; Belovsky, Gary E

    2010-04-01

    An important challenge facing ecologists is to understand how climate change may affect species performance and species interactions. However, predicting how changes in abiotic variables associated with climate change may affect species performance also depends on the biotic context, which can mediate species responses to climatic change. We conducted a 3-yr field experiment to determine how the herbivorous grasshopper Camnula pellucida (Scudder) responds to manipulations of temperature and population density. Grasshopper survival and fecundity decreased with density, indicating the importance of intraspecific competition. Female fecundity tended to increase with temperature, whereas grasshopper survival exhibited a unimodal response to temperature, with highest survival at intermediate temperatures. Grasshopper performance responses to temperature also depended on density. Peak survival in the low-density treatment occurred in warmer conditions than for the high-density treatment, indicating that the intensity of intraspecific competition varies with temperature. Our data show that changes to the temperature regimen can alter grasshopper performance and determine the intensity of intraspecific competition. However, the effects of temperature on grasshopper performance varied with density. Our data indicate the importance of the biotic context in mediating species responses to climatic factors associated with global change.

  2. Solar Ultraviolet-B Radiation Affects Seedling Emergence, DNA Integrity, Plant Morphology, Growth Rate, and Attractiveness to Herbivore Insects in Datura ferox.

    PubMed Central

    Ballare, C. L.; Scopel, A. L.; Stapleton, A. E.; Yanovsky, M. J.

    1996-01-01

    To study functional relationships between the effects of solar ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) on different aspects of the physiology of a wild plant, we carried out exclusion experiments in the field with the summer annual Datura ferox L. Solar UV-B incident over Buenos Aires reduced daytime seedling emergence, inhibited stem elongation and leaf expansion, and tended to reduce biomass accumulation during early growth. However, UV-B had no effect on calculated net assimilation rate. Using a monoclonal antibody specific to the cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimer (CPD), we found that plants receiving full sunlight had more CPDs per unit of DNA than plants shielded from solar UV-B, but the positive correlation between UV-B and CPD burden tended to level off at high (near solar) UV-B levels. At our field site, Datura plants were consumed by leaf beetles (Coleoptera), and the proportion of plants attacked by insects declined with the amount of UV-B received during growth. Field experiments showed that plant exposure to solar UV-B reduced the likelihood of leaf beetle attack by one-half. Our results highlight the complexities associated with scaling plant responses to solar UV-B, because they show: (a) a lack of correspondence between UV-B effects on net assimilation rate and whole-plant growth rate, (b) nonlinear UV-B dose-response curves, and (c) UV-B effects of plant attractiveness to natural herbivores. PMID:12226382

  3. Fluorescence reports intact quantum dot uptake into roots and translocation to leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana and subsequent ingestion by insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Koo, Yeonjong; Wang, Jing; Zhang, Qingbo; Zhu, Huiguang; Chehab, E Wassim; Colvin, Vicki L; Alvarez, Pedro J J; Braam, Janet

    2015-01-06

    We explored the impact of quantum dot (QD) coat characteristics on NP stability, uptake, and translocation in Arabidopsis thaliana, and subsequent transfer to primary consumers, Trichoplusia ni (T. ni). Arabidopsis was exposed to CdSe/CdZnS QDs with three different coatings: Poly(acrylic acid-ethylene glycol) (PAA-EG), polyethylenimine (PEI) and poly(maleic anhydride-alt-1-octadecene)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PMAO-PEG), which are anionic, cationic, and relatively neutral, respectively. PAA-EG-coated QDs were relatively stable and taken up from a hydroponic medium through both Arabidopsis leaf petioles and roots, without apparent aggregation, and showed generally uniform distribution in leaves. In contrast, PEI- and PMAO-PEG-coated QDs displayed destabilization in the hydroponic medium, and generated particulate fluorescence plant tissues, suggesting aggregation. PAA-EG QDs moved faster than PEI QDs through leaf petioles; however, 8-fold more cadmium accumulated in PEI QD-treated leaves than in those exposed to PAA-EG QDs, possibly due to PEI QD dissolution and direct metal uptake. T. ni caterpillars that fed on Arabidopsis exposed to QDs had reduced performance, and QD fluorescence was detected in both T. ni bodies and frass, demonstrating trophic transfer of intact QDs from plants to insects. Overall, this paper demonstrates that QD coat properties influence plant nanoparticle uptake and translocation and can impact transfer to herbivores.

  4. Solar ultraviolet-B radiation affects seedling emergence, DNA integrity, plant morphology, growth rate, and attractiveness to herbivore insects in Datura ferox

    SciTech Connect

    Ballare, C.L.; Scopel, A.L.; Stapleton, A.E.

    1996-09-01

    To study functional relationships between the effects of solar ultraviolet-B radiation (UV0B) on different aspects of the physiology of a wild plant, we carried out exclusion experiments in the field with the summer annual Datura ferrox L. Solar UV-B incident over Buenos Aires reduced daytime seedling emergence, inhibited stem elongation and leaf expansion, and tended to reduce biomass accumulation during early growth. However, UV-B had no effect on calculated net assimilation rate. Using a monoclonal antibody specific to the cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimer (CPD), we found that plants receiving full sunlight had more CPDs per unit of DNA than plants shielded from solar UV-B, but the positive correlation between UV-B and CPD burden tended to level off at high (near solar) UV-B levels. At our field site, Datura plants were consumed by leaf beetles (Coleoptera), and the proportion of plants attacked by insects declined with the amount of UV-B received during growth. Field experiments showed that plant exposure to solar UV-B reduced the likelihood of leaf beetle attack by one-half. Our results highlight the complexities associated with scaling plant responses to solar UV-B, because they show: (a) a lack of correspondence between UV-B effects on net assimilation rate and whole-plant growth rate, (b) nonlinear UV-B dose-response curves, and (c) UV-B effects of plant attractiveness to natural herbivores. 56 refs., 7 figs.

  5. Population Dynamics of an Insect Herbivore over 32 Years are Driven by Precipitation and Host-Plant Effects: Testing Model Predictions.

    PubMed

    Price, Peter W; Hunter, Mark D

    2015-06-01

    The interaction between the arroyo willow, Salix lasiolepis Bentham, and its specialist herbivore, the arroyo willow stem-galling sawfly, Euura lasiolepis Smith (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), was studied for 32 yr in Flagstaff, AZ, emphasizing a mechanistic understanding of insect population dynamics. Long-term weather records were evaluated to provide a climatic context for this study. Previously, predictive models of sawfly dynamics were developed from estimates of sawfly gall density made between 1981 and 2002; one model each for drier and wetter sites. Predictor variables in these models included winter precipitation and the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which impact the willow growth, with strong bottom-up effects on sawflies. We now evaluate original model predictions of sawfly population dynamics using new data (from 2003-2012). Additionally, willow resources were evaluated in 1986 and in 2012, using as criteria clone area, shoot density, and shoot length. The dry site model accounted for 40% of gall population density variation between 2003 and 2012 (69% over the 32 yr), providing strong support for the bottom-up, mechanistic hypothesis that water supply to willow hosts impacts sawfly populations. The current drying trend stressed willow clones: in drier sites, willow resources declined and gall density decreased by 98%. The wet site model accounted for 23% of variation in gall population density between 2003 and 2012 (48% over 30 yr), consistent with less water limitation. Nonetheless, gall populations were reduced by 72%.

  6. Engineering of benzylglucosinolate in tobacco provides proof-of-concept for dead-end trap crops genetically modified to attract Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth).

    PubMed

    Møldrup, Morten E; Geu-Flores, Fernando; de Vos, Martin; Olsen, Carl E; Sun, Joel; Jander, Georg; Halkier, Barbara A

    2012-05-01

    Glucosinolates are biologically active natural products characteristic of crucifers, including oilseed rape, cabbage vegetables and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Crucifer-specialist insect herbivores, like the economically important pest Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth), frequently use glucosinolates as oviposition stimuli. This suggests that the transfer of a glucosinolate biosynthetic pathway to a non-crucifer would stimulate oviposition on an otherwise non-attractive plant. Here, we demonstrate that stable genetic transfer of the six-step benzylglucosinolate pathway from A. thaliana to Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) results in the production of benzylglucosinolate without causing morphological alterations. Benzylglucosinolate-producing tobacco plants were more attractive for oviposition by female P. xylostella moths than wild-type tobacco plants. As newly hatched P. xylostella larvae were unable to survive on tobacco, these results represent a proof-of-concept strategy for rendering non-host plants attractive for oviposition by specialist herbivores with the long-term goal of generating efficient dead-end trap crops for agriculturally important pests.

  7. In field damage of high and low cyanogenic cassava due to a generalist insect herbivore Cyrtomenus bergi (Hemiptera: Cydnidae).

    PubMed

    Riis, Lisbeth; Bellotti, Anthony Charles; Castaño, Oscar

    2003-12-01

    The hypothesis that cyanogenic potential in cassava roots deters polyphagous insects in the field is relevant to current efforts to reduce or eliminate the cyanogenic potential in cassava. To test this hypothesis, experiments were conducted in the field under natural selection pressure of the polyphagous root feeder Cyrtomenus bergi Froeschner (Hemiptera: Cydnidae). A number of cassava varieties (33) as well as 13 cassava siblings and their parental clone, each representing a determined level of cyanogenic potential (CNP), were scored for damage caused by C. bergi and related to CNP and nonglycosidic cyanogens, measured as hydrogen cyanide. Additionally, 161 low-CNP varieties (< 50 ppm hydrogen cyanide, fresh weight) from the cassava germplasm core collection at Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) were screened for resistance/tolerance to C. bergi. Low root damage scores were registered at all levels of CNP. Nevertheless, CNP and yield (or root size) partly explained the damage in cassava siblings (r2 = 0.82) and different cassava varieties (r2 = 0.42), but only when mean values of damage scores were used. This relation was only significant in one of two crop cycles. A logistic model describes the underlying negative relation between CNP and damage. An exponential model describes the underlying negative relation between root size and damage. Damage, caused by C. bergi feeding, released nonglycosidic cyanogens, and an exponential model fits the underlying positive relation. Fifteen low-CNP clones were selected for potential resistance/tolerance against C. bergi.

  8. Demographic models reveal the shape of density dependence for a specialist insect herbivore on variable host plants.

    PubMed

    Miller, Tom E X

    2007-07-01

    1. It is widely accepted that density-dependent processes play an important role in most natural populations. However, persistent challenges in our understanding of density-dependent population dynamics include evaluating the shape of the relationship between density and demographic rates (linear, concave, convex), and identifying extrinsic factors that can mediate this relationship. 2. I studied the population dynamics of the cactus bug Narnia pallidicornis on host plants (Opuntia imbricata) that varied naturally in relative reproductive effort (RRE, the proportion of meristems allocated to reproduction), an important plant quality trait. I manipulated per-plant cactus bug densities, quantified subsequent dynamics, and fit stage-structured models to the experimental data to ask if and how density influences demographic parameters. 3. In the field experiment, I found that populations with variable starting densities quickly converged upon similar growth trajectories. In the model-fitting analyses, the data strongly supported a model that defined the juvenile cactus bug retention parameter (joint probability of surviving and not dispersing) as a nonlinear decreasing function of density. The estimated shape of this relationship shifted from concave to convex with increasing host-plant RRE. 4. The results demonstrate that host-plant traits are critical sources of variation in the strength and shape of density dependence in insects, and highlight the utility of integrated experimental-theoretical approaches for identifying processes underlying patterns of change in natural populations.

  9. Monoterpene and herbivore-induced emissions from cabbage plants grown at elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuorinen, Terhi; Reddy, G. V. P.; Nerg, Anne-Marja; Holopainen, Jarmo K.

    The warming of the lower atmosphere due to elevating CO 2 concentration may increase volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from plants. Also, direct effects of elevated CO 2 on plant secondary metabolism are expected to lead to increased VOC emissions due to allocation of excess carbon on secondary metabolites, of which many are volatile. We investigated how growing at doubled ambient CO 2 concentration affects emissions from cabbage plants ( Brassica oleracea subsp. capitata) damaged by either the leaf-chewing larvae of crucifer specialist diamondback moth ( Plutella xylostella L.) or generalist Egyptian cotton leafworm ( Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval)). The emission from cabbage cv. Lennox grown in both CO 2 concentrations, consisted mainly of monoterpenes (sabinene, limonene, α-thujene, 1,8-cineole, β-pinene, myrcene, α-pinene and γ-terpinene). ( Z)-3-Hexenyl acetate, sesquiterpene ( E, E)- α-farnesene and homoterpene ( E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT) were emitted mainly from herbivore-damaged plants. Plants grown at 720 μmol mol -1 of CO 2 had significantly lower total monoterpene emissions per shoot dry weight than plants grown at 360 μmol mol -1 of CO 2, while damage by both herbivores significantly increased the total monoterpene emissions compared to intact plants. ( Z)-3-Hexenyl acetate, ( E, E)- α-farnesene and DMNT emissions per shoot dry weight were not affected by the growth at elevated CO 2. The emission of DMNT was significantly enhanced from plants damaged by the specialist P. xylostella compared to the plants damaged by the generalist S. littoralis. The relative proportions of total monoterpenes and total herbivore-induced compounds of total VOCs did not change due to the growth at elevated CO 2, while insect damage increased significantly the proportion of induced compounds. The results suggest that VOC emissions that are induced by the leaf-chewing herbivores will not be influenced by elevated CO 2 concentration.

  10. Baculoviral p94 homologs encoded in Cotesia plutellae bracovirus suppress both immunity and development of the diamondback moth, Plutellae xylostella.

    PubMed

    Kim, Yonggyun; Hepat, Rahul

    2016-04-01

    Polydnaviruses (PDVs) are a group of insect DNA viruses, which exhibit a mutual symbiotic relationship with their specific host wasps. Moreover, most encapsidated genes identified so far in PDVs share homologies with insect-originated genes, but not with virus-originated genes. In the meantime, PDVs associated with 2 wasp genera Cotesia and Glytapanteles encode some genes presumably originated from other viruses. Cotesia plutellae bracovirus (CpBV) encodes 4 genes homologous to baculoviral p94: CpBV-E94k1, CpBV-E94k2, CpBV-E94k3, and CpBV-E94k4. This study was conducted to predict the origin of CpBV-E94ks by comparing their sequences with those of baculoviral orthologs and to determine the physiological functions by their transient expressions in nonparasitized larvae and subsequent specific RNA interference. Our phylogenetic analysis indicated that CpBV-E94ks were clustered with other E94ks originated from different PDVs and shared high similarity with betabaculoviral p94s. These 4 CpBV genes were expressed during most developmental stages of the larvae of Plutella xylostella parasitized by C. plutellae. Expression of these 4 E94ks was mainly detected in hemocytes and fat body. Subsequent functional analysis by in vivo transient expression showed that all 4 viral genes significantly inhibited both host immune and developmental processes. These results suggest that CpBV-E94ks share an origin with betabaculoviral p94s and play parasitic roles in suppressing host immune and developmental processes.

  11. [Thermal tolerance of diamondback moth Plutella xylostella].

    PubMed

    Chang, Xiang-Qian; Ma, Chun-Sen; Zhang, Shu; Lü, Liang

    2012-03-01

    Diamondback moth Plutella xylostella is a worldwide important pest on cruciferous vegetables. Critical thermal maximum (CTMax) is often used as an index for the thermal tolerance of insects. By the method of dynamic heating, this paper measured the CTMax of P. xylostella in a self-assembled device, and studied the effects of development stage, rearing temperature, generation, sex, and heat shock on the thermal tolerance of P. xylostella based on the CTMax values. Reared at 25 degrees C, the mean CTMax of the 4th larva (50.31 degrees C) was significantly higher than that of the 1st larva (43.03 degrees C), 2nd larva (46.39 degrees C), 3rd larva (49.67 degrees C), female adult (45.76 degrees C), and male adult (47.73 degrees C); reared at 20, 25, and 30 degrees C, the adults had no significant difference in their CTMax; reared at 30 degrees C for 1-, 3-, and 6 generations, the CTMax of the adults also had no significant difference. In all the treatments, the CTMax of the female and male adults had less difference. Heat shock with 40 degrees C for 45 minutes could make the CTMax of 5 day-old male moth increased from 45.51 degrees C to 46.49 degrees C.

  12. Temperature and Plant Genotype Alter Alkaloid Concentrations in Ryegrass Infected with an Epichloë Endophyte and This Affects an Insect Herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Hennessy, Louise M.; Popay, Alison J.; Finch, Sarah C.; Clearwater, Michael J.; Cave, Vanessa M.

    2016-01-01

    Asexual Epichloë endophytes colonize agricultural forage grasses in a relationship which is mutually beneficial and provides the host plant with protection against herbivorous insects. The endophyte strain AR37 (Epichloë festucae var. lolii) produces epoxy-janthitrem alkaloids and is the only endophyte known to provide ryegrass with resistance against porina larvae (Wiseana cervinata (Walker)), a major pasture pest in cooler areas of New Zealand. This study examined the effect of temperature on concentrations of epoxy-janthitrems in AR37-infected ryegrass and determined how the resulting variations in concentration affected consumption, growth and survival of porina larvae. Twenty replicate pairs of perennial (Lolium perenne L.) and Italian ryegrass (L. multiflorum Lam.) plants with and without endophyte were prepared by cloning, with one of each pair grown at either high (20°C) or low (7°C) temperature. After 10 weeks, herbage on each plant was harvested, divided into leaf and pseudostem, then freeze dried and ground. Leaf and pseudostem material was then incorporated separately into semi-synthetic diets which were fed to porina larvae in a bioassay over 3 weeks. Epoxy-janthitrem concentrations within the plant materials and the semi-synthetic diets were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography. AR37-infected ryegrass grown at high temperature contained high in planta concentrations of epoxy-janthitrem (30.6 μg/g in leaves and 83.9 μg/g in pseudostems) that had a strong anti-feedant effect on porina larvae when incorporated into their diets, reducing their survival by 25–42% on pseudostems. In comparison, in planta epoxy-janthitrem concentrations in AR37-infected ryegrass grown at low temperature were very low (0.67 μg/g in leaves and 7.4 μg/g in pseudostems) resulting in a small anti-feedant effect in perennial but not in Italian ryegrass. Although alkaloid concentrations were greatly reduced by low temperature this reduction did not occur

  13. Brevicoryne brassicae aphids interfere with transcriptome responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to feeding by Plutella xylostella caterpillars in a density-dependent manner.

    PubMed

    Kroes, Anneke; Broekgaarden, Colette; Castellanos Uribe, Marcos; May, Sean; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel

    2017-01-01

    Plants are commonly attacked by multiple herbivorous species. Yet, little is known about transcriptional patterns underlying plant responses to multiple insect attackers feeding simultaneously. Here, we assessed transcriptomic responses of Arabidopsis thaliana plants to simultaneous feeding by Plutella xylostella caterpillars and Brevicoryne brassicae aphids in comparison to plants infested by P. xylostella caterpillars alone, using microarray analysis. We particularly investigated how aphid feeding interferes with the transcriptomic response to P. xylostella caterpillars and whether this interference is dependent on aphid density and time since aphid attack. Various JA-responsive genes were up-regulated in response to feeding by P. xylostella caterpillars. The additional presence of aphids, both at low and high densities, clearly affected the transcriptional plant response to caterpillars. Interestingly, some important modulators of plant defense signalling, including WRKY transcription factor genes and ABA-dependent genes, were differentially induced in response to simultaneous aphid feeding at low or high density compared with responses to P. xylostella caterpillars feeding alone. Furthermore, aphids affected the P. xylostella-induced transcriptomic response in a density-dependent manner, which caused an acceleration in plant response against dual insect attack at high aphid density compared to dual insect attack at low aphid density. In conclusion, our study provides evidence that aphids influence the caterpillar-induced transcriptional response of A. thaliana in a density-dependent manner. It highlights the importance of addressing insect density to understand how plant responses to single attackers interfere with responses to other attackers and thus underlines the importance of the dynamics of transcriptional plant responses to multiple herbivory.

  14. Biotransfer, bioaccumulation and effects of herbivore dietary Co, Cu, Ni, and Zn on growth and development of the insect predator Podisus maculiventris (Say).

    PubMed

    Cheruiyot, Dorothy J; Boyd, Robert S; Coudron, Thomas A; Cobine, Paul A

    2013-06-01

    Increased metal availability in the environment can be detrimental for the growth and development of all organisms in a food web. In part, this toxicity is due to biotransfer or bioaccumulation of metals between trophic levels. We evaluated the survival, growth, and development of a generalist Hemipteran predator (Podisus maculiventris) when fed herbivorous prey (Spodoptera exigua) reared on artificial diet amended with Cu, Zn, Ni, and Co. Predator nymphs were fed S. exigua larvae raised on diet amended with sublethal (Minimum Sublethal Concentration or MSC) or lethal (Minimum Lethal Concentration or MLC) concentrations of each metal, as well as control diet. We determined if metals were biotransferred or bioaccumulated from the diet to herbivore and predator, as well as if predator growth or survival was affected by herbivore diet. Podisus maculiventris fed herbivores raised on MLC levels of both Cu and Zn took significantly longer to mature to adults, whereas their overall survival was not affected by prey diet metal concentration for any metal. Adult weights were significantly reduced for predators raised on herbivores reared on diets amended with the MLC of Cu and Zn. Copper and Zn were bioaccumulated from diet to herbivore and from herbivore to predator, whereas Ni was biotransferred (although concentrations decreased as trophic level increased). The pattern for Co was more complex, with biotransfer the main outcome. Our results show that availability of metals in a food web can affect growth and development of a hemipteran predator, and that metals are transferred between trophic levels, with metal-specific biotransfer and bioaccumulation outcomes.

  15. Transcriptome Analysis of Barbarea vulgaris Infested with Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella) Larvae

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Di; Wang, Haiping; Wu, Qingjun; Lu, Peng; Qiu, Yang; Song, Jiangping; Zhang, Youjun; Li, Xixiang

    2013-01-01

    Background The diamondback moth (DBM, Plutella xylostella) is a crucifer-specific pest that causes significant crop losses worldwide. Barbarea vulgaris (Brassicaceae) can resist DBM and other herbivorous insects by producing feeding-deterrent triterpenoid saponins. Plant breeders have long aimed to transfer this insect resistance to other crops. However, a lack of knowledge on the biosynthetic pathways and regulatory networks of these insecticidal saponins has hindered their practical application. A pyrosequencing-based transcriptome analysis of B. vulgaris during DBM larval feeding was performed to identify genes and gene networks responsible for saponin biosynthesis and its regulation at the genome level. Principal Findings Approximately 1.22, 1.19, 1.16, 1.23, 1.16, 1.20, and 2.39 giga base pairs of clean nucleotides were generated from B. vulgaris transcriptomes sampled 1, 4, 8, 12, 24, and 48 h after onset of P. xylostella feeding and from non-inoculated controls, respectively. De novo assembly using all data of the seven transcriptomes generated 39,531 unigenes. A total of 37,780 (95.57%) unigenes were annotated, 14,399 of which were assigned to one or more gene ontology terms and 19,620 of which were assigned to 126 known pathways. Expression profiles revealed 2,016–4,685 up-regulated and 557–5188 down-regulated transcripts. Secondary metabolic pathways, such as those of terpenoids, glucosinolates, and phenylpropanoids, and its related regulators were elevated. Candidate genes for the triterpene saponin pathway were found in the transcriptome. Orthological analysis of the transcriptome with four other crucifer transcriptomes identified 592 B. vulgaris-specific gene families with a P-value cutoff of 1e−5. Conclusion This study presents the first comprehensive transcriptome analysis of B. vulgaris subjected to a series of DBM feedings. The biosynthetic and regulatory pathways of triterpenoid saponins and other DBM deterrent metabolites in this plant were

  16. Feeding preference for and impact on an invasive weed (Crepis tectorum L.) by a native, generalist insect herbivore, Melanoplus borealis (Orthoptera: Acrididae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Crepis tectorum L., narrow leaf hawksbeard, was first collected in Alaska in 1974 and by 2004 was a common weed in agricultural fields. Introduction and establishment of a new plant species in a region represents a potential new resource for herbivores, as well as a new competitor for plant species ...

  17. Herbivory by a Phloem-feeding insect inhibits floral volatile production.

    PubMed

    Pareja, Martin; Qvarfordt, Erika; Webster, Ben; Mayon, Patrick; Pickett, John; Birkett, Michael; Glinwood, Robert

    2012-01-01

    There is extensive knowledge on the effects of insect herbivory on volatile emission from vegetative tissue, but little is known about its impact on floral volatiles. We show that herbivory by phloem-feeding aphids inhibits floral volatile emission in white mustard Sinapis alba measured by gas chromatographic analysis of headspace volatiles. The effect of the Brassica specialist aphid Lipaphis erysimi was stronger than the generalist aphid Myzus persicae and feeding by chewing larvae of the moth Plutella xylostella caused no reduction in floral volatile emission. Field observations showed no effect of L. erysimi-mediated floral volatile emission on the total number of flower visits by pollinators. Olfactory bioassays suggested that although two aphid natural enemies could detect aphid inhibition of floral volatiles, their olfactory orientation to infested plants was not disrupted. This is the first demonstration that phloem-feeding herbivory can affect floral volatile emission, and that the outcome of interaction between herbivory and floral chemistry may differ depending on the herbivore's feeding mode and degree of specialisation. The findings provide new insights into interactions between insect herbivores and plant chemistry.

  18. Site-Specific Cassette Exchange Systems in the Aedes aegypti Mosquito and the Plutella xylostella Moth

    PubMed Central

    Haghighat-Khah, Roya Elaine; Scaife, Sarah; Martins, Sara; St John, Oliver; Matzen, Kelly Jean; Morrison, Neil; Alphey, Luke

    2015-01-01

    Genetically engineered insects are being evaluated as potential tools to decrease the economic and public health burden of mosquitoes and agricultural pest insects. Here we describe a new tool for the reliable and targeted genome manipulation of pest insects for research and field release using recombinase mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) mechanisms. We successfully demonstrated the established ΦC31-RMCE method in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which is the first report of RMCE in mosquitoes. A new variant of this RMCE system, called iRMCE, combines the ΦC31-att integration system and Cre or FLP-mediated excision to remove extraneous sequences introduced as part of the site-specific integration process. Complete iRMCE was achieved in two important insect pests, Aedes aegypti and the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, demonstrating the transferability of the system across a wide phylogenetic range of insect pests. PMID:25830287

  19. Roles for jasmonate- and ethylene-induced transcription factors in the ability of Arabidopsis to respond differentially to damage caused by two insect herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Rehrig, Erin M.; Appel, Heidi M.; Jones, A. Daniel; Schultz, Jack C.

    2014-01-01

    Plant responses to insects and wounding involve substantial transcriptional reprogramming that integrates hormonal, metabolic, and physiological events. The ability to respond differentially to various stresses, including wounding, generally involves hormone signaling and trans-acting regulatory factors. Evidence of the importance of transcription factors (TFs) in responses to insects is also accumulating. However, the relationships among hormone signaling, TF activity, and ability to respond specifically to different insects are uncertain. We examined transcriptional and hormonal changes in Arabidopsis thaliana after herbivory by larvae of two lepidopteran species, Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) and Pieris rapae L. over a 24-h time course. Transcriptional responses to the two insects differed and were frequently weaker or absent in response to the specialist P. rapae. Using microarray analysis and qRT-PCR, we found 141 TFs, including many AP2/ERFs (Ethylene Response Factors) and selected defense-related genes, to be differentially regulated in response to the two insect species or wounding. Jasmonic Acid (JA), JA-isoleucine (JA-IL), and ethylene production by Arabidopsis plants increased after attack by both insect species. However, the amounts and timing of ethylene production differed between the two herbivory treatments. Our results support the hypothesis that the different responses to these two insects involve modifications of JA-signaling events and activation of different subsets of ERF TFs, resulting in different degrees of divergence from responses to wounding alone. PMID:25191332

  20. Insect phylogenomics.

    PubMed

    Behura, S K

    2015-08-01

    Phylogenomics, the integration of phylogenetics with genome data, has emerged as a powerful approach to study the evolution and systematics of species. Recently, several studies employing phylogenomic tools have provided better insights into insect evolution. Next-generation sequencing methods are now increasingly used by entomologists to generate genomic and transcript sequences of various insect species and strains. These data provide opportunities for comparative genomics and large-scale multigene phylogenies of diverse lineages of insects. Phy-logenomic investigations help us to better understand systematic and evolutionary relationships of insect species that play important roles as herbivores, predators, detritivores, pollinators and disease vectors. It is important that we critically assess the prospects and limitations of phylogenomic methods. In this review, I describe the current status, outline the major challenges and remark on potential future applications of phylogenomic tools in studying insect systematics and evolution.

  1. Insect herbivory and vertebrate grazing impact food limitation and grasshopper populations during a severe outbreak

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Interspecific competition between distantly related herbivores, as well as between large vertebrate herbivores and phytophagous insects, has received little attention. Livestock grazing is the dominant land use in western North American grasslands, where phytophagous insects can be the dominant herb...

  2. Reciprocal feeding facilitation between above- and below-ground herbivores.

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Scott W; Vanbergen, Adam J; Hails, Rosemary S; Jones, T Hefin; Johnson, Scott N

    2013-10-23

    Interspecific interactions between insect herbivores predominantly involve asymmetric competition. By contrast, facilitation, whereby herbivory by one insect benefits another via induced plant susceptibility, is uncommon. Positive reciprocal interactions between insect herbivores are even rarer. Here, we reveal a novel case of reciprocal feeding facilitation between above-ground aphids (Amphorophora idaei) and root-feeding vine weevil larvae (Otiorhynchus sulcatus), attacking red raspberry (Rubus idaeus). Using two raspberry cultivars with varying resistance to these herbivores, we further demonstrate that feeding facilitation occurred regardless of host plant resistance. This positive reciprocal interaction operates via an, as yet, unreported mechanism. Specifically, the aphid induces compensatory growth, possibly as a prelude to greater resistance/tolerance, whereas the root herbivore causes the plant to abandon this strategy. Both herbivores may ultimately benefit from this facilitative interaction.

  3. The Tomato odorless-2 Mutant Is Defective in Trichome-Based Production of Diverse Specialized Metabolites and Broad-Spectrum Resistance to Insect Herbivores1[W][OA

    PubMed Central

    Kang, Jin-Ho; Liu, Guanghui; Shi, Feng; Jones, A. Daniel; Beaudry, Randolph M.; Howe, Gregg A.

    2010-01-01

    Glandular secreting trichomes of cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) produce a wide array of volatile and nonvolatile specialized metabolites. Many of these compounds contribute to the characteristic aroma of tomato foliage and constitute a key part of the language by which plants communicate with other organisms in natural environments. Here, we describe a novel recessive mutation called odorless-2 (od-2) that was identified on the basis of an altered leaf-aroma phenotype. od-2 plants exhibit pleiotrophic phenotypes, including alterations in the morphology, density, and chemical composition of glandular trichomes. Type VI glandular trichomes isolated from od-2 leaves accumulate only trace levels of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and flavonoids. Other foliar defensive compounds, including acyl sugars, glycoalkaloids, and jasmonate-regulated proteinase inhibitors, are produced in od-2 leaves. Growth of od-2 plants under natural field conditions showed that the mutant is highly susceptible to attack by an indigenous flea beetle, Epitrix cucumeris, and the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. The increased susceptibility of od-2 plants to Colorado potato beetle larvae and to the solanaceous specialist Manduca sexta was verified in no-choice bioassays. These findings indicate that Od-2 is essential for the synthesis of diverse trichome-borne compounds and further suggest that these compounds influence host plant selection and herbivore community composition under natural conditions. PMID:20668059

  4. The tomato odorless-2 mutant is defective in trichome-based production of diverse specialized metabolites and broad-spectrum resistance to insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Kang, Jin-Ho; Liu, Guanghui; Shi, Feng; Jones, A Daniel; Beaudry, Randolph M; Howe, Gregg A

    2010-09-01

    Glandular secreting trichomes of cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) produce a wide array of volatile and nonvolatile specialized metabolites. Many of these compounds contribute to the characteristic aroma of tomato foliage and constitute a key part of the language by which plants communicate with other organisms in natural environments. Here, we describe a novel recessive mutation called odorless-2 (od-2) that was identified on the basis of an altered leaf-aroma phenotype. od-2 plants exhibit pleiotrophic phenotypes, including alterations in the morphology, density, and chemical composition of glandular trichomes. Type VI glandular trichomes isolated from od-2 leaves accumulate only trace levels of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and flavonoids. Other foliar defensive compounds, including acyl sugars, glycoalkaloids, and jasmonate-regulated proteinase inhibitors, are produced in od-2 leaves. Growth of od-2 plants under natural field conditions showed that the mutant is highly susceptible to attack by an indigenous flea beetle, Epitrix cucumeris, and the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. The increased susceptibility of od-2 plants to Colorado potato beetle larvae and to the solanaceous specialist Manduca sexta was verified in no-choice bioassays. These findings indicate that Od-2 is essential for the synthesis of diverse trichome-borne compounds and further suggest that these compounds influence host plant selection and herbivore community composition under natural conditions.

  5. A Coevolutionary Arms Race: Understanding Plant-Herbivore Interactions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Becklin, Katie M.

    2008-01-01

    Plants and insects share a long evolutionary history characterized by relationships that affect individual, population, and community dynamics. Plant-herbivore interactions are a prominent feature of this evolutionary history; it is by plant-herbivore interactions that energy is transferred from primary producers to the rest of the food web. Not…

  6. Endophyte-mediated resistance to herbivores depends on herbivore identity in the wild grass Festuca subverticillata.

    PubMed

    Afkhami, Michelle E; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2009-08-01

    Understanding factors that affect the context dependency of species interactions has been identified as a critical research area in ecology. The presence of symbionts in host plants can be an important factor influencing the outcome of plant-insect interactions. Similarly, herbivore identity can alter the outcome of plant-symbiont interactions. Symbiotic foliar fungal endophytes confer resistance to herbivores in economically important agronomic grasses, in part through the production of alkaloids. Although endophytes are common in nature, relatively little is known about their effects on herbivores of native, wild grass species, and a recent meta-analysis suggested that endophytes are only beneficial in agronomic settings. In this study, we performed choice trials for five insect species and a greenhouse experiment with one species to assess effects of the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium sp. on herbivores of the wild grass Festuca subverticillata. In feeding trials, endophyte presence altered the preference of all five insect species tested. However, the magnitude and direction of preference varied among species, with Pterophylla camellifolia (F.), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), and Rhopalosiphum padi L. preferring endophyte-disinfected plants and Encoptolophus costalis (Scudder) and Romalea guttata (Houttuyn) preferring endophyte-symbiotic plants. Despite reducing insect preference, the endophyte had no significant effect on S. frugiperda performance in a no-choice greenhouse experiment and did not increase plant growth in response to this herbivore. Our results show that endophyte-mediated resistance to herbivory depends strongly on herbivore identity and suggest that the fitness consequences of endophyte symbiosis for host plants will be context dependent on the local composition of insect herbivores.

  7. Transcriptional and metabolic signatures of Arabidopsis responses to chewing damage by an insect herbivore and bacterial infection and the consequences of their interaction

    PubMed Central

    Appel, Heidi M.; Maqbool, Shahina B.; Raina, Surabhi; Jagadeeswaran, Guru; Acharya, Biswa R.; Hanley, John C.; Miller, Kathryn P.; Hearnes, Leonard; Jones, A. Daniel; Raina, Ramesh; Schultz, Jack C.

    2014-01-01

    Plants use multiple interacting signaling systems to identify and respond to biotic stresses. Although it is often assumed that there is specificity in signaling responses to specific pests, this is rarely examined outside of the gene-for-gene relationships of plant-pathogen interactions. In this study, we first compared early events in gene expression and later events in metabolite profiles of Arabidopsis thaliana following attack by either the caterpillar Spodoptera exigua or avirulent (DC3000 avrRpm1) Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato at three time points. Transcriptional responses of the plant to caterpillar feeding were rapid, occurring within 1 h of feeding, and then decreased at 6 and 24 h. In contrast, plant response to the pathogen was undetectable at 1 h but grew larger and more significant at 6 and 24 h. There was a surprisingly large amount of overlap in jasmonate and salicylate signaling in responses to the insect and pathogen, including levels of gene expression and individual hormones. The caterpillar and pathogen treatments induced different patterns of expression of glucosinolate biosynthesis genes and levels of glucosinolates. This suggests that when specific responses develop, their regulation is complex and best understood by characterizing expression of many genes and metabolites. We then examined the effect of feeding by the caterpillar Spodoptera exigua on Arabidopsis susceptibility to virulent (DC3000) and avirulent (DC3000 avrRpm1) P. syringae pv. tomato, and found that caterpillar feeding enhanced Arabidopsis resistance to the avirulent pathogen and lowered resistance to the virulent strain. We conclude that efforts to improve plant resistance to bacterial pathogens are likely to influence resistance to insects and vice versa. Studies explicitly comparing plant responses to multiple stresses, including the role of elicitors at early time points, are critical to understanding how plants organize responses in natural settings. PMID:25278943

  8. Metabolic differentiation of diamondback moth ( Plutella xylostella (L.)) resistance in cabbage ( Brassica oleracea L. ssp. capitata).

    PubMed

    Kim, Jae Kwang; Choi, Su Ryun; Lee, Jeongyeo; Park, Soo-Yun; Song, Seung Yeub; Na, Jonghyun; Kim, Suk Weon; Kim, Sun-Ju; Nou, Ill-Sup; Lee, Yong Han; Park, Sang Un; Kim, Hyeran

    2013-11-20

    The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), is a major pest responsible for destroying cabbage and other Brassica vegetable crops. A diamondback moth-resistant cabbage line was studied by comparing its metabolite profiles with those of a susceptible cabbage. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis revealed that carbohydrates, aromatic compounds, and amides were the major factors that distinguished the resistant and susceptible genotypes. Gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry profiled 46 metabolites, including 19 amino acids, 15 organic acids, 8 sugars, 3 sugar alcohols, and 1 amine in two genotypes and F1 hybrid cabbages. The levels of glycolic acid, quinic acid, inositol, fumaric acid, glyceric acid, trehalose, shikimic acid, and aspartic acid were found to be very significantly different between the resistant and susceptible genotypes with a P value of <0.0001. These results will provide a foundation for further studies on diamondback moth resistance in cabbage breeding and for the development of other herbivore-resistant crops.

  9. Electroantennogram and behavioral responses of Cotesia plutellae to plant volatiles.

    PubMed

    Yang, Guang; Zhang, You-Nan; Gurr, Geoff M; Vasseur, Liette; You, Min-Sheng

    2016-04-01

    Plant volatiles have been demonstrated to play an important role in regulating the behavior of Cotesia plutellae, a major larval parasitoid of the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, but little is currently known about the function of each volatile and their mixtures. We selected 13 volatiles of the DBM host plant, a cruciferous vegetable, to study the electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral responses of C. plutellae. EAG responses to each of the compounds generally increased with concentration. Strong EAG responses were to 100 μL/mL of trans-2-hexenal, benzaldehyde, nonanal and cis-3-hexenol, and 10 μL/mL of trans-2-hexenal and benzaldehyde with the strongest response provoked by trans-2-hexenal at 100 μL/mL. In the Y-tube olfactometer, C. plutellae, was significantly attracted by 1 μL/mL of trans-2-hexenal and benzaldehyde. β-caryophyllene, cis-3-hexenol or trans-2-hexenal significantly attracted C. plutellae at 10 μL/mL, while nonanal, benzyl alcohol, cis-3-hexenol or benzyl cyanide at 100 μL/mL significantly attracted C. plutellae. Trans-2-hexenal significantly repelled C. plutellae at 100 μL/mL. EAG of C. plutellae showed strong responses to all mixtures made of five various compounds with mixtures 3 (trans-2-hexenal, benzaldehyde, nonanal, cis-3-hexenol, benzyl cyanide, farnesene, eucalyptol) and 4 (trans-2-hexenal, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, (R)-(+)-limonene, β-ionone, farnesene, eucalyptol) significantly attracting C. plutellae. These findings demonstrate that the behavior of C. plutellae can be affected either by individual compounds or mixtures of plant volatiles, suggesting a potential of using plant volatiles to improve the efficiency of this parasitoid for biocontrol of P. xylostella.

  10. Response of Plutella xylostella and its parasitoid Cotesia plutellae to volatile compounds.

    PubMed

    Ibrahim, Mohamed A; Nissinen, Anne; Holopainen, Jarmo K

    2005-09-01

    The effects of limonene, a mixture of limonene + carvone (1:1, v/v), and methyl jasmonate (MeJA) on diamondback moth (DBM) (Plutella xylostella L.) oviposition, larval feeding, and the behavior of its larval parasitoid Cotesia plutellae (Kurdjumov) with cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. ssp. capitata, cvs. Rinda and Lennox) and broccoli (B. oleracea subsp. Italica cv Lucky) were tested. Limonene showed no deterrent effect on DBM when plants were sprayed with or exposed to limonene, although there was a cultivar difference. A mixture of limonene and carvone released from vermiculite showed a significant repellent effect, reducing the number of eggs laid on the cabbages. MeJA treatment reduced the relative growth rate (RGR) of larvae on cv Lennox leaves. In Y-tube olfactometer tests, C. plutellae preferred the odors of limonene and MeJA to filtered air. In cv Lennox, the parasitoid preferred DBM-damaged plants with limonene to such plants without limonene. C. plutellae females were repelled by the mixture of limonene + carvone. In both cultivars, exogenous MeJA induced the emission of the sesquiterpene (E,E)-alpha-farnesene, the homoterpene (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT), and green leaf volatile (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate + octanal. The attractive effect of limonene and MeJA predicts that these two compounds can be used in sustainable plant protection strategies in organic farming.

  11. Sublethal Effects of Fenoxycarb on the Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)

    PubMed Central

    Mahmoudvand, Mohammad; Moharramipour, Saeid

    2015-01-01

    The effects of fenoxycarb, a Juvenile hormone analogue, at sublethal concentrations were tested on some biological parameters of Plutella xylostella (L.) in two consecutive generations. The calculated LC10, LC25, and LC50 values of the insecticide were 21.58, 43.25, and 93.62 mg/liter on third-instar larvae, respectively. Fenoxycarb significantly reduced pupal weight and oviposition period in parent generation. In addition, the fecundity of treated groups (LC10 = 71.06, LC25 = 40.60 eggs per female) in parents was significantly lower than control (169.40 eggs per female). Although fenoxycarb could not affect gross reproductive rate and death rate, it decreased net reproductive rate, intrinsic rate of increase, finite rate of increase, and birth rate in offspring generation. Also, mean generation time and doubling time of treated insects was significantly longer than control at LC10 level. Therefore, the data from this study suggested that fenoxycarb could adversely cause population decline in the subsequent generation. PMID:26136495

  12. Herbivore regulation of plant abundance in aquatic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Wood, Kevin A; O'Hare, Matthew T; McDonald, Claire; Searle, Kate R; Daunt, Francis; Stillman, Richard A

    2017-05-01

    Herbivory is a fundamental process that controls primary producer abundance and regulates energy and nutrient flows to higher trophic levels. Despite the recent proliferation of small-scale studies on herbivore effects on aquatic plants, there remains limited understanding of the factors that control consumer regulation of vascular plants in aquatic ecosystems. Our current knowledge of the regulation of primary producers has hindered efforts to understand the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems, and to manage such ecosystems effectively. We conducted a global meta-analysis of the outcomes of plant-herbivore interactions using a data set comprised of 326 values from 163 studies, in order to test two mechanistic hypotheses: first, that greater negative changes in plant abundance would be associated with higher herbivore biomass densities; second, that the magnitude of changes in plant abundance would vary with herbivore taxonomic identity. We found evidence that plant abundance declined with increased herbivore density, with plants eliminated at high densities. Significant between-taxa differences in impact were detected, with insects associated with smaller reductions in plant abundance than all other taxa. Similarly, birds caused smaller reductions in plant abundance than echinoderms, fish, or molluscs. Furthermore, larger reductions in plant abundance were detected for fish relative to crustaceans. We found a positive relationship between herbivore species richness and change in plant abundance, with the strongest reductions in plant abundance reported for low herbivore species richness, suggesting that greater herbivore diversity may protect against large reductions in plant abundance. Finally, we found that herbivore-plant nativeness was a key factor affecting the magnitude of herbivore impacts on plant abundance across a wide range of species assemblages. Assemblages comprised of invasive herbivores and native plant assemblages were associated with

  13. Effects of plant availability on population size and dynamics of an insect community: diamondback moth and two of its parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Soufbaf, M; Fathipour, Y; Karimzadeh, J; Zalucki, M P

    2014-08-01

    To understand the effect of plant availability/structure on the population size and dynamics of insects, a specialist herbivore in the presence of two of its parasitoids was studied in four replicated time-series experiments with high and low plant availabilities; under the latter condition, the herbivore suffered from some periods of resource limitation (starvation) and little plant-related structural refuges. Population dynamics of the parasitoid Cotesia vestalis was governed mainly by the delayed density-dependent process under both plant setups. The parasitoid, Diadegma semiclausum, under different plant availabilities and different coexistence situations (either +competitor or -competitor) showed dynamics patterns that were governed mainly by the delayed density process (significant lags at weeks 2-4). Both the competing parasitoids did not experience beneficial or costly interferences from each other in terms of their own population size when the plant resource was limited. Variation in the Plutella xylostella population under limited plant availability is higher than that under the other plant setup. For both parasitoids, under limited plant setup, the extinction risk was lower when parasitoids were engaged in competition, while under the unlimited plant setup, the mentioned risk was higher when parasitoids competed. In this situation, parasitoids suffered from two forces, competition and higher escaped hosts.

  14. Effects of sap-feeding insect herbivores on growth and reproduction of woody plants: a meta-analysis of experimental studies.

    PubMed

    Zvereva, Elena L; Lanta, Vojtech; Kozlov, Mikhail V

    2010-08-01

    The majority of generalisations concerning plant responses to herbivory are based on studies of natural or simulated defoliation. However, effects caused by insects feeding on plant sap are likely to differ from the effects of folivory. We assessed the general patterns and sources of variation in the effects of sap feeding on growth, photosynthesis, and reproduction of woody plants through a meta-analysis of 272 effect sizes calculated from 52 papers. Sap-feeders significantly reduced growth (-29%), reproduction (-17%), and photosynthesis (-27%); seedlings suffered more than saplings and mature trees. Deciduous and evergreen woody plants did not differ in their abilities to tolerate damage imposed by sap-feeders. Different plant parts, in particular below- and above-ground organs, responded similarly to damage, indicating that sap-feeders did not change the resource allocation in plants. The strongest effects were caused by mesophyll and phloem feeders, and the weakest by xylem feeders. Generalist sap-feeders reduced plant performance to a greater extent than did specialists. Methodology substantially influenced the outcomes of the primary studies; experiments conducted in greenhouses yielded stronger negative effects than field experiments; shorter (<12 months) experiments showed bigger growth reduction in response to sap feeding than longer experiments; natural levels of herbivory caused weaker effects than infestation of experimental plants by sap-feeders. Studies conducted at higher temperatures yielded stronger detrimental effects of sap-feeders on their hosts. We conclude that sap-feeders impose a more severe overall negative impact on plant performance than do defoliators, mostly due to the lower abilities of woody plants to compensate for sap-feeders' damage in terms of both growth and photosynthesis.

  15. [Repellent and antifeedant effect of secondary metabolites of non-host plants on Plutella xylostella].

    PubMed

    Wei, Hui; Hou, Youming; Yang, Guang; You, Minsheng

    2004-03-01

    Based on the theory of co-evolution between plants and phytophagous insects, the repellent and antifeedant effect of secondary metabolites of non-host plants on diamondback moth(DBM) Plutella xylostella was studied, aimed at finding out the oviposition repellents and antifeedants of insect pests. When the ethanol extracts(Etho Exts) of Bauhinia variegata, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Euphorbia hirta, Duranta repens, Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Magnolia grandiflora, and Nicotiana tabacum were applied respectively, the oviposition repellent rates were all over 80.00%; while after forty-eight hours treatment with the Etho Exts of Euphorbia pulcherrima, Broussonetia papyrifera, Artemisia argyi, Camellia oleifera, Salix babylonica, Euphorbia hirta, Bauhinia variegata, and Setaria viridisa, the antifeedant rates of DBM larvae were all more than 80.00%.

  16. Tannins in plant-herbivore interactions.

    PubMed

    Barbehenn, Raymond V; Peter Constabel, C

    2011-09-01

    Tannins are the most abundant secondary metabolites made by plants, commonly ranging from 5% to 10% dry weight of tree leaves. Tannins can defend leaves against insect herbivores by deterrence and/or toxicity. Contrary to early theories, tannins have no effect on protein digestion in insect herbivores. By contrast, in vertebrate herbivores tannins can decrease protein digestion. Tannins are especially prone to oxidize in insects with high pH guts, forming semiquinone radicals and quinones, as well as other reactive oxygen species. Tannin toxicity in insects is thought to result from the production of high levels of reactive oxygen species. Tannin structure has an important effect on biochemical activity. Ellagitannins oxidize much more readily than do gallotannins, which are more oxidatively active than most condensed tannins. The ability of insects to tolerate ingested tannins comes from a variety of biochemical and physical defenses in their guts, including surfactants, high pH, antioxidants, and a protective peritrophic envelope that lines the midgut. Most work on the ecological roles of tannins has been correlative, e.g., searching for negative associations between tannins and insect performance. A greater emphasis on manipulative experiments that control tannin levels is required to make further progress on the defensive functions of tannins. Recent advances in the use of molecular methods has permitted the production of tannin-overproducing transgenic plants and a better understanding of tannin biosynthetic pathways. Many research areas remain in need of further work, including the effects of different tannin types on different types of insects (e.g., caterpillars, grasshoppers, sap-sucking insects).

  17. Insect Phylogenomics

    PubMed Central

    Behura, Susanta K.

    2015-01-01

    With the advent of next-generation sequencing methods, phylogenetics has taken a new turn in the recent years. Phylogenomics, the integration of phylogenetics with genome data, has emerged as a powerful approach to study systematics and evolution of species. Recently, breakthrough researches employing phylogenomic tools have provided better insights into the timing and pattern of insect evolution. The next-generation sequencing methods are now increasingly used by entomologists to generate genomic and transcript sequences of various insect species and strains. These data provide opportunities for comparative genomics and large-scale multigene phylogenies of diverse lineages of insects. Phylogenomic investigations help us better understand systematic and evolutionary relationships of insect species that play important roles as herbivores, predators, detritivores, pollinators, or disease vectors. It is important that we critically assess the prospects and limitations of phylogenomic methods. In this review, I describe the current status, outline the major challenges, and remark on potential future applications of phylogenomic tools in studying insect systematics and evolution. PMID:25963452

  18. Host plant defense signaling in response to a coevolved herbivore combats introduced herbivore attack

    PubMed Central

    Woodard, Anastasia M; Ervin, Gary N; Marsico, Travis D

    2012-01-01

    Defense-free space resulting from coevolutionarily naïve host plants recently has been implicated as a factor facilitating invasion success of some insect species. Host plants, however, may not be entirely defenseless against novel herbivore threats. Volatile chemical-mediated defense signaling, which allows plants to mount specific, rapid, and intense responses, may play a role in systems experiencing novel threats. Here we investigate defense responses of host plants to a native and exotic herbivore and show that (1) host plants defend more effectively against the coevolved herbivore, (2) plants can be induced to defend against a newly-associated herbivore when in proximity to plants actively defending against the coevolved species, and (3) these defenses affect larval performance. These findings highlight the importance of coevolved herbivore-specific defenses and suggest that naïveté or defense limitations can be overcome via defense signaling. Determining how these findings apply across various host–herbivore systems is critical to understand mechanisms of successful herbivore invasion. PMID:22837849

  19. Jasmonate response decay and defense metabolite accumulation contributes to age-regulated dynamics of plant insect resistance

    PubMed Central

    Mao, Ying-Bo; Liu, Yao-Qian; Chen, Dian-Yang; Chen, Fang-Yan; Fang, Xin; Hong, Gao-Jie; Wang, Ling-Jian; Wang, Jia-Wei; Chen, Xiao-Ya

    2017-01-01

    Immunity deteriorates with age in animals but comparatively little is known about the temporal regulation of plant resistance to herbivores. The phytohormone jasmonate (JA) is a key regulator of plant insect defense. Here, we show that the JA response decays progressively in Arabidopsis. We show that this decay is regulated by the miR156-targeted SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE9 (SPL9) group of proteins, which can interact with JA ZIM-domain (JAZ) proteins, including JAZ3. As SPL9 levels gradually increase, JAZ3 accumulates and the JA response is attenuated. We provide evidence that this pathway contributes to insect resistance in young plants. Interestingly however, despite the decay in JA response, older plants are still comparatively more resistant to both the lepidopteran generalist Helicoverpa armigera and the specialist Plutella xylostella, along with increased accumulation of glucosinolates. We propose a model whereby constitutive accumulation of defense compounds plays a role in compensating for age-related JA-response attenuation during plant maturation. PMID:28067238

  20. Jasmonate response decay and defense metabolite accumulation contributes to age-regulated dynamics of plant insect resistance.

    PubMed

    Mao, Ying-Bo; Liu, Yao-Qian; Chen, Dian-Yang; Chen, Fang-Yan; Fang, Xin; Hong, Gao-Jie; Wang, Ling-Jian; Wang, Jia-Wei; Chen, Xiao-Ya

    2017-01-09

    Immunity deteriorates with age in animals but comparatively little is known about the temporal regulation of plant resistance to herbivores. The phytohormone jasmonate (JA) is a key regulator of plant insect defense. Here, we show that the JA response decays progressively in Arabidopsis. We show that this decay is regulated by the miR156-targeted SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE9 (SPL9) group of proteins, which can interact with JA ZIM-domain (JAZ) proteins, including JAZ3. As SPL9 levels gradually increase, JAZ3 accumulates and the JA response is attenuated. We provide evidence that this pathway contributes to insect resistance in young plants. Interestingly however, despite the decay in JA response, older plants are still comparatively more resistant to both the lepidopteran generalist Helicoverpa armigera and the specialist Plutella xylostella, along with increased accumulation of glucosinolates. We propose a model whereby constitutive accumulation of defense compounds plays a role in compensating for age-related JA-response attenuation during plant maturation.

  1. Non-Host Plant Volatiles Disrupt Sex Pheromone Communication in a Specialist Herbivore.

    PubMed

    Wang, Fumin; Deng, Jianyu; Schal, Coby; Lou, Yonggen; Zhou, Guoxin; Ye, Bingbing; Yin, Xiaohui; Xu, Zhihong; Shen, Lize

    2016-09-02

    The ecological effects of plant volatiles on herbivores are manifold. Little is known, however, about the impacts of non-host plant volatiles on intersexual pheromonal communication in specialist herbivores. We tested the effects of several prominent constitutive terpenoids released by conifers and Eucalyptus trees on electrophysiological and behavioral responses of an oligophagous species, Plutella xylostella, which feeds on Brassicaceae. The non-host plant volatile terpenoids adversely affected the calling behavior (pheromone emission) of adult females, and the orientation responses of adult males to sex pheromone were also significantly inhibited by these terpenoids in a wind tunnel and in the field. We suggest that disruption of both pheromone emission and orientation to sex pheromone may explain, at least in part, an observed reduction in herbivore attack in polyculture compared with monoculture plantings. We also propose that mating disruption of both male and female moths with non-host plant volatiles may be a promising alternative pest management strategy.

  2. Non-Host Plant Volatiles Disrupt Sex Pheromone Communication in a Specialist Herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Fumin; Deng, Jianyu; Schal, Coby; Lou, Yonggen; Zhou, Guoxin; Ye, Bingbing; Yin, Xiaohui; Xu, Zhihong; Shen, Lize

    2016-01-01

    The ecological effects of plant volatiles on herbivores are manifold. Little is known, however, about the impacts of non-host plant volatiles on intersexual pheromonal communication in specialist herbivores. We tested the effects of several prominent constitutive terpenoids released by conifers and Eucalyptus trees on electrophysiological and behavioral responses of an oligophagous species, Plutella xylostella, which feeds on Brassicaceae. The non-host plant volatile terpenoids adversely affected the calling behavior (pheromone emission) of adult females, and the orientation responses of adult males to sex pheromone were also significantly inhibited by these terpenoids in a wind tunnel and in the field. We suggest that disruption of both pheromone emission and orientation to sex pheromone may explain, at least in part, an observed reduction in herbivore attack in polyculture compared with monoculture plantings. We also propose that mating disruption of both male and female moths with non-host plant volatiles may be a promising alternative pest management strategy. PMID:27585907

  3. Herbivore species richness, composition and community structure mediate predator richness effects and top-down control of herbivore biomass.

    PubMed

    Wilby, Andrew; Orwin, Kate H

    2013-08-01

    Changes in predator species richness can have important consequences for ecosystem functioning at multiple trophic levels, but these effects are variable and depend on the ecological context in addition to the properties of predators themselves. Here, we report an experimental study to test how species identity, community attributes, and community structure at the herbivore level moderate the effects of predator richness on ecosystem functioning. Using mesocosms containing predatory insects and aphid prey, we independently manipulated species richness at both predator and herbivore trophic levels. Community structure was also manipulated by changing the distribution of herbivore species across two plant species. Predator species richness and herbivore species richness were found to negatively interact to influence predator biomass accumulation, an effect which is hypothesised to be due to the breakdown of functional complementarity among predators in species-rich herbivore assemblages. The strength of predator suppression of herbivore biomass decreased as herbivore species richness and distribution across host plants increased, and positive predator richness effects on herbivore biomass suppression were only observed in herbivore assemblages of relatively low productivity. In summary, the study shows that the species richness, productivity and host plant distribution of prey communities can all moderate the general influence of predators and the emergence of predator species richness effects on ecosystem functioning.

  4. Phytohormone mediation of interactions between herbivores and plant pathogens.

    PubMed

    Lazebnik, Jenny; Frago, Enric; Dicke, Marcel; van Loon, Joop J A

    2014-07-01

    Induced plant defenses against either pathogens or herbivore attackers are regulated by phytohormones. These phytohormones are increasingly recognized as important mediators of interactions between organisms associated with plants. In this review, we discuss the role of plant defense hormones in sequential tri-partite interactions among plants, pathogenic microbes, and herbivorous insects, based on the most recent literature. We discuss the importance of pathogen trophic strategy in the interaction with herbivores that exhibit different feeding modes. Plant resistance mechanisms also affect plant quality in future interactions with attackers. We discuss exemplary evidence for the hypotheses that (i) biotrophic pathogens can facilitate chewing herbivores, unless plants exhibit effector-triggered immunity, but (ii) facilitate or inhibit phloem feeders. (iii) Necrotrophic pathogens, on the other hand, can inhibit both phloem feeders and chewers. We also propose herbivore feeding mode as predictor of effects on pathogens of different trophic strategies, providing evidence for the hypotheses that (iv) phloem feeders inhibit pathogen attack by increasing SA induction, whereas (v) chewing herbivores tend not to affect necrotrophic pathogens, while they may either inhibit or facilitate biotrophic pathogens. Putting these hypotheses to the test will increase our understanding of phytohormonal regulation of plant defense to sequential attack by plant pathogens and insect herbivores. This will provide valuable insight into plant-mediated ecological interactions among members of the plant-associated community.

  5. Paleobiology of Herbivorous Dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, Paul M.

    2014-05-01

    Herbivorous dinosaurs were abundant, species-rich components of Late Triassic-Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems. Obligate high-fiber herbivory evolved independently on several occasions within Dinosauria, through the intermediary step of omnivory. Anatomical character complexes associated with this diet exhibit high levels of convergence and morphological disparity, and may have evolved by correlated progression. Dinosaur faunas changed markedly during the Mesozoic, from early faunas dominated by taxa with simple, uniform feeding mechanics to Cretaceous biomes including diverse sophisticated sympatric herbivores; the environmental and biological drivers causing these changes remain unclear. Isotopic, taphonomic, and anatomical evidence implies that niche partitioning reduced competition between sympatric herbivores, via morphological differentiation, dietary preferences, and habitat selection. Large body size in dinosaur herbivores is associated with low plant productivity, and gave these animals prominent roles as ecosystem engineers. Although dinosaur herbivores lived through several major events in floral evolution, there is currently no evidence for plant-dinosaur coevolutionary interactions.

  6. Trade-off between thermal tolerance and insecticide resistance in Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lin Jie; Wu, Zhao Li; Wang, Kuan Fu; Liu, Qun; Zhuang, Hua Mei; Wu, Gang

    2015-01-01

    Fitness costs associated with resistance to insecticides have been well documented, usually at normal temperature conditions, in many insect species. In this study, using chlorpyrifos-resistant homozygote (RR) and chlorpyrifos-susceptible homozygote (SS) of resistance ace1 allele of Plutella xylostella (DBM), we confirmed firstly that high temperature experience in pupal stage influenced phenotype of wing venation in insecticide-resistant and insecticide-susceptible Plutella xylostella, and SS DBM showed significantly higher thermal tolerance and lower damages of wing veins under heat stress than RR DBM. As compared to SS DBM, RR DBM displayed significantly lower AChE sensitivity to chlorpyrifos, higher basal GSTs activity and P450 production at 25°C, but higher inhibitions on the enzyme activities and P450 production as well as reduced resistance to chlorpyrifos under heat stress. Furthermore, RR DBM displayed significantly higher basal expressions of hsp69s, hsp72s, hsp20,hsp90,Apaf-1, and caspase-7 at 25°C, but lower induced expressions of hsps and higher induced expressions of Apaf-1,caspase-9, and caspase-7 under heat stress. These results suggest that fitness costs of chlorpyrifos resistance in DBM may partly attribute to excess consumption of energy caused by over production of detoxification enzymes and hsps when the proteins are less demanded at conducive environments but reduced expressions when they are highly demanded by the insects to combat environmental stresses, or to excess expressions of apoptotic genes under heat stress, which results in higher apoptosis. The evolutionary and ecological implications of these findings at global warming are discussed. PMID:25691976

  7. Exotic weevil invasion increases floral herbivore community density, function, and impact on a native plant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Consumer communities are being re-arranged through unprecedented rates of human-mediated invasions and extinctions. Such changes in consumer composition and diversity potentially alter pressure and impact on resource populations. Although insect herbivore invasions are common, and exotic herbivores...

  8. [Jaws of herbivorous mammals].

    PubMed

    Konishi, Shogo

    2005-08-01

    The jaws of herbivorous mammals are characterized by their large occlusal surface of the molar; high crown of the molar; long snout; etc. However, elephants, the biggest herbivorous mammal, have other characteristics. In the evolutionary trends of proboscidean skulls, concomitant with the increase in tusk size comes on the enlargement, antero-posterior shortening, dorso-ventral elongation of the cranium with increasing cheek teeth size. Naturally, the jaw follows the same evolutionary trends as the cranium.

  9. Cotesia vestalis parasitization suppresses expression of a Plutella xylostella thioredoxin

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Thioredoxins (Trxs) are a family of small, highly conserved and ubiquitous proteins involved in protecting organisms against toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, a typical thioredoxin gene, PxTrx, was isolated from Plutella xylostella. The full-length cDNA sequence is composed of 959 ...

  10. [Evaluation of non-host plant ethanol extracts against Plutella xylostella population].

    PubMed

    Wei, Hui; Hou, Youming; Yang, Guang; Fu, Jianwei; You, Minsheng

    2005-06-01

    Through establishing experimental and natural population life tables, and by using the index of population trend (1) and interference index of population control (IIPC), this paper evaluated 8 kinds of non-host plant ethanol extracts against experimental population of Plutella xylostella, and 3 kinds of these extracts and their mixture against Plutella xylostella natural population. The experimental population life table of DBM showed that the index of population trend (I) was 69. 8964 in control, and decreased dramatically to 5.3702, 4.4842, 8.0945, 11.1382, 6.8937, 6.1609, 5.5199 and 9.8052, respectively in treatments of Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Nicotiana tabacum, Broussonetia papyrifera, Bauhinia variegata, Duranta repens, Euphorbia hirta and Camellia oleifera ethanol extracts, while the corresponding IIPC was 0.0768, 0.0642, 0.1158, 0.1594, 0.0986, 0.0881, 0.0790 and 0. 1403, respectively. The natural population life tables of DBM showed that the index of population trend (I) was 21.6232 in control, and decreased dramatically to 5.1997, 7.4160, 7. 3644 and 3.1399, respectively in treatments of the ethanol extracts of E. tereticornis, N. tabacum, C. oleifera and their mixture, while the corresponding IIPC was 0.2405, 0.3695, 0.3549 and 0.1608, respectively. All of these indicated that the test plant extracts could interfere the development of P. xylostella population significantly, and had the potential as an effective measure for controlling insect pest.

  11. Positive interactions between large herbivores and grasshoppers, and their consequences for grassland plant diversity.

    PubMed

    Zhong, Zhiwei; Wang, Deli; Zhu, Hui; Wang, Ling; Feng, Chao; Wang, Zhongnan

    2014-04-01

    Although the influence of positive interactions on plant and sessile communities has been well documented, surprisingly little is known about their role in structuring terrestrial animal communities. We evaluated beneficial interactions between two distantly related herbivore taxa, large vertebrate grazers (sheep) and smaller insect grazers (grasshoppers), using a set of field experiments in eastern Eurasian steppe of China. Grazing by large herbivores caused significantly higher grasshopper density, and this pattern persisted until the end of the experiment. Grasshoppers, in turn, increased the foraging time of larger herbivores, but such response occurred only during the peak of growing season (August). These reciprocal interactions were driven by differential herbivore foraging preferences for plant resources; namely, large herbivores preferred Artemisia forbs, whereas grasshoppers preferred Leymus grass. The enhancement of grasshopper density in areas grazed by large herbivores likely resulted from the selective consumption of Artemisia forbs by vertebrate grazers, which may potentially improve the host finding of grasshoppers. Likewise, grasshoppers appeared to benefit large herbivores by decreasing the cover and density of the dominant grass Leymus chinensis, which hampers large herbivores' access to palatable forbs. Moreover, we found that large herbivores grazing alone may significantly decrease plant diversity, yet grasshoppers appeared to mediate such negative effects when they grazed with large herbivores. Our results suggest that the positive, reciprocal interactions in terrestrial herbivore communities may be more prevalent and complex than previously thought.

  12. Phytochemical mimicry of reproductive hormones and modulation of herbivore fertility by phytoestrogens.

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, C L

    1988-01-01

    Plants have physical and chemical mechanisms for defense from attack by animals. Phytochemical defenses that protect plants from attack by insects include antifeedants, insecticides, and insect growth regulators. Phytochemical options exist by which plants can modulate the fertility of the other major group of plant predators, vertebrate herbivores, and thereby reduce cumulative attacks by those herbivores. The success of such a defense depends upon phytochemical mimicry of vertebrate reproductive hormones. Phytoestrogens do mimic reproductive hormones and are proposed to be defensive substances produced by plants to modulate the fertility of herbivores. PMID:3203635

  13. Genetics-based interactions among plants, pathogens, and herbivores define arthropod community structure.

    PubMed

    Busby, Posy E; Lamit, Louis J; Keith, Arthur R; Newcombe, George; Gehring, Catherine A; Whitham, Thomas G; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-07-01

    Plant resistance to pathogens or insect herbivores is common, but its potential for indirectly influencing plant-associated communities is poorly known. Here, we test whether pathogens' indirect effects on arthropod communities and herbivory depend on plant resistance to pathogens and/or herbivores, and address the overarching interacting foundation species hypothesis that genetics-based interactions among a few highly interactive species can structure a much larger community. In a manipulative field experiment using replicated genotypes of two Populus species and their interspecific hybrids, we found that genetic variation in plant resistance to both pathogens and insect herbivores modulated the strength of pathogens' indirect effects on arthropod communities and insect herbivory. First, due in part to the pathogens' differential impacts on leaf biomass among the two Populus species and the hybrids, the pathogen most strongly impacted arthropod community composition, richness, and abundance on the pathogen-susceptible tree species. Second, we found similar patterns comparing pathogen-susceptible and pathogen-resistant genotypes within species. Third, within a plant species, pathogens caused a fivefold greater reduction in herbivory on insect-herbivore-susceptible plant genotypes than on herbivore-resistant genotypes, demonstrating that the pathogen-herbivore interaction is genotype dependent. We conclude that interactions among plants, pathogens, and herbivores can structure multitrophic communities, supporting the interacting foundation species hypothesis. Because these interactions are genetically based, evolutionary changes in genetic resistance could result in ecological changes in associated communities, which may in turn feed back to affect plant fitness.

  14. Secondary succession: insect-plant relationships

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, V.K.

    1984-12-01

    Botanists have dominated the study of secondary succession, and as a result, models and theories have focused on plants. Recent work, however, has revealed several complex relationships between plants and insects during succession, including adaptations of life-cycle strategies. Furthermore, insect herbivores play a key role in the course and rate of plant succession.

  15. Superfamily of genes encoding G protein-coupled receptors in the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Wu, S-F; Yu, H-Y; Jiang, T-T; Gao, C-F; Shen, J-L

    2015-08-01

    G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most versatile superfamily of cell membrane proteins, which mediate various physiological processes including reproduction, development and behaviour. The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), is one of the most notorious insect pests, preferentially feeding on cruciferous plants. P. xylostella is not only one of the world's most widespread lepidopteran insects, but has also developed resistance to nearly all classes of insecticides. Although the mechanisms of insecticide resistance have been studied extensively in many insect species, few investigations have been carried out on GPCRs in P. xylostella. In the present study, we identified 95 putative GPCRs in the P. xylostella genome. The identified GPCRs were compared with their homologues in Bombyx mori and Drosophila melanogaster. Our results suggest that GPCRs in different insect species may have evolved by a birth-and-death process. One of the differences among compared insects is the duplication of short neuropeptide F receptor and adipokinetic hormone receptors in P. xylostella and B. mori. Another divergence is the decrease in quantity and diversity of the stress-tolerance gene, Mth, in P. xylostella. The evolution by the birth-and-death process is probably involved in adaptation to the feeding behaviour, reproduction and stress responses of P. xylostella. Some of the genes identified in the present study could be potential targets for the development of novel pesticides.

  16. Sub-lethal effects of Vip3A toxin on survival, development and fecundity of Heliothis virescens and Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Gulzar, Asim; Wright, Denis J

    2015-11-01

    The assessment of sub-lethal effects is important to interpret the overall insecticide efficacy in controlling insect pest populations. In addition to the lethal effect, sub-lethal effects may also occur in exposed insects. Vegetative insecticidal proteins (Vips) have shown a broad spectrum of insecticidal activity against many insect pest species. In this study the sub-lethal effects of the Bacillus thuringiensis vegetative insecticidal toxin Vip3A on the development and reproduction of Heliothis virescens F. and Plutella xylostella L. were evaluated in the laboratory. The results indicated that the sub-lethal concentration of Vip3A increased the duration of the larval and pupal stages as compared with the control treatment for both species. The percent pupation and percent adult emergence were significantly lower for Vip3A-treated insects. The proportion of pairs that produced eggs and the longevity of adults were not significantly different between treatments. H. virescens and P. xylostella treated with Vip3A showed an 11 and 17 % decrease in their intrinsic rate of increase (rm) respectively compared with untreated insects. The results from this study will be helpful to develop the strategy to incorporate Vip 3A containing crops in an integrated pest management programme.

  17. Effectiveness of metal-metal and metal-organic compound combinations against Plutella xylostella: implications for plant elemental defense.

    PubMed

    Jhee, Edward M; Boyd, Robert S; Eubanks, Micky D

    2006-02-01

    Plants that contain elevated foliar metal concentrations can be categorized as accumulators or, if the accumulation is extreme, hyperaccumulators. The defense hypothesis suggests that these plants may be defended against folivore attack, and recent research has indicated that metal concentrations at or below the accumulator range may be defensively effective. This experiment explored the toxicity of four metals hyper-accumulated by plants (Cd, Ni, Pb, and Zn) and asked if combinations of metals, or metals and organic chemicals, might broaden the defensive effectiveness of metals. Metals were used alone and in certain metal + metal (Zn plus Ni, Pb, or Cd) and metal + organic defensive chemical (Ni plus tannic acid, atropine, or nicotine) combinations. Artificial diet amended with these treatments was fed to larvae of the crucifer specialist herbivore Plutella xylostella. Combinations of metals and metals + organic chemicals significantly decreased survival and pupation rates, compared to single treatments, for at least some concentrations in every experiment. Effects of combinations were additive rather than synergistic or antagonistic. Because Zn enhanced the toxicity of other metals and Ni enhanced the toxicity of organic defensive chemicals, our findings suggest that the defensive effects of metals are more widespread among plants than previously believed. They also support the hypothesis that herbivore defense may have led to the evolution of metal hyper-accumulation by increasing the preexisting defensive effects of metals at accumulator levels in plants.

  18. Germline transformation of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L., using the piggyBac transposable element.

    PubMed

    Martins, S; Naish, N; Walker, A S; Morrison, N I; Scaife, S; Fu, G; Dafa'alla, T; Alphey, L

    2012-08-01

    The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, is one of the most economically important agricultural pests. The larvae of this moth cause damage by feeding on the foliage of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and rapeseed. Control generally comprises chemical treatment; however, the diamondback moth is renowned for rapid development of resistance to pesticides. Other methods, such as biological control, have not been able to provide adequate protection. Germline transformation of pest insects has become available in recent years as an enabling technology for new genetics-based control methods, such as the Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal (RIDL(®) ). In the present study, we report the first transformation of the diamondback moth, using the piggyBac transposable element, by embryo microinjection. In generating transgenic strains using four different constructs, the function of three regulatory sequences in this moth was demonstrated in driving expression of fluorescent proteins. The transformation rates achieved, 0.48-0.68%, are relatively low compared with those described in other Lepidoptera, but not prohibitive, and are likely to increase with experience. We anticipate that germline transformation of the diamondback moth will permit the development of RIDL strains for use against this pest and facilitate the wider use of this species as a model organism for basic studies.

  19. A specific glycerol kinase induces rapid cold hardening of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Park, Youngjin; Kim, Yonggyun

    2014-08-01

    Insects in temperate zones survive low temperatures by migrating or tolerating the cold. The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, is a serious insect pest on cabbage and other cruciferous crops worldwide. We showed that P. xylostella became cold-tolerant by expressing rapid cold hardiness (RCH) in response to a brief exposure to moderately low temperature (4°C) for 7h along with glycerol accumulation in hemolymph. Glycerol played a crucial role in the cold-hardening process because exogenously supplying glycerol significantly increased the cold tolerance of P. xylostella larvae without cold acclimation. To determine the genetic factor(s) responsible for RCH and the increase of glycerol, four glycerol kinases (GKs), and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (PxGPDH) were predicted from the whole P. xylostella genome and analyzed for their function associated with glycerol biosynthesis. All predicted genes were expressed, but differed in their expression during different developmental stages and in different tissues. Expression of the predicted genes was individually suppressed by RNA interference (RNAi) using double-stranded RNAs specific to target genes. RNAi of PxGPDH expression significantly suppressed RCH and glycerol accumulation. Only PxGK1 among the four GKs was responsible for RCH and glycerol accumulation. Furthermore, PxGK1 expression was significantly enhanced during RCH. These results indicate that a specific GK, the terminal enzyme to produce glycerol, is specifically inducible during RCH to accumulate the main cryoprotectant.

  20. Neonate Plutella xylostella responses to surface wax components of a resistant cabbage (Brassica oleracea)

    SciTech Connect

    Eigenbrode, S.D.; Pillai, S.K.

    1998-10-01

    Behavior of neonate Plutella xylostella was observed and quantified during the first 5 min of contact with cabbage surface waxes and surface wax components deposited as a film (60 {micro}g/cm{sup 2}) on glass. The time larvae spent biting was greater and the time walking was less on waxes extracted from the susceptible cabbage variety, Round-Up, than on an insect-resistant glossy-wax breeding line, NY 9472. The waxes of both cabbage types were characterized and some of the compounds present at higher concentrations in the glossy waxes were tested for their deterrent effects on larvae by adding them to the susceptible waxes. Adding a mixture of four n-alkane-1-ols or a mixture of {alpha}- and {beta}-amyrins to wax from susceptible cabbage reduced the number of insects biting and, among those biting, reduced the time biting and increased the time walking in a dose-dependent manner. Among individual n-alkane-1-ols, adding C{sub 24} or C{sub 25} alcohols reduced the number of insects biting but only adding C{sub 25} alcohol reduced the time spent biting among those insects that initiated biting. Adding a mixture of five n-alkanoic acids did not affect biting, but increased the time spent palpating and decreased walking time. Among individual n-alkanoic acids, only adding C{sub 14} significantly increased the time palpating. If the observed responses were gustory, the results indicate that some primary wax components, including specific long-chain alkyl components, have allelochemical activity influencing host acceptance behavior by a lepidopteran larva.

  1. Plant defense against insect herbivory

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Damage to maize crops by insect herbivores such as beet and fall army worm causes significant impact in the Southern United States in terms of both yield loss and insecticide use. Enhanced understanding of how maize can defend itself against such attacks at a molecular level will enable development ...

  2. Modulation of flavonoid metabolites in Arabidopsis thaliana through overexpression of the MYB75 transcription factor: role of kaempferol-3,7-dirhamnoside in resistance to the specialist insect herbivore Pieris brassicae

    PubMed Central

    Dicke, Marcel

    2014-01-01

    Anthocyanins and flavonols are secondary metabolites that can function in plant defence against herbivores. In Arabidopsis thaliana, anthocyanin and flavonol biosynthesis are regulated by MYB transcription factors. Overexpression of MYB75 (oxMYB75) in Arabidopsis results in increasing anthocyanin and flavonol levels which enhances plant resistance to generalist caterpillars. However, how these metabolites affect specialist herbivores has remained unknown. Performance of a specialist aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae) was unaffected after feeding on oxMYB75 plants, whereas a specialist caterpillar (Pieris brassicae) gained significantly higher body mass when feeding on this plant. An increase in anthocyanin and total flavonol glycoside levels correlated negatively with the body mass of caterpillars fed on oxMYB75 plants. However, a significant reduction of kaempferol-3,7-dirhamnoside (KRR) corresponded to an increased susceptibility of oxMYB75 plants to caterpillar feeding. Pieris brassicae caterpillars also grew less on an artificial diet containing KRR or on oxMYB75 plants that were exogenously treated with KRR, supporting KRR’s function in direct defence against this specialist caterpillar. The results show that enhancing the activity of the anthocyanin pathway in oxMYB75 plants results in re-channelling of quercetin/kaempferol metabolites which has a negative effect on the accumulation of KRR, a novel defensive metabolite against a specialist caterpillar. PMID:24619996

  3. Herbivore exploits orally secreted bacteria to suppress plant defenses

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Seung Ho; Rosa, Cristina; Scully, Erin D.; Peiffer, Michelle; Tooker, John F.; Hoover, Kelli; Luthe, Dawn S.; Felton, Gary W.

    2013-01-01

    Induced plant defenses in response to herbivore attack are modulated by cross-talk between jasmonic acid (JA)- and salicylic acid (SA)-signaling pathways. Oral secretions from some insect herbivores contain effectors that overcome these antiherbivore defenses. Herbivores possess diverse microbes in their digestive systems and these microbial symbionts can modify plant–insect interactions; however, the specific role of herbivore-associated microbes in manipulating plant defenses remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) larvae exploit bacteria in their oral secretions to suppress antiherbivore defenses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). We found that antibiotic-untreated larvae decreased production of JA and JA-responsive antiherbivore defenses, but increased SA accumulation and SA-responsive gene expression. Beetles benefit from down-regulating plant defenses by exhibiting enhanced larval growth. In SA-deficient plants, suppression was not observed, indicating that suppression of JA-regulated defenses depends on the SA-signaling pathway. Applying bacteria isolated from larval oral secretions to wounded plants confirmed that three microbial symbionts belonging to the genera Stenotrophomonas, Pseudomonas, and Enterobacter are responsible for defense suppression. Additionally, reinoculation of these bacteria to antibiotic-treated larvae restored their ability to suppress defenses. Flagellin isolated from Pseudomonas sp. was associated with defense suppression. Our findings show that the herbivore exploits symbiotic bacteria as a decoy to deceive plants into incorrectly perceiving the threat as microbial. By interfering with the normal perception of herbivory, beetles can evade antiherbivore defenses of its host. PMID:24019469

  4. Modulation of plant defense responses to herbivores by simultaneous recognition of different herbivore-associated elicitors in rice

    PubMed Central

    Shinya, Tomonori; Hojo, Yuko; Desaki, Yoshitake; Christeller, John T.; Okada, Kazunori; Shibuya, Naoto; Galis, Ivan

    2016-01-01

    Induced plant defense responses against insect herbivores are triggered by wounding and/or perception of herbivore elicitors from their oral secretions (OS) and/or saliva. In this study, we analyzed OS isolated from two rice chewing herbivores, Mythimna loreyi and Parnara guttata. Both types of crude OS had substantial elicitor activity in rice cell system that allowed rapid detection of early and late defense responses, i.e. accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and defense secondary metabolites, respectively. While the OS from M. loreyi contained large amounts of previously reported insect elicitors, fatty acid-amino acid conjugates (FACs), the elicitor-active P. guttata’s OS contained no detectable FACs. Subsequently, elicitor activity associated with the high molecular mass fraction in OS of both herbivores was identified, and shown to promote ROS and metabolite accumulations in rice cells. Notably, the application of N-linolenoyl-Gln (FAC) alone had only negligible elicitor activity in rice cells; however, the activity of isolated elicitor fraction was substantially promoted by this FAC. Our results reveal that plants integrate various independent signals associated with their insect attackers to modulate their defense responses and reach maximal fitness in nature. PMID:27581373

  5. The root herbivore history of the soil affects the productivity of a grassland plant community and determines plant response to new root herbivore attack.

    PubMed

    Sonnemann, Ilja; Hempel, Stefan; Beutel, Maria; Hanauer, Nicola; Reidinger, Stefan; Wurst, Susanne

    2013-01-01

    Insect root herbivores can alter plant community structure by affecting the competitive ability of single plants. However, their effects can be modified by the soil environment. Root herbivory itself may induce changes in the soil biota community, and it has recently been shown that these changes can affect plant growth in a subsequent season or plant generation. However, so far it is not known whether these root herbivore history effects (i) are detectable at the plant community level and/or (ii) also determine plant species and plant community responses to new root herbivore attack. The present greenhouse study determined root herbivore history effects of click beetle larvae (Elateridae, Coleoptera, genus Agriotes) in a model grassland plant community consisting of six common species (Achillea millefolium, Plantago lanceolata, Taraxacum officinale, Holcus lanatus, Poa pratensis, Trifolium repens). Root herbivore history effects were generated in a first phase of the experiment by growing the plant community in soil with or without Agriotes larvae, and investigated in a second phase by growing it again in the soils that were either Agriotes trained or not. The root herbivore history of the soil affected plant community productivity (but not composition), with communities growing in root herbivore trained soil producing more biomass than those growing in untrained soil. Additionally, it influenced the response of certain plant species to new root herbivore attack. Effects may partly be explained by herbivore-induced shifts in the community of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The root herbivore history of the soil proved to be a stronger driver of plant growth on the community level than an actual root herbivore attack which did not affect plant community parameters. History effects have to be taken into account when predicting the impact of root herbivores on grasslands.

  6. The Root Herbivore History of the Soil Affects the Productivity of a Grassland Plant Community and Determines Plant Response to New Root Herbivore Attack

    PubMed Central

    Sonnemann, Ilja; Hempel, Stefan; Beutel, Maria; Hanauer, Nicola; Reidinger, Stefan; Wurst, Susanne

    2013-01-01

    Insect root herbivores can alter plant community structure by affecting the competitive ability of single plants. However, their effects can be modified by the soil environment. Root herbivory itself may induce changes in the soil biota community, and it has recently been shown that these changes can affect plant growth in a subsequent season or plant generation. However, so far it is not known whether these root herbivore history effects (i) are detectable at the plant community level and/or (ii) also determine plant species and plant community responses to new root herbivore attack. The present greenhouse study determined root herbivore history effects of click beetle larvae (Elateridae, Coleoptera, genus Agriotes) in a model grassland plant community consisting of six common species (Achillea millefolium, Plantago lanceolata, Taraxacum officinale, Holcus lanatus, Poa pratensis, Trifolium repens). Root herbivore history effects were generated in a first phase of the experiment by growing the plant community in soil with or without Agriotes larvae, and investigated in a second phase by growing it again in the soils that were either Agriotes trained or not. The root herbivore history of the soil affected plant community productivity (but not composition), with communities growing in root herbivore trained soil producing more biomass than those growing in untrained soil. Additionally, it influenced the response of certain plant species to new root herbivore attack. Effects may partly be explained by herbivore-induced shifts in the community of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The root herbivore history of the soil proved to be a stronger driver of plant growth on the community level than an actual root herbivore attack which did not affect plant community parameters. History effects have to be taken into account when predicting the impact of root herbivores on grasslands. PMID:23441201

  7. Evaluating insect-microbiomes at the plant-insect interface.

    PubMed

    Casteel, Clare L; Hansen, Allison K

    2014-07-01

    Plants recognize biotic challengers and respond with the appropriate defense by utilizing phytohormone signaling and crosstalk. Despite this, microbes and insects have evolved mechanisms that compromise the plant surveillance system and specific defenses, thus ensuring successful colonization. In nature, plants do not experience insect herbivores and microbes in isolation, but in combination. Over time, relationships have developed between insects and microbes, varying on a continuum from no-relationship to obligate relationships that are required for both organisms to survive. While many reviews have examined plant-insect and plant-microbe interactions and the mechanisms of plant defense, few have considered the interface where microbes and insects may overlap, and synergies may develop. In this review, we critically evaluate the requirements for insect-associated microbes to develop synergistic relationships with their hosts, and we mechanistically discuss how some of these insect-associated microbes can target or modify host plant defenses. Finally, by using bioinformatics and the recent literature, we review evidence for synergies in insect-microbe relationships at the interface of plant-insect defenses. Insect-associated microbes can influence host-plant detection and/or signaling through phytohormone synthesis, conserved microbial patterns, and effectors, however, microbes associated with insects must be maintained in the environment and located in opportunistic positions.

  8. Preference‒performance linkage in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, and implications for its management.

    PubMed

    Marchioro, Marchioro; Foerster, Luís Amilton

    2014-01-01

    Host plants affect development, survival, and reproduction of phytophagous insects. In the case of holometabolous species, whose larvae have little mobility to find a host plant, the ability of females to discriminate hosts on the basis of their nutritional quality may be an important factor determining insect performance. The preference‒performance correlation hypothesis states that females will choose to lay their eggs on host plants that provide the best offspring performance. The effects of three cultivated and two wild brassicas (Brassicales: Brassicaceae) on the biology of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), an important pest of brassicas, were investigated. Based on these data, the preference-performance correlation hypothesis was tested. The results allowed the discussion of the possible role of wild brassicas on population dynamics of the pest. The life table parameters net reproduction rate and intrinsic rate of increase were used as indicatives of insect performance because they provide a detailed description of the survivorship, development, and reproduction of a population. Development, survival, and reproduction were affected by the cultivated and wild brassicas. Both net reproduction rate and intrinsic rate of increase were lower in individuals fed on wild brassicas, which indicates that brassicas are not nutritionally suitable for P. xylostella. Nevertheless, females showed no oviposition preference among host plants. The results showed that host plant quality might not be the only factor determining host selection by female P. xylostella. Results also suggest that wild brassicas may serve as a refuge for P. xylostella, favoring pest survival when crops are disturbed by insecticide application, irrigation, or ploughing.

  9. Preference—Performance Linkage in the Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella, and Implications for Its Management

    PubMed Central

    Marchioro, Cesar Augusto; Foerster, Luís Amilton

    2014-01-01

    Host plants affect development, survival, and reproduction of phytophagous insects. In the case of holometabolous species, whose larvae have little mobility to find a host plant, the ability of females to discriminate hosts on the basis of their nutritional quality may be an important factor determining insect performance. The preference—performance correlation hypothesis states that females will choose to lay their eggs on host plants that provide the best offspring performance. The effects of three cultivated and two wild brassicas (Brassicales: Brassicaceae) on the biology of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), an important pest of brassicas, were investigated. Based on these data, the preference-performance correlation hypothesis was tested. The results allowed the discussion of the possible role of wild brassicas on population dynamics of the pest. The life table parameters net reproduction rate and intrinsic rate of increase were used as indicatives of insect performance because they provide a detailed description of the survivorship, development, and reproduction of a population. Development, survival, and reproduction were affected by the cultivated and wild brassicas. Both net reproduction rate and intrinsic rate of increase were lower in individuals fed on wild brassicas, which indicates that brassicas are not nutritionally suitable for P. xylostella. Nevertheless, females showed no oviposition preference among host plants. The results showed that host plant quality might not be the only factor determining host selection by female P. xylostella. Results also suggest that wild brassicas may serve as a refuge for P. xylostella, favoring pest survival when crops are disturbed by insecticide application, irrigation, or ploughing. PMID:25368041

  10. Flower color preferences of insects and livestock: effects on Gentiana lutea reproductive success

    PubMed Central

    Losada, María; Veiga, Tania; Guitián, Javier; Guitián, José; Guitián, Pablo

    2016-01-01

    Angiosperms diversification was primarily driven by pollinator agents, but non-pollinator agents also promoted floral evolution. Gentiana lutea shows pollinator driven flower color variation in NW Spain. We test whether insect herbivores and livestock, which frequently feed in G.lutea, play a role in G. lutea flower color variation, by answering the following questions: (i) Do insect herbivores and grazing livestock show flower color preferences when feeding on G. lutea? (ii) Do mutualists (pollinators) and antagonists (seed predators, insect herbivores and livestock) jointly affect G. lutea reproductive success? Insect herbivores fed more often on yellow flowering individuals but they did not affect seed production, whereas livestock affected seed production but did not show clear color preferences. Our data indicate that flower color variation of G. lutea is not affected by insect herbivores or grazing livestock. PMID:27014509

  11. Trade-Offs between Silicon and Phenolic Defenses may Explain Enhanced Performance of Root Herbivores on Phenolic-Rich Plants.

    PubMed

    Frew, Adam; Powell, Jeff R; Sallam, Nader; Allsopp, Peter G; Johnson, Scott N

    2016-08-01

    Phenolic compounds play a role in plant defense against herbivores. For some herbivorous insects, particularly root herbivores, host plants with high phenolic concentrations promote insect performance and tissue consumption. This positive relationship between some insects and phenolics, however, could reflect a negative correlation with other plant defenses acting against insects. Silicon is an important element for plant growth and defense, particularly in grasses, as many grass species take up large amounts of silicon. Negative impact of a high silicon diet on insect herbivore performance has been reported aboveground, but is unreported for belowground herbivores. It has been hypothesized that some silicon accumulating plants exhibit a trade-off between carbon-based defense compounds, such as phenolics, and silicon-based defenses. Here, we investigated the impact of silicon concentrations and total phenolic concentrations in sugarcane roots on the performance of the root-feeding greyback canegrub (Dermolepida albohirtum). Canegrub performance was positively correlated with root phenolics, but negatively correlated with root silicon. We found a negative relationship in the roots between total phenolics and silicon concentrations. This suggests the positive impact of phenolic compounds on some insects may be the effect of lower concentrations of silicon compounds in plant tissue. This is the first demonstration of plant silicon negatively affecting a belowground herbivore.

  12. Intraspecific chemical diversity among neighbouring plants correlates positively with plant size and herbivore load but negatively with herbivore damage.

    PubMed

    Bustos-Segura, Carlos; Poelman, Erik H; Reichelt, Michael; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Gols, Rieta

    2017-01-01

    Intraspecific plant diversity can modify the properties of associated arthropod communities and plant fitness. However, it is not well understood which plant traits determine these ecological effects. We explored the effect of intraspecific chemical diversity among neighbouring plants on the associated invertebrate community and plant traits. In a common garden experiment, intraspecific diversity among neighbouring plants was manipulated using three plant populations of wild cabbage that differ in foliar glucosinolates. Plants were larger, harboured more herbivores, but were less damaged when plant diversity was increased. Glucosinolate concentration differentially correlated with generalist and specialist herbivore abundance. Glucosinolate composition correlated with plant damage, while in polycultures, variation in glucosinolate concentrations among neighbouring plants correlated positively with herbivore diversity and negatively with plant damage levels. The results suggest that intraspecific variation in secondary chemistry among neighbouring plants is important in determining the structure of the associated insect community and positively affects plant performance.

  13. Effects of venom/calyx fluid from the endoparasitic wasp Cotesia plutellae on the hemocytes of its host Plutella xylostella in vitro.

    PubMed

    Yu, Rui-xian; Chen, Ya-Feng; Chen, Xue-xin; Huang, Fang; Lou, Yong-gen; Liu, Shu-sheng

    2007-01-01

    Crude venom and calyx fluid from Cotesia plutellae (Hymenoptera Braconidae) were assayed for biological activity toward hemocytes of Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera Plutellidae). Venom from C. plutellae displayed high activity toward the spreading of plasmatocytes of P. xylostella early in the incubation period, and the inhibition was more severe as the concentration of venom increased. However, most inhibited hemocytes spread normally after being incubated for 4h. No effects were found toward granular cells from the host. Additionally, the venom from C. plutellae had some lethal effects on hemocytes of P. xylostella at high concentrations. In contrast, when incubated with different concentrations of calyx fluid, the spreading of some hemocytes was inhibited, some began to disintegrate, and some were badly damaged with only the nucleus left. After 4h, the majority of hemocytes died. The same results were observed when hemocytes were incubated in calyx fluid together with venom. These results show that calyx fluid from C. plutellae may play a major role in the suppression of the host immune system, whereas venom from C. plutellae has a limited effect on hemocytes and probably synergizes the effect of calyx fluid or polydnavirus.

  14. Insect response to plant defensive protease inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Zhu-Salzman, Keyan; Zeng, Rensen

    2015-01-07

    Plant protease inhibitors (PIs) are natural plant defense proteins that inhibit proteases of invading insect herbivores. However, their anti-insect efficacy is determined not only by their potency toward a vulnerable insect system but also by the response of the insect to such a challenge. Through the long history of coevolution with their host plants, insects have developed sophisticated mechanisms to circumvent antinutritional effects of dietary challenges. Their response takes the form of changes in gene expression and the protein repertoire in cells lining the alimentary tract, the first line of defense. Research in insect digestive proteases has revealed the crucial roles they play in insect adaptation to plant PIs and has brought about a new appreciation of how phytophagous insects employ this group of molecules in both protein digestion and counterdefense. This review provides researchers in related fields an up-to-date summary of recent advances.

  15. Global identification of microRNAs associated with chlorantraniliprole resistance in diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (L.)

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Bin; Li, Xiuxia; Liu, Ying; Gao, Xiwu; Liang, Pei

    2017-01-01

    The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (L.), is one of the most serious cruciferous pests and has developed high resistance to most insecticides, including chlorantraniliprole. Previous studies have reported several protein-coding genes that involved in chlorantraniliprole resistance, but research on resistance mechanisms at the post-transcription level is still limited. In this study, a global screen of microRNAs (miRNAs) associated with chlorantraniliprole resistance in P. xylostella was performed. The small RNA libraries for a susceptible (CHS) and two chlorantraniliprole resistant strains (CHR, ZZ) were constructed and sequenced, and a total of 199 known and 30 novel miRNAs were identified. Among them, 23 miRNAs were differentially expressed between CHR and CHS, and 90 miRNAs were differentially expressed between ZZ and CHS, of which 11 differentially expressed miRNAs were identified in both CHR and ZZ. Using miRanda and RNAhybrid, a total of 1,411 target mRNAs from 102 differentially expressed miRNAs were predicted, including mRNAs in several groups of detoxification enzymes. The expression of several differentially expressed miRNAs and their potential targets was validated by qRT-PCR. The results may provide important clues for further study of the mechanisms of miRNA-mediated chlorantraniliprole resistance in DBM and other target insects. PMID:28098189

  16. An anionic defensin from Plutella xylostella with potential activity against Bacillus thuringiensis.

    PubMed

    Xu, X-X; Zhang, Y-Q; Freed, S; Yu, J; Gao, Y-F; Wang, S; Ouyang, L-N; Ju, W-Y; Jin, F-L

    2016-12-01

    Insect defensins, are cationic peptides that play an important role in immunity against microbial infection. In the present study, an anionic defensin from Plutella xylostella, (designated as PxDef) was first cloned and characterized. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that the mature peptide owned characteristic six-cysteine motifs with predicted isoelectric point of 5.57, indicating an anionic defensin. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that PxDef was significantly induced in epidermis, fat body, midgut and hemocytes after injection of heat-inactivated Bacillus thuringiensis, while such an induction was delayed by the injection of live B. thuringiensis in the 4th instar larvae of P. xylostella. Knocking down the expression of nuclear transcription factor Dorsal in P. xylostella by RNA interference significantly decreased the mRNA level of PxDef, and increased the sensitivity of P. xylostella larvae to the infection by live B. thuringiensis. The purified recombinant mature peptide (PxDef) showed higher activity against Gram-positive bacteria, with the minimum inhibition concentrations of 1.6 and 2.6 µM against B. thuringiensis and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report about an anionic PxDef, which may play an important role in the immune system of P. xylostella against B. thuringiensis.

  17. Identification of the chitinase genes from the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Liao, Z H; Kuo, T C; Kao, C H; Chou, T M; Kao, Y H; Huang, R N

    2016-12-01

    Chitinases have an indispensable function in chitin metabolism and are well characterized in numerous insect species. Although the diamondback moth (DBM) Plutella xylostella, which has a high reproductive potential, short generation time, and characteristic adaptation to adverse environments, has become one of the most serious pests of cruciferous plants worldwide, the information on the chitinases of the moth is presently limited. In the present study, using degenerated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends-PCR strategies, four chitinase genes of P. xylostella were cloned, and an exhaustive search was conducted for chitinase-like sequences from the P. xylostella genome and transcriptomic database. Based on the domain analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences and the phylogenetic analysis of the catalytic domain sequences, we identified 15 chitinase genes from P. xylostella. Two of the gut-specific chitinases did not cluster with any of the known phylogenetic groups of chitinases and might be in a new group of the chitinase family. Moreover, in our study, group VIII chitinase was not identified. The structures, classifications and expression patterns of the chitinases of P. xylostella were further delineated, and with this information, further investigations on the functions of chitinase genes in DBM could be facilitated.

  18. Midgut transcriptome response to a Cry toxin in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Lei, Yanyuan; Zhu, Xun; Xie, Wen; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Guo, Zhaojiang; Xu, Baoyun; Li, Xianchun; Zhou, Xuguo; Zhang, Youjun

    2014-01-01

    To investigate the response of Plutella xylostella transcriptome in defending against a Bt toxin, high-throughput RNA-sequencing was carried out to examine Cry1Ac-susceptible and -resistant strains. The comparative analysis indentified over 2900 differentially expressed unigenes (DEUs) between these two strains. Gene Ontology analysis placed these unigenes primarily into cell, cell part, organelle, binding, catalytic, cellular process, metabolic process, and response to stimulus categories. Based on pathway analyses, DEUs were enriched in oxidoreductase activity and membrane lipid metabolic processes, and they were also significantly enriched in pathways related to the metabolic and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Most of the unigenes involved in the metabolic pathway were up-regulated in resistant strains. Within the ABC transporter pathway, majority of the down-regulated unigenes belong to ABCC2 and ABCC10, respectively, while up-regulated unigenes were mainly categorized as ABCG2. Furthermore, two aminopeptidases, and four cadherins encoding genes were significantly elevated as well. This study provides a transcriptome foundation for the identification and functional characterization of genes involved in the Bt resistance in an agriculturally important insect pest, P. xylostella.

  19. R2R3-NaMYB8 Regulates the Accumulation of Phenylpropanoid-Polyamine Conjugates, Which Are Essential for Local and Systemic Defense against Insect Herbivores in Nicotiana attenuata1[W][OA

    PubMed Central

    Kaur, Harleen; Heinzel, Nicolas; Schöttner, Mathias; Baldwin, Ian T.; Gális, Ivan

    2010-01-01

    Although phenylpropanoid-polyamine conjugates (PPCs) occur ubiquitously in plants, their biological roles remain largely unexplored. The two major PPCs of Nicotiana attenuata plants, caffeoylputrescine (CP) and dicaffeoylspermidine, increase dramatically in local and systemic tissues after herbivore attack and simulations thereof. We identified NaMYB8, a homolog of NtMYBJS1, which in BY-2 cells regulates PPC biosynthesis, and silenced its expression by RNA interference in N. attenuata (ir-MYB8), to understand the ecological role(s) of PPCs. The regulatory role of NaMYB8 in PPC biosynthesis was validated by a microarray analysis, which revealed that transcripts of several key biosynthetic genes in shikimate and polyamine metabolism accumulated in a NaMYB8-dependent manner. Wild-type N. attenuata plants typically contain high levels of PPCs in their reproductive tissues; however, NaMYB8-silenced plants that completely lacked CP and dicaffeoylspermidine showed no changes in reproductive parameters of the plants. In contrast, a defensive role for PPCs was clear; both specialist (Manduca sexta) and generalist (Spodoptera littoralis) caterpillars feeding on systemically preinduced young stem leaves performed significantly better on ir-MYB8 plants lacking PPCs compared with wild-type plants expressing high levels of PPCs. Moreover, the growth of M. sexta caterpillars was significantly reduced when neonates were fed ir-MYB8 leaves sprayed with synthetic CP, corroborating the role of PPCs as direct plant defense. The spatiotemporal accumulation and function of PPCs in N. attenuata are consistent with the predictions of the optimal defense theory: plants preferentially protect their most fitness-enhancing and vulnerable parts, young tissues and reproductive organs, to maximize their fitness. PMID:20089770

  20. Cost of inbreeding in resistance to herbivores in Datura stramonium

    PubMed Central

    Bello-Bedoy, Rafael; Núñez-Farfán, Juan

    2010-01-01

    Background and Aims Experiments show that inbred progenies are frequently more damaged by herbivores than outcrossed progenies, suggesting that selfing is costly when herbivores are present and can increase the magnitude of inbreeding depression in survival and reproductive components of fitness. The present study assesses whether inbreeding increases herbivory and estimates the magnitude of inbreeding depression on reproductive components of fitness in the annual plant Datura stramonium. Methods Two experiments were performed under natural conditions of herbivory to assess the effect of inbreeding on plant damage in D. stramonium. In the first experiment, outcrossed progeny was generated using foreign pollen donors, whereas inbred progeny was produced by self-pollination. In both groups, survival, herbivore damage and reproductive components of fitness were measured. In the second experiment, inbred and outcrossed progenies were produced using only local pollen donors, and only damage by herbivores was measured. Key Results Despite yearly variation in damage caused by the same specialist herbivores, inbred progeny suffered consistently more damage than outcrossed progeny. There was a significant inbreeding depression for fruit number (δ = 0·3), seed number per fruit (δ = 0·19) and seed number per plant (δ = 0·43). Furthermore, significant genetic variation amongst families in the magnitude of inbreeding depression was observed. Discussion The results suggest that the plant's mating system modified the pattern of herbivory by specialist insects in D. stramonium. Inbred plants suffer not only from the genetic cost of low vigour but also from greater damage by herbivores. The mechanism by which inbreeding reduces plant resistance to herbivores remains unknown but is an interesting area for future research. PMID:20237119

  1. Variable effects of temperature on insect herbivory

    PubMed Central

    Burkepile, Deron E.; Parker, John D.

    2014-01-01

    Rising temperatures can influence the top-down control of plant biomass by increasing herbivore metabolic demands. Unfortunately, we know relatively little about the effects of temperature on herbivory rates for most insect herbivores in a given community. Evolutionary history, adaptation to local environments, and dietary factors may lead to variable thermal response curves across different species. Here we characterized the effect of temperature on herbivory rates for 21 herbivore-plant pairs, encompassing 14 herbivore and 12 plant species. We show that overall consumption rates increase with temperature between 20 and 30 °C but do not increase further with increasing temperature. However, there is substantial variation in thermal responses among individual herbivore-plant pairs at the highest temperatures. Over one third of the herbivore-plant pairs showed declining consumption rates at high temperatures, while an approximately equal number showed increasing consumption rates. Such variation existed even within herbivore species, as some species exhibited idiosyncratic thermal response curves on different host plants. Thus, rising temperatures, particularly with respect to climate change, may have highly variable effects on plant-herbivore interactions and, ultimately, top-down control of plant biomass. PMID:24860701

  2. Effector proteins that modulate plant--insect interactions.

    PubMed

    Hogenhout, Saskia A; Bos, Jorunn I B

    2011-08-01

    Insect herbivores have highly diverse life cycles and feeding behaviors. They establish close interactions with their plant hosts and suppress plant defenses. Chewing herbivores evoke characteristic defense responses distinguishable from general mechanical damage. In addition, piercing-sucking hemipteran insects display typical feeding behavior that suggests active suppression of plant defense responses. Effectors that modulate plant defenses have been identified in the saliva of these insects. Tools for high-throughput effector identification and functional characterization have been developed. In addition, in some insect species it is possible to silence gene expression by RNAi. Together, this technological progress has enabled the identification of insect herbivore effectors and their targets that will lead to the development of novel strategies for pest resistances in plants.

  3. Heritable variation in the foliar secondary metabolite sideroxylonal in Eucalyptus confers cross-resistance to herbivores.

    PubMed

    Andrew, Rose L; Wallis, Ian R; Harwood, Chris E; Henson, Michael; Foley, William J

    2007-10-01

    Plants encounter a broad range of natural enemies and defend themselves in diverse ways. The cost of defense can be reduced if a plant secondary metabolite confers resistance to multiple herbivores. However, there are few examples of positively correlated defenses in plants against herbivores of different types. We present evidence that a genetically variable chemical trait that acts as a strong antifeedant to mammalian herbivores of Eucalyptus also deters insect herbivores, suggesting a possible mechanism for cross-resistance. We provide field confirmation that sideroxylonal, an important antifeedant for mammalian herbivores, also determines patterns of damage by Christmas beetles, a specialist insect herbivore of Eucalyptus. In a genetic progeny trial of Eucalyptus tricarpa, we found significant heritabilities of sideroxylonal concentration (0.60), overall insect damage (0.34), and growth traits (0.30-0.53). Population of origin also had a strong effect on each trait. Negative phenotypic correlations were observed between sideroxylonal and damage, and between damage and growth. No relationship was observed between sideroxylonal concentration and any growth trait. Our results suggest that potential for evolution by natural selection of sideroxylonal concentrations is not strongly constrained by growth costs and that both growth and defense traits can be successfully incorporated into breeding programs for plantation trees.

  4. Phytochemical diversity drives plant–insect community diversity

    PubMed Central

    Richards, Lora A.; Dyer, Lee A.; Forister, Matthew L.; Smilanich, Angela M.; Dodson, Craig D.; Leonard, Michael D.; Jeffrey, Christopher S.

    2015-01-01

    What are the ecological causes and consequences of variation in phytochemical diversity within and between plant taxa? Despite decades of natural products discovery by organic chemists and research by chemical ecologists, our understanding of phytochemically mediated ecological processes in natural communities has been restricted to studies of either broad classes of compounds or a small number of well-characterized molecules. Until now, no studies have assessed the ecological causes or consequences of rigorously quantified phytochemical diversity across taxa in natural systems. Consequently, hypotheses that attempt to explain variation in phytochemical diversity among plants remain largely untested. We use spectral data from crude plant extracts to characterize phytochemical diversity in a suite of co-occurring plants in the tropical genus Piper (Piperaceae). In combination with 20 years of data focused on Piper-associated insects, we find that phytochemical diversity has a direct and positive effect on the diversity of herbivores but also reduces overall herbivore damage. Elevated chemical diversity is associated with more specialized assemblages of herbivores, and the cascading positive effect of phytochemistry on herbivore enemies is stronger as herbivore diet breadth narrows. These results are consistent with traditional hypotheses that predict positive associations between plant chemical diversity, insect herbivore diversity, and trophic specialization. It is clear from these results that high phytochemical diversity not only enhances the diversity of plant-associated insects but also contributes to the ecological predominance of specialized insect herbivores. PMID:26283384

  5. Phytochemical diversity drives plant-insect community diversity.

    PubMed

    Richards, Lora A; Dyer, Lee A; Forister, Matthew L; Smilanich, Angela M; Dodson, Craig D; Leonard, Michael D; Jeffrey, Christopher S

    2015-09-01

    What are the ecological causes and consequences of variation in phytochemical diversity within and between plant taxa? Despite decades of natural products discovery by organic chemists and research by chemical ecologists, our understanding of phytochemically mediated ecological processes in natural communities has been restricted to studies of either broad classes of compounds or a small number of well-characterized molecules. Until now, no studies have assessed the ecological causes or consequences of rigorously quantified phytochemical diversity across taxa in natural systems. Consequently, hypotheses that attempt to explain variation in phytochemical diversity among plants remain largely untested. We use spectral data from crude plant extracts to characterize phytochemical diversity in a suite of co-occurring plants in the tropical genus Piper (Piperaceae). In combination with 20 years of data focused on Piper-associated insects, we find that phytochemical diversity has a direct and positive effect on the diversity of herbivores but also reduces overall herbivore damage. Elevated chemical diversity is associated with more specialized assemblages of herbivores, and the cascading positive effect of phytochemistry on herbivore enemies is stronger as herbivore diet breadth narrows. These results are consistent with traditional hypotheses that predict positive associations between plant chemical diversity, insect herbivore diversity, and trophic specialization. It is clear from these results that high phytochemical diversity not only enhances the diversity of plant-associated insects but also contributes to the ecological predominance of specialized insect herbivores.

  6. Insects, infestations and nutrient fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michalzik, B.

    2012-04-01

    Forest ecosystems are characterized by a high temporal and spatial variability in the vertical transfer of energy and matter within the canopy and the soil compartment. The mechanisms and controlling factors behind canopy processes and system-internal transfer dynamics are imperfectly understood at the moment. Seasonal flux diversities and inhomogeneities in throughfall composition have been reported from coniferous and deciduous forests, and in most cases leaf leaching has been considered as principle driver for differences in the amount and quality of nutrients and organic compounds (Tukey and Morgan 1963). Since herbivorous insects and the processes they initiate received less attention in past times, ecologists now emphasize the need for linking biological processes occurring in different ecosystem strata to explain rates and variability of nutrient cycling (Bardgett et al. 1998, Wardle et al. 2004). Consequently, herbivore insects in the canopies of forests are increasingly identified to play an important role for the (re)cycling and availability of nutrients, or, more generally, for the functioning of ecosystems not only in outbreak situations but also at endemic (non-outbreak) density levels (Stadler et al. 2001, Hunter et al. 2003). Before, little attention was paid to insect herbivores when quantifying element and energy fluxes through ecosystems, although the numerous and different functions insects fulfill in ecosystems (e.g. as pollinators, herbivores or detritivores) were unanimously recognized (Schowalter 2000). Amongst the reasons for this restraint was the argument that the total biomass of insects tends to be relatively low compared to the biomass of trees or the pool of soil organic matter (Ohmart et al. 1983). A second argument which was put forward to justify the inferior role of insects in nutrient cycling were the supposed low defoliation losses between 5-10% of the annual leaf biomass, or net primary production, due to insect herbivory under

  7. Transient expression of specific Cotesia plutellae bracoviral segments induces prolonged larval development of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Bowon; Song, Seongbaeck; Choi, Jae Young; Je, Yeon Ho; Kim, Yonggyun

    2010-06-01

    A polydnavirus, Cotesia plutellae bracovirus (CpBV), possesses a segmented and dispersed genome that is located on chromosome(s) of its symbiotic endoparasitic wasp, C. plutellae. When the host wasp parasitizes larvae of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, at least 27 viral genome segments are delivered to the parasitized host along with the wasp egg. The parasitized P. xylostella exhibits significant immunosuppression and a prolonged larval development. Parasitized larvae take about 2 days longer than nonparasitized larvae to develop until the wandering stage of the final larval instar, and die after egress of the full grown wasp larvae. Developmental analysis using juvenile hormone and ecdysteroid analogs suggests that altering endocrine signals could induce the retardation of larval developmental rate in P. xylostella. In this study we used a transient expression technique to micro-inject individual CpBV genome segments, and tested their ability to induce delayed larval development of P. xylostella. We demonstrated that a CpBV segment was able to express its own encoded genes when it was injected into nonparasitized larvae, in which the expression patterns of the segment genes were similar to those in the larvae parasitized by C. plutellae. Twenty three CpBV genome segments were individually cloned and injected into the second instar larvae of P. xylostella and their effects assessed by measuring the time taken for host development to the cocooning stage. Three CpBV genome segments markedly interfered with the host larval development. When the putative genes of these segments were analyzed, it was found that they did not share any common genes. Among these segments able to delay host development, segment S27 was predicted to encode seven protein tyrosine phosphatases (CpBV-PTPs), some of which were mutated by insertional inactivation with transposons, while other encoded gene expressions were unaffected. The mutant segments were unable to induce prolonged

  8. Interactions Between Bt-Bioinsecticides and Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), a Predator of Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Magalhães, G O; Vacari, A M; DE Bortoli, C P; Pomari, A F; DE Bortoli, S A; Polanczyk, R A

    2015-10-01

    Bioinsecticides are being increasingly used to protect vegetable crops against herbivores, but data on the side effects of such strategy on the third trophic level are still required. We investigated the influence of the Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD-1 strain and of the commercial bioinsecticide Agree® on the biological aspects of the predator Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) when feeding on Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)-infected larvae. On average, infected larvae were consumed more often than the non-infected larvae throughout the predator nymphal development, and no effect on nymph survival was observed. Population growth parameters (R 0, r m, and λ) resulting from the fertility life tables did not differ among treatments. The results led to the conclusion that P. nigrispinus can be used in combination with the product Agree® or the strain HD-1 for the control of P. xylostella. The combined use of these control agents helps to maintain the balance of the ecosystem and contributes for the production of food for healthy human consumption.

  9. Phytophagous insect fauna tracks host plant responses to exotic grass invasion.

    PubMed

    Almeida-Neto, Mário; Prado, Paulo I; Lewinsohn, Thomas M

    2011-04-01

    The high dependence of herbivorous insects on their host plants implies that plant invaders can affect these insects directly, by not providing a suitable habitat, or indirectly, by altering host plant availability. In this study, we sampled Asteraceae flower heads in cerrado remnants with varying levels of exotic grass invasion to evaluate whether invasive grasses have a direct effect on herbivore richness independent of the current disturbance level and host plant richness. By classifying herbivores according to the degree of host plant specialization, we also investigated whether invasive grasses reduce the uniqueness of the herbivorous assemblages. Herbivorous insect richness showed a unimodal relationship with invasive grass cover that was significantly explained only by way of the variation in host plant richness. The same result was found for polyphagous and oligophagous insects, but monophages showed a significant negative response to the intensity of the grass invasion that was independent of host plant richness. Our findings lend support to the hypothesis that the aggregate effect of invasive plants on herbivores tends to mirror the effects of invasive plants on host plants. In addition, exotic plants affect specialist insects differently from generalist insects; thus exotic plants affect not only the size but also the structural profile of herbivorous insect assemblages.

  10. Plant Defense against Herbivorous Pests: Exploiting Resistance and Tolerance Traits for Sustainable Crop Protection

    PubMed Central

    Mitchell, Carolyn; Brennan, Rex M.; Graham, Julie; Karley, Alison J.

    2016-01-01

    Interactions between plants and insect herbivores are important determinants of plant productivity in managed and natural vegetation. In response to attack, plants have evolved a range of defenses to reduce the threat of injury and loss of productivity. Crop losses from damage caused by arthropod pests can exceed 15% annually. Crop domestication and selection for improved yield and quality can alter the defensive capability of the crop, increasing reliance on artificial crop protection. Sustainable agriculture, however, depends on reduced chemical inputs. There is an urgent need, therefore, to identify plant defensive traits for crop improvement. Plant defense can be divided into resistance and tolerance strategies. Plant traits that confer herbivore resistance typically prevent or reduce herbivore damage through expression of traits that deter pests from settling, attaching to surfaces, feeding and reproducing, or that reduce palatability. Plant tolerance of herbivory involves expression of traits that limit the negative impact of herbivore damage on productivity and yield. Identifying the defensive traits expressed by plants to deter herbivores or limit herbivore damage, and understanding the underlying defense mechanisms, is crucial for crop scientists to exploit plant defensive traits in crop breeding. In this review, we assess the traits and mechanisms underpinning herbivore resistance and tolerance, and conclude that physical defense traits, plant vigor and herbivore-induced plant volatiles show considerable utility in pest control, along with mixed species crops. We highlight emerging approaches for accelerating the identification of plant defensive traits and facilitating their deployment to improve the future sustainability of crop protection. PMID:27524994

  11. Effects of temperature and nonionizing ultraviolet radiation treatments of eggs of five host insects on production of Trichogramma chilonis Ishii (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) for biological control applications.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Trichogramma are used worldwide as biological control against insect pests, attacking eggs of over 200 species. Eggs of Spodoptera litura, Corcyra cephalonica, Plutella xylostella and Helicoverpa armigera were tested to consider the effect of temperature and radiation on parasitization, emergence of...

  12. The Impact of Tree Diversity on Different Aspects of Insect Herbivory along a Global Temperature Gradient - A Meta-Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Kühn, Ingolf; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Bruelheide, Helge

    2016-01-01

    Forests with higher tree diversity are often assumed to be more resistant to insect herbivores but whether this effect depends on climatic conditions is so far poorly understood. In particular, a forest’s resistance to herbivory may depend on mean annual temperature (MAT) as a key driver of plant and insect phenology. We carried out a global meta-analysis on regression coefficients between tree diversity and four aspects of insect herbivory, namely herbivore damage, abundance, incidence rate and species richness. To test for a potential shift of tree diversity effects along a global gradient of MAT we applied mixed-effects models and estimated grand mean effect sizes and the influence of MAT, experimental vs. observational studies and herbivores diet breadth. There was no overall effect of tree diversity on the pooled effect sizes of insect herbivore damage, abundance and incidence rate. However, when analysed separately, we found positive grand mean effect sizes for herbivore abundance and species richness. For herbivore damage and incidence rate we found a significant but opposing shift along a gradient of MAT indicating that with increasing MAT diversity effects on herbivore damage tend towards associational resistance whereas diversity effects on incidence rates tend towards associational susceptibility. Our results contradict previous meta-analyses reporting overall associational resistance to insect herbivores in mixed forests. Instead, we report that tree diversity effects on insect herbivores can follow a biogeographic pattern calling for further in-depth studies in this field. PMID:27835651

  13. Distance and Sex Determine Host Plant Choice by Herbivorous Beetles

    PubMed Central

    Ballhorn, Daniel J.; Kautz, Stefanie; Heil, Martin

    2013-01-01

    Background Plants respond to herbivore damage with the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This indirect defense can cause ecological costs when herbivores themselves use VOCs as cues to localize suitable host plants. Can VOCs reliably indicate food plant quality to herbivores? Methodology We determined the choice behavior of herbivorous beetles (Chrysomelidae: Gynandrobrotica guerreroensis and Cerotoma ruficornis) when facing lima bean plants (Fabaceae: Phaseolus lunatus) with different cyanogenic potential, which is an important constitutive direct defense. Expression of inducible indirect defenses was experimentally manipulated by jasmonic acid treatment at different concentrations. The long-distance responses of male and female beetles to the resulting induced plant volatiles were investigated in olfactometer and free-flight experiments and compared to the short-distance decisions of the same beetles in feeding trials. Conclusion Female beetles of both species were repelled by VOCs released from all induced plants independent of the level of induction. In contrast, male beetles were repelled by strongly induced plants, showed no significant differences in choice behavior towards moderately induced plants, but responded positively to VOCs released from little induced plants. Thus, beetle sex and plant VOCs had a significant effect on host searching behavior. By contrast, feeding behavior of both sexes was strongly determined by the cyanogenic potential of leaves, although females again responded more sensitively than males. Apparently, VOCs mainly provide information to these beetles that are not directly related to food quality. Being induced by herbivory and involved in indirect plant defense, such VOCs might indicate the presence of competitors and predators to herbivores. We conclude that plant quality as a food source and finding a potentially enemy-free space is more important for female than for male insect herbivores, whereas the presence of a

  14. Influence of host plant nitrogen fertilization on haemolymph protein profiles of herbivore Spodoptera exigua and development of its endoparasitoid Cotesia marginiventris

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nitrogen has complex effects on plant-herbivore-parasitoid tri-trophic interactions. The negative effects of host plant with low nitrogen fertilization on insect herbivores in many cases can be amplified to the higher trophic levels. In the present study, we examined the impact of varying ni...

  15. Assessing the consequences of global change for forest disturbance from herbivores and pathogens.

    PubMed

    Ayres, M P; Lombardero, M J

    2000-11-15

    Herbivores and pathogens impact the species composition, ecosystem function, and socioeconomic value of forests. Herbivores and pathogens are an integral part of forests, but sometimes produce undesirable effects and a degradation of forest resources. In the United States, a few species of forest pests routinely have significant impacts on up to 20 million ha of forest with economic costs that probably exceed $1 billion/year. Climatic change could alter patterns of disturbance from herbivores and pathogens through: (1) direct effects on the development and survival of herbivores and pathogens; (2) physiological changes in tree defenses; and (3) indirect effects from changes in the abundance of natural enemies (e.g. parasitoids of insect herbivores), mutualists (e.g. insect vectors of tree pathogens), and competitors. Because of their short life cycles, mobility, reproductive potential, and physiological sensitivity to temperature, even modest climate change will have rapid impacts on the distribution and abundance of many forest insects and pathogens. We identify 32 syndromes of biotic disturbance in North American forests that should be carefully evaluated for their responses to climate change: 15 insect herbivores, browsing mammals; 12 pathogens; 1 plant parasite; and 3 undiagnosed patterns of forest decline. It is probable that climatic effects on some herbivores and pathogens will impact on biodiversity, recreation, property value, forest industry, and even water quality. Some scenarios are beneficial (e.g. decreased snow cover may increase winter mortality of some insect pests), but many are detrimental (e.g. warming tends to accelerate insect development rate and facilitate range expansions of pests and climate change tends to produce a mismatch between mature trees and their environment, which can increase vulnerability to herbivores and pathogens). Changes in forest disturbance can produce feedback to climate through affects on water and carbon flux in

  16. Insect-Plant Relationships in Ecological Teaching.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fry, G. L. A.; Wratten, S. D.

    1979-01-01

    Discusses the current theories concerning the evolution of insect-plant relationships. Offers several experiments based on recent publications in this field, concerning relationships between herbivore number and plants' successional status, geographical range, geological history, and stage of growth, and also experiments on the chemical basis of…

  17. Insect destroyers of Tamarisk in southeastern Kazakhstan

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This monograph contains the results of research work on the insect herbivores of tamarisk in southeastern Kazakhstan, which were conducted annually for last 12 years (1994-2006), and also the information, obtained by one of the authors (Mityaev) in the mid-1950s. Studies were conducted within the f...

  18. Dynamics of glucosinolate-myrosinase system during Plutella xylostella interaction to a novel host Lepidium latifolium L.

    PubMed

    Kaur, Tarandeep; Bhat, Rohini; Khajuria, Manu; Vyas, Ruchika; Kumari, Anika; Nadda, Gireesh; Vishwakarma, Ram; Vyas, Dhiraj

    2016-09-01

    Plutella xylostella L. is a notorious pest of cruciferous crops causing worldwide losses of $4-5 billion per year. Developing classical biological control to this pest include an introduction of host plants that act as natural enemies showing deviation from the preference-performance regimen in the evolutionary ecology of plant-insect interactions. The present study was designed to understand the role of glucosinolate-myrosinase system during P. xylostella interactions with a novel host. Adult moth preference and larval performance study were conducted on a novel host Lepidium latifolium L. (LL) that has high sinigrin content and was compared with its laboratory host Arabidopsis thaliana (AT). The glucosinolate-myrosinase system was studied in a time course experiment during larval feeding in choice and no-choice experiments. Adult moths visit and prefers LL over AT for oviposition. Conversely, LL leaves were not preferred and proved detrimental for P. xylostella larvae. Aliphatic and indolic glucosinolates were found to decrease significantly (p≤0.05) in AT during initial 12h of P. xylostella challenge, whereas, they were not affected in LL. Also, MYB transcription factor expression and myrosinase activity in LL do not suggest a typical host response to a specialist insect. This preference-performance mismatch of P. xylostella on LL mediated by glucosinolate pattern suggests that this novel plant could be utilized in P. xylostella management.

  19. Genome-wide characterization and expression profiling of immune genes in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.)

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Xiaofeng; Yu, Liying; Xue, Minqian; Yu, Xiaoqiang; Vasseur, Liette; Gurr, Geoff M.; Baxter, Simon W.; Lin, Hailan; Lin, Junhan; You, Minsheng

    2015-01-01

    The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), is a destructive pest that attacks cruciferous crops worldwide. Immune responses are important for interactions between insects and pathogens and information on these underpins the development of strategies for biocontrol-based pest management. Little, however, is known about immune genes and their regulation patterns in P. xylostella. A total of 149 immune-related genes in 20 gene families were identified through comparison of P. xylostella genome with the genomes of other insects. Complete and conserved Toll, IMD and JAK-STAT signaling pathways were found in P. xylostella. Genes involved in pathogen recognition were expanded and more diversified than genes associated with intracellular signal transduction. Gene expression profiles showed that the IMD pathway may regulate expression of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes in the midgut, and be related to an observed down-regulation of AMPs in experimental lines of insecticide-resistant P. xylostella. A bacterial feeding study demonstrated that P. xylostella could activate different AMPs in response to bacterial infection. This study has established a framework of comprehensive expression profiles that highlight cues for immune regulation in a major pest. Our work provides a foundation for further studies on the functions of P. xylostella immune genes and mechanisms of innate immunity. PMID:25943446

  20. Genome-wide characterization and expression profiling of immune genes in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.).

    PubMed

    Xia, Xiaofeng; Yu, Liying; Xue, Minqian; Yu, Xiaoqiang; Vasseur, Liette; Gurr, Geoff M; Baxter, Simon W; Lin, Hailan; Lin, Junhan; You, Minsheng

    2015-05-06

    The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), is a destructive pest that attacks cruciferous crops worldwide. Immune responses are important for interactions between insects and pathogens and information on these underpins the development of strategies for biocontrol-based pest management. Little, however, is known about immune genes and their regulation patterns in P. xylostella. A total of 149 immune-related genes in 20 gene families were identified through comparison of P. xylostella genome with the genomes of other insects. Complete and conserved Toll, IMD and JAK-STAT signaling pathways were found in P. xylostella. Genes involved in pathogen recognition were expanded and more diversified than genes associated with intracellular signal transduction. Gene expression profiles showed that the IMD pathway may regulate expression of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes in the midgut, and be related to an observed down-regulation of AMPs in experimental lines of insecticide-resistant P. xylostella. A bacterial feeding study demonstrated that P. xylostella could activate different AMPs in response to bacterial infection. This study has established a framework of comprehensive expression profiles that highlight cues for immune regulation in a major pest. Our work provides a foundation for further studies on the functions of P. xylostella immune genes and mechanisms of innate immunity.

  1. [Evidence of long distance migration of diamondback moth (DBM) Plutella xylostella: a review].

    PubMed

    Xing, Kun; Ma, Chun-Sen; Han, Ju-Cai

    2013-06-01

    As cruciferous plants have been cultivated northwards due to climate warming, diamondback moth (DBM) Plutella xylostella is becoming a major pest in North China. The long distance migration of DBM not only induces its sudden outbreak over extensive areas, but also leads to its insecticide resistance by the spread of resistant genes in large area. To elucidate the long distance migration of DBM is of significance for early warning and decision-making in integrated pest managements. So far, the migration of DBM has not yet been systematically investigated in China. Here, we reviewed the literatures about the long distance migration of DBM at home and abroad, and summarized the related evidence: 1) DBM cannot overwinter in cold regions such as northern Japan, western Canada, and northeast China, where the DBM outbreak is presumed from elsewhere by long distance migration, 2) DBM adults are captured from seas, mountain tops, sea islands, and sky, etc., and the collection of large quantity of DBM presents the powerful direct evidence of DBM long distance migration, 3) the sudden increase of DBM in fields is consistent with the meteorological conditions such as the presence of nocturnal temperature inversion layer and the front passage, suggesting that these meteorological conditions supply suitable backgrounds for the insect migration, 4) the target insect characters identified by vertical insect looking radar is consistent with the measured DBM characters in laboratory and the trapping data from fields, confirming the long distance migration of DBM, 5) the biological characteristics and genetic variations of different DBM populations have no correlations with geographic distance, suggesting the frequent gene flows among the populations in different positions, and 6) the flight test of DBM indicates its long distance flight capacity, and the decreasing fitness of host plants is probably one of the trigger factors for the migration of DBM. Some future research directions

  2. Effects of local tree diversity on herbivore communities diminish with increasing forest fragmentation on the landscape scale.

    PubMed

    Peter, Franziska; Berens, Dana G; Farwig, Nina

    2014-01-01

    Forest fragmentation and plant diversity have been shown to play a crucial role for herbivorous insects (herbivores, hereafter). In turn, herbivory-induced leaf area loss is known to have direct implications for plant growth and reproduction as well as long-term consequences for ecosystem functioning and forest regeneration. So far, previous studies determined diverging responses of herbivores to forest fragmentation and plant diversity. Those inconsistent results may be owed to complex interactive effects of both co-occurring environmental factors albeit they act on different spatial scales. In this study, we investigated whether forest fragmentation on the landscape scale and tree diversity on the local habitat scale show interactive effects on the herbivore community and leaf area loss in subtropical forests in South Africa. We applied standardized beating samples and a community-based approach to estimate changes in herbivore community composition, herbivore abundance, and the effective number of herbivore species on the tree species-level. We further monitored leaf area loss to link changes in the herbivore community to the associated process of herbivory. Forest fragmentation and tree diversity interactively affected the herbivore community composition, mainly by a species turnover within the family of Curculionidae. Furthermore, herbivore abundance increased and the number of herbivore species decreased with increasing tree diversity in slightly fragmented forests whereas the effects diminished with increasing forest fragmentation. Surprisingly, leaf area loss was neither affected by forest fragmentation or tree diversity, nor by changes in the herbivore community. Our study highlights the need to consider interactive effects of environmental changes across spatial scales in order to draw reliable conclusions for community and interaction patterns. Moreover, forest fragmentation seems to alter the effect of tree diversity on the herbivore community, and thus

  3. ScaleNet: A literature-based model of scale insect biology and systematics

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) are small herbivorous insects found in all continents except Antarctica. They are extremely invasive, and many species are serious agricultural pests. They are also emerging models for studies of the evolution of genetic systems, endosymbiosis, and plant-insect i...

  4. Transgenerational acclimatization in an herbivore-host plant relationship.

    PubMed

    Cahenzli, Fabian; Erhardt, Andreas

    2013-04-07

    Twenty years ago, scientists began to recognize that parental effects are one of the most important influences on progeny phenotype. Consequently, it was postulated that herbivorous insects could produce progeny that are acclimatized to the host plant experienced by the parents to improve progeny fitness, because host plants vary greatly in quality and quantity, and can thus provide important cues about the resources encountered by the next generation. However, despite the possible profound implications for our understanding of host-use evolution of herbivores, host-race formation and sympatric speciation, intense research has been unable to verify transgenerational acclimatization in herbivore-host plant relationships. We reared Coenonympha pamphilus larvae in the parental generation (P) on high- and low-quality host plants, and reared the offspring (F(1)) of both treatments again on high- and low-quality plants. We tested not only for maternal effects, as most previous studies, but also for paternal effects. Our results show that parents experiencing predictive cues on their host plant can indeed adjust progeny's phenotype to anticipated host plant quality. Maternal effects affected female and male offspring, whereas paternal effects affected only male progeny. We here verify, for the first time to our knowledge, the long postulated transgenerational acclimatization in an herbivore-host plant interaction.

  5. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliveira, Paulo S.; Freitas, André V. L.

    2004-12-01

    The Brazilian cerrado savanna covers nearly 2 million km2 and has a high incidence on foliage of various liquid food sources such as extrafloral nectar and insect exudates. These liquid rewards generate intense ant activity on cerrado foliage, making ant plant herbivore interactions especially prevalent in this biome. We present data on the distribution and abundance of extrafloral nectaries in the woody flora of cerrado communities and in the flora of other habitats worldwide, and stress the relevance of liquid food sources (including hemipteran honeydew) for the ant fauna. Consumption by ants of plant and insect exudates significantly affects the activity of the associated herbivores of cerrado plant species, with varying impacts on the reproductive output of the plants. Experiments with an ant plant butterfly system unequivocally demonstrate that the behavior of both immature and adult lepidopterans is closely related to the use of a risky host plant, where intensive visitation by ants can have a severe impact on caterpillar survival. We discuss recent evidence suggesting that the occurrence of liquid rewards on leaves plays a key role in mediating the foraging ecology of foliage-dwelling ants, and that facultative ant plant mutualisms are important in structuring the community of canopy arthropods. Ant-mediated effects on cerrado herbivore communities can be revealed by experiments performed on wide spatial scales, including many environmental factors such as soil fertility and vegetation structure. We also present some research questions that could be rewarding to investigate in this major neotropical savanna.

  6. Perception of insect feeding by plants.

    PubMed

    Bonaventure, G

    2012-11-01

    The recognition of phytophagous insects by plants induces a set of very specific responses aimed at deterring tissue consumption and reprogramming metabolism and development of the plant to tolerate the herbivore. The recognition of insects by plants requires the plant's ability to perceive chemical cues generated by the insects and to distinguish a particular pattern of tissue disruption. Relatively little is known about the molecular basis of insect perception by plants and the signalling mechanisms directly associated with this perception. Importantly, the insect feeding behaviour (piercing-sucking versus chewing) is a decisive determinant of the plant's defence response, and the mechanisms used to perceive insects from different feeding guilds may be distinct. During insect feeding, components of the saliva of chewing or piercing-sucking insects come into contact with plant cells, and elicitors or effectors present in this insect-derived fluid are perceived by plant cells to initiate the activation of specific signalling cascades. Although receptor-ligand interactions controlling insect perception have yet not been molecularly described, a significant number of regulatory components acting downstream of receptors and involved in the activation of defence responses against insects has been reported. Some of these regulators mediate changes in the phytohormone network, while others directly control gene expression or the redox state of the cell. These processes are central in the orchestration of plant defence responses against insects.

  7. Functional trait diversity across trophic levels determines herbivore impact on plant community biomass.

    PubMed

    Deraison, Hélène; Badenhausser, Isabelle; Loeuille, Nicolas; Scherber, Christoph; Gross, Nicolas

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the consequences of trophic interactions for ecosystem functioning is challenging, as contrasting effects of species and functional diversity can be expected across trophic levels. We experimentally manipulated functional identity and diversity of grassland insect herbivores and tested their impact on plant community biomass. Herbivore resource acquisition traits, i.e. mandible strength and the diversity of mandibular traits, had more important effects on plant biomass than body size. Higher herbivore functional diversity increased overall impact on plant biomass due to feeding niche complementarity. Higher plant functional diversity limited biomass pre-emption by herbivores. The functional diversity within and across trophic levels therefore regulates the impact of functionally contrasting consumers on primary producers. By experimentally manipulating the functional diversity across trophic levels, our study illustrates how trait-based approaches constitute a promising way to tackle existing links between trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning.

  8. Tropical forest loss and its multitrophic effects on insect herbivory.

    PubMed

    Morante-Filho, José Carlos; Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor; Lohbeck, Madelon; Tscharntke, Teja; Faria, Deborah

    2016-12-01

    Forest loss threatens biodiversity, but its potential effects on multitrophic ecological interactions are poorly understood. Insect herbivory depends on complex bottom-up (e.g., resource availability and plant antiherbivore defenses) and top-down forces (e.g., abundance of predators and herbivorous), but its determinants in human-altered tropical landscapes are largely unknown. Using structural equation models, we assessed the direct and indirect effects of forest loss on insect herbivory in 40 landscapes (115 ha each) from two regions with contrasting land-use change trajectories in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. We considered landscape forest cover as an exogenous predictor and (1) forest structure, (2) abundance of predators (birds and arthropods), and (3) abundance of herbivorous arthropods as endogenous predictors of insect leaf damage. From 12 predicted pathways, 11 were significant and showed that (1) leaf damage increases with forest loss (direct effect); (2) leaf damage increases with forest loss through the simplification of vegetation structure and its associated dominance of herbivorous insects (indirect effect); and further demonstrate (3) a lack of top-down control of herbivores by predators (birds and arthropods). We conclude that forest loss favors insect herbivory by undermining the bottom-up control (presumably reduced plant antiherbivore defense mechanisms) in forests dominated by fast-growing pioneer plant species, and by improving the conditions required for herbivores proliferation.

  9. The role of abscisic acid and water stress in root herbivore-induced leaf resistance.

    PubMed

    Erb, Matthias; Köllner, Tobias G; Degenhardt, Jörg; Zwahlen, Claudia; Hibbard, Bruce E; Turlings, Ted C J

    2011-01-01

    Herbivore-induced systemic resistance occurs in many plants and is commonly assumed to be adaptive. The mechanisms triggered by leaf-herbivores that lead to systemic resistance are largely understood, but it remains unknown how and why root herbivory also increases resistance in leaves. • To resolve this, we investigated the mechanism by which the root herbivore Diabrotica virgifera induces resistance against lepidopteran herbivores in the leaves of Zea mays. • Diabrotica virgifera infested plants suffered less aboveground herbivory in the field and showed reduced growth of Spodoptera littoralis caterpillars in the laboratory. Root herbivory did not lead to a jasmonate-dependent response in the leaves, but specifically triggered water loss and abscisic acid (ABA) accumulation. The induction of ABA by itself was partly responsible for the induction of leaf defenses, but not for the resistance against S. littoralis. Root-herbivore induced hydraulic changes in the leaves, however, were crucial for the increase in insect resistance. • We conclude that the induced leaf resistance after root feeding is the result of hydraulic changes, which reduce the quality of the leaves for chewing herbivores. This finding calls into question whether root-herbivore induced leaf-resistance is an evolved response.

  10. Trophic Interactions during Primary Succession: Herbivores Slow a Plant Reinvasion at Mount St. Helens.

    PubMed

    Fagan; Bishop

    2000-02-01

    Lupines (Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii), the earliest plant colonists of primary successional habitats at Mount St. Helens, were expected to strongly affect successional trajectories through facilitative effects. However, their effects remain localized because initially high rates of reinvasive spread were short lived, despite widespread habitat availability. We experimentally tested whether insect herbivores, by reducing plant growth and fecundity at the edge of the expanding lupine population, could curtail the rate of reinvasion and whether those herbivores had comparable impacts in the older, more successionally advanced core region. We found that removing insect herbivores increased both the areal growth of individual lupine plants and the production of new plants in the edge region, thereby accelerating the lupine's intrinsic rate of increase at the front of the lupine reinvasion. We found no such impacts of herbivory in the core region, where low plant quality or a complex of recently arrived natural enemies may hold herbivores in check. In the context of invasion theory, herbivore-mediated decreases in lupine population growth rate in the edge region translate into decreased rates of lupine spread, which we quantify here using diffusion models. In the Mount St. Helens system, decreased rate of lupine reinvasion will result in reductions in rates of soil formation, nitrogen input, and entrapment of seeds and detritus that are likely to postpone or alter trajectories of primary succession. If the type of spatial subtleties in herbivore effects we found here are common, with herbivory focused on the edge of an expanding plant population and suppressed or ineffective in the larger, denser central region (where the plants might be more readily noticed and studied), then insect herbivores may have stronger impacts on the dynamics of primary succession and plant invasions than previously recognized.

  11. Effects of temperature and drought on plant-herbivore interactions in soybean (Glycine max)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Climate change is predicted to cause continued increases in global temperatures, greater variability in precipitation and in some cases, more frequent insect pest outbreaks. Here we seek to understand how climate change might affect plant-herbivore interactions in soybean, by answering three questi...

  12. Nature, evolution and characterisation of rhizospheric chemical exudates affecting root herbivores

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Similarly as aboveground, root-feeding insect herbivores meet the necessity to locate and identify suitable resources. To do so in the darkness of the soil matrix, they mainly rely on root chemical exudations and therefore evolved a complex behavior and sense of smell. Because of their impact on cro...

  13. A physiological and behavioral mechanism for leaf-herbivore induced systemic root resistance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Indirect plant-mediated interactions between herbivores are important drivers of community composition in terrestrial ecosystems. Among the most striking examples are the strong indirect interactions between spatially separated leaf and root feeding insects sharing a host plant. Although leaf-feeder...

  14. Plant elicitor peptides are conserved signals regulating direct and indirect anti-herbivore defense

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insect-induced defenses occur in nearly all plants and are regulated by conserved signaling pathways. As the first described plant peptide signal, systemin regulates anti-herbivore defenses in the Solanaceae, but in other plant families peptides with analogous activity have remained elusive. In the ...

  15. Plant elicitor peptides are conserved signals regulating direct and indirect anti-herbivore defense

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insect-induced defenses occur in nearly all plants and are regulated by conserved signaling pathways. As the first described plant peptide signal, systemin regulates anti-herbivore defenses in the Solanaceae, but in other plant families peptides with analogous activity have remained elusive. In th...

  16. Plant reproductive allocation predicts herbivore dynamics across spatial and temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Miller, Tom E X; Tyre, Andrew J; Louda, Svata M

    2006-11-01

    Life-history theory suggests that iteroparous plants should be flexible in their allocation of resources toward growth and reproduction. Such plasticity could have consequences for herbivores that prefer or specialize on vegetative versus reproductive structures. To test this prediction, we studied the response of the cactus bug (Narnia pallidicornis) to meristem allocation by tree cholla cactus (Opuntia imbricata). We evaluated the explanatory power of demographic models that incorporated variation in cactus relative reproductive effort (RRE; the proportion of meristems allocated toward reproduction). Field data provided strong support for a single model that defined herbivore fecundity as a time-varying, increasing function of host RRE. High-RRE plants were predicted to support larger insect populations, and this effect was strongest late in the season. Independent field data provided strong support for these qualitative predictions and suggested that plant allocation effects extend across temporal and spatial scales. Specifically, late-season insect abundance was positively associated with interannual changes in cactus RRE over 3 years. Spatial variation in insect abundance was correlated with variation in RRE among five cactus populations across New Mexico. We conclude that plant allocation can be a critical component of resource quality for insect herbivores and, thus, an important mechanism underlying variation in herbivore abundance across time and space.

  17. Behavioral Avoidance - Will Physiological Insecticide Resistance Level of Insect Strains Affect Their Oviposition and Movement Responses?

    PubMed

    Nansen, Christian; Baissac, Olivier; Nansen, Maria; Powis, Kevin; Baker, Greg

    2016-01-01

    Agricultural organisms, such as insect herbivores, provide unique opportunities for studies of adaptive evolutionary processes, including effects of insecticides on movement and oviposition behavior. In this study, Brassica leaves were treated with one of two non-systemic insecticides and exposed to two individual strains (referred to as single or double resistance) of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) (DBM) exhibiting physiological resistance. Behavioral responses by these two strains were compared as part of characterizing the relative effect of levels of physiological resistance on the likelihood of insects showing signs of behavioral avoidance. For each DBM strain, we used choice bioassays to quantify two possible types of behavioral avoidance: 1) females ovipositing predominantly on leaf surfaces without insecticides, and 2) larvae avoiding insecticide-treated leaf surfaces. In three-choice bioassays (leaves with no pesticide, 50% coverage with pesticide, or 100% coverage with pesticide), females from the single resistance DBM strain laid significantly more eggs on water treated leaves compared to leaves with 100% insecticide coverage (both gamma-cyhalothrin and spinetoram). Females from the double resistance DBM strain also laid significantly more eggs on water treated leaves compared to leaves with 100% gamma-cyhalothrin, while moths did not adjust their oviposition behavior in response to spinetoram. Larvae from the single resistance DBM strain showed a significant increase in mobility in response to both insecticides and avoided insecticide-treated portions of leaves when given a choice. On the other hand, DBM larvae from the double resistance strain showed a significant decrease in mobility in response to insecticides, and they did not avoid insecticide-treated portions of leaves when given a choice. Our results suggest that pest populations with physiological resistance may show behavioral avoidance, as resistant females avoided oviposition on

  18. Behavioral Avoidance - Will Physiological Insecticide Resistance Level of Insect Strains Affect Their Oviposition and Movement Responses?

    PubMed Central

    Nansen, Christian; Baissac, Olivier; Nansen, Maria; Powis, Kevin; Baker, Greg

    2016-01-01

    Agricultural organisms, such as insect herbivores, provide unique opportunities for studies of adaptive evolutionary processes, including effects of insecticides on movement and oviposition behavior. In this study, Brassica leaves were treated with one of two non-systemic insecticides and exposed to two individual strains (referred to as single or double resistance) of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) (DBM) exhibiting physiological resistance. Behavioral responses by these two strains were compared as part of characterizing the relative effect of levels of physiological resistance on the likelihood of insects showing signs of behavioral avoidance. For each DBM strain, we used choice bioassays to quantify two possible types of behavioral avoidance: 1) females ovipositing predominantly on leaf surfaces without insecticides, and 2) larvae avoiding insecticide-treated leaf surfaces. In three-choice bioassays (leaves with no pesticide, 50% coverage with pesticide, or 100% coverage with pesticide), females from the single resistance DBM strain laid significantly more eggs on water treated leaves compared to leaves with 100% insecticide coverage (both gamma-cyhalothrin and spinetoram). Females from the double resistance DBM strain also laid significantly more eggs on water treated leaves compared to leaves with 100% gamma-cyhalothrin, while moths did not adjust their oviposition behavior in response to spinetoram. Larvae from the single resistance DBM strain showed a significant increase in mobility in response to both insecticides and avoided insecticide-treated portions of leaves when given a choice. On the other hand, DBM larvae from the double resistance strain showed a significant decrease in mobility in response to insecticides, and they did not avoid insecticide-treated portions of leaves when given a choice. Our results suggest that pest populations with physiological resistance may show behavioral avoidance, as resistant females avoided oviposition on

  19. Tropical Plant–Herbivore Networks: Reconstructing Species Interactions Using DNA Barcodes

    PubMed Central

    García-Robledo, Carlos; Erickson, David L.; Staines, Charles L.; Erwin, Terry L.; Kress, W. John

    2013-01-01

    Plants and their associated insect herbivores, represent more than 50% of all known species on earth. The first step in understanding the mechanisms generating and maintaining this important component of biodiversity is to identify plant-herbivore associations. In this study we determined insect-host plant associations for an entire guild of insect herbivores using plant DNA extracted from insect gut contents. Over two years, in a tropical rain forest in Costa Rica (La Selva Biological Station), we recorded the full diet breadth of rolled-leaf beetles, a group of herbivores that feed on plants in the order Zingiberales. Field observations were used to determine the accuracy of diet identifications using a three-locus DNA barcode (rbcL, trnH-psbA and ITS2). Using extraction techniques for ancient DNA, we obtained high-quality sequences for two of these loci from gut contents (rbcL and ITS2). Sequences were then compared to a comprehensive DNA barcode library of the Zingiberales. The rbcL locus identified host plants to family (success/sequence = 58.8%) and genus (success/sequence = 47%). For all Zingiberales except Heliconiaceae, ITS2 successfully identified host plants to genus (success/sequence = 67.1%) and species (success/sequence = 61.6%). Kindt’s sampling estimates suggest that by collecting ca. four individuals representing each plant-herbivore interaction, 99% of all host associations included in this study can be identified to genus. For plants that amplified ITS2, 99% of the hosts can be identified to species after collecting at least four individuals representing each interaction. Our study demonstrates that host plant identifications at the species-level using DNA barcodes are feasible, cost-effective, and reliable, and that reconstructing plant-herbivore networks with these methods will become the standard for a detailed understanding of these interactions. PMID:23308128

  20. Tropical plant-herbivore networks: reconstructing species interactions using DNA barcodes.

    PubMed

    García-Robledo, Carlos; Erickson, David L; Staines, Charles L; Erwin, Terry L; Kress, W John

    2013-01-01

    Plants and their associated insect herbivores, represent more than 50% of all known species on earth. The first step in understanding the mechanisms generating and maintaining this important component of biodiversity is to identify plant-herbivore associations. In this study we determined insect-host plant associations for an entire guild of insect herbivores using plant DNA extracted from insect gut contents. Over two years, in a tropical rain forest in Costa Rica (La Selva Biological Station), we recorded the full diet breadth of rolled-leaf beetles, a group of herbivores that feed on plants in the order Zingiberales. Field observations were used to determine the accuracy of diet identifications using a three-locus DNA barcode (rbcL, trnH-psbA and ITS2). Using extraction techniques for ancient DNA, we obtained high-quality sequences for two of these loci from gut contents (rbcL and ITS2). Sequences were then compared to a comprehensive DNA barcode library of the Zingiberales. The rbcL locus identified host plants to family (success/sequence = 58.8%) and genus (success/sequence = 47%). For all Zingiberales except Heliconiaceae, ITS2 successfully identified host plants to genus (success/sequence = 67.1%) and species (success/sequence = 61.6%). Kindt's sampling estimates suggest that by collecting ca. four individuals representing each plant-herbivore interaction, 99% of all host associations included in this study can be identified to genus. For plants that amplified ITS2, 99% of the hosts can be identified to species after collecting at least four individuals representing each interaction. Our study demonstrates that host plant identifications at the species-level using DNA barcodes are feasible, cost-effective, and reliable, and that reconstructing plant-herbivore networks with these methods will become the standard for a detailed understanding of these interactions.

  1. Herbivore-induced resistance against microbial pathogens in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    De Vos, Martin; Van Zaanen, Wendy; Koornneef, Annemart; Korzelius, Jerôme P; Dicke, Marcel; Van Loon, L C; Pieterse, Corné M J

    2006-09-01

    Caterpillars of the herbivore Pieris rapae stimulate the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET) in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and trigger a defense response that affects insect performance on systemic tissues. To investigate the spectrum of effectiveness of P. rapae-induced resistance, we examined the level of resistance against different pathogens. Although the necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola is sensitive to JA-dependent defenses, herbivore-induced resistance was not effective against this pathogen. By contrast, caterpillar feeding significantly reduced disease caused by the bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato and Xanthomonas campestris pv armoraciae. However, this effect was apparent only locally in caterpillar-damaged tissue. Arabidopsis mutants jar1, coi1, ein2, sid2, eds5, and npr1 showed wild-type levels of P. rapae-induced protection against P. syringae pv tomato, suggesting that this local, herbivore-induced defense response does not depend exclusively on either JA, ET, or salicylic acid (SA). Resistance against the biotroph Turnip crinkle virus (TCV) requires SA, but not JA and ET. Nevertheless, herbivore feeding strongly affected TCV multiplication and TCV lesion formation, also in systemic tissues. Wounding alone was not effective, but application of P. rapae regurgitate onto the wounds induced a similar level of protection. Analysis of SA-induced PATHOGENESIS RELATED-1 (PR-1) expression revealed that P. rapae grazing primed Arabidopsis leaves for augmented expression of SA-dependent defenses. Pharmacological experiments showed that ET acts synergistically on SA-induced PR-1, suggesting that the increased production of ET upon herbivore feeding sensitizes the tissue to respond faster to SA, thereby contributing to an enhanced defensive capacity toward pathogens, such as TCV, that trigger SA-dependent defenses upon infection.

  2. Potato tuber herbivory increases resistance to aboveground lepidopteran herbivores.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Pavan; Ortiz, Erandi Vargas; Garrido, Etzel; Poveda, Katja; Jander, Georg

    2016-09-01

    Plants mediate interactions between aboveground and belowground herbivores. Although effects of root herbivory on foliar herbivores have been documented in several plant species, interactions between tuber-feeding herbivores and foliar herbivores are rarely investigated. We report that localized tuber damage by Tecia solanivora (Guatemalan tuber moth) larvae reduced aboveground Spodoptera exigua (beet armyworm) and Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm) performance on Solanum tuberosum (potato). Conversely, S. exigua leaf damage had no noticeable effect on belowground T. solanivora performance. Tuber infestation by T. solanivora induced systemic plant defenses and elevated resistance to aboveground herbivores. Lipoxygenase 3 (Lox3), which contributes to the synthesis of plant defense signaling molecules, had higher transcript abundance in T. solanivora-infested leaves and tubers than in equivalent control samples. Foliar expression of the hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HQT) and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase I (HMGR1) genes, which are involved in chlorogenic acid and steroidal glycoalkaloid biosynthesis, respectively, also increased in response to tuber herbivory. Leaf metabolite profiling demonstrated the accumulation of unknown metabolites as well as the known potato defense compounds chlorogenic acid, α-solanine, and α-chaconine. When added to insect diet at concentrations similar to those found in potato leaves, chlorogenic acid, α-solanine, and α-chaconine all reduced S. exigua larval growth. Thus, despite the fact that tubers are a metabolic sink tissue, T. solanivora feeding elicits a systemic signal that induces aboveground resistance against S. exigua and S. frugiperda by increasing foliar abundance of defensive metabolites.

  3. Diversity protects plant communities against generalist molluscan herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Fabian, Yvonne; Sandau, Nadine; Bruggisser, Odile T; Kehrli, Patrik; Aebi, Alexandre; Rohr, Rudolf P; Naisbit, Russell E; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2012-01-01

    Wildflower strips are used to increase natural enemies of crop pests and to conserve insect diversity on farmland. Mollusks, especially slugs, can affect the vegetation development in these strips considerably. Although recent theoretical work suggests that more diverse plant communities will exhibit greater resistance against herbivore pressure, empirical studies are scarce. We conducted a semi-natural experiment in wildflower strips, manipulating trophic structure (reduction in herbivorous mollusks and reduction in major predators) and plant diversity (2, 6, 12, 20 and 24 sown species). This design allowed us to assess the effect of plant diversity, biomass and composition on mollusks, and vice versa, the effect of mollusc abundance on vegetation. Seven species of mollusks were found in the strips, with the slugs Arion lusitanicus, Deroceras reticulatum and Deroceras panormitanum being most frequent. We found a negative relationship between plant diversity and mollusk abundance, which was due predominantly to a decrease in the agricultural pest species A. lusitanicus. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that plant diversity can reduce the impact of herbivores. However, plant identity also had an effect on mollusks, and accounted for a much larger fraction of the variation in mollusk communities than biodiversity effects. While overall plant diversity decreased during the 3 years of the study, in the final year the highest plant diversity was found in the plots where mollusk populations were experimentally reduced. We conclude that selective feeding by generalist herbivores leads to changes in plant community composition and hence reduced plant diversity. Our results highlight the importance of plant biodiversity as protection against generalist herbivores, which if abundant can in the long term negatively impact plant diversity, driving the system along a “low plant diversity – high mollusk abundance” trajectory. PMID:23145332

  4. Characterization of the mitochondrial genome of the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) and phylogenetic analysis of advanced moths and butterflies.

    PubMed

    Wei, Shu-Jun; Shi, Bao-Cai; Gong, Ya-Jun; Li, Qian; Chen, Xue-Xin

    2013-04-01

    Here we determined the mitochondrial genome sequence of a notorious pest, the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutoidea: Plutellidae). The mitochondrial genome contains 37 typical animal mitochondrial genes and an A+T-rich region. The gene arrangement is identical to that of other ditrysian lepidopteran mitochondrial genomes, but different from the ancestral gene arrangement in the non-ditrysian Hepialidae of Lepidoptera. The start codon of the cox1 gene is CGA, which is dissimilar to its homologs in most other insects. In Lepidoptera, cox1 and cox2 have low nucleotide diversities, while the nad6, nad2, and nad3 genes are highly variable. Phylogenetic analyses uncovered the reciprocal monophyly of Ditrysia, Apoditrysia, Obtectomera, and Macrolepidoptera, and the placement of the Hesperiidae within Papilionoidea. Our analyses suggest that the complete mitochondrial genome sequences are a promising marker toward fully resolving the phylogenetic relationships within Lepidoptera.

  5. To each its own: differential response of specialist and generalist herbivores to plant defence in willows.

    PubMed

    Volf, Martin; Hrcek, Jan; Julkunen-Tiitto, Riitta; Novotny, Vojtech

    2015-07-01

    Plant-insect food webs tend to be dominated by interactions resulting from diffuse co-evolution between plants and multiple lineages of herbivores rather than by reciprocal co-evolution and co-cladogenesis. Plants therefore require defence strategies effective against a broad range of herbivore species. In one extreme, plants could develop a single universal defence effective against all herbivorous insects, or tailor-made strategies for each herbivore species. The evolution and ecology of plant defence has to be studied with entire insect assemblages, rather than small subsets of pairwise interactions. The present study examines whether specialists and generalists in three coexisting insect lineages, forming the leaf-chewing guild, respond uniformly to plant phylogeny, secondary metabolites, nutrient content and mechanical antiherbivore defences of their hosts, thus permitting universal plant defence strategies against specialized and generalist folivorous insects from various taxa. The extensive data on folivorous assemblages comprising three insect orders and 193 species are linked with plant phylogeny, secondary chemistry (salicylates, flavonoids and tannins), leaf morphological traits [specific leaf area (SLA) and trichome coverage], nutrient (C : N) content and growth form of eight willow (Salix) and one aspen (Populus) species growing in sympatry. Generalists responded to overall host plant chemistry and trichomes, whilst specialists responded to host plant phylogeny and secondary metabolites that are unique to willows and that are capable of being utilized as an antipredator protection. We did not find any significant impact of other plant traits, that is SLA, C : N ratio, flavonoids, tannins and growth form, on the composition of leaf-chewing communities. Our results show that the response to plant traits is differential among specialists and generalists. This finding constrains the ability of plants to develop defensive traits universally effective

  6. Nonadaptive radiation: Pervasive diet specialization by drift in scale insects?

    PubMed

    Hardy, Nate B; Peterson, Daniel A; Normark, Benjamin B

    2016-10-01

    At least half of metazoan species are herbivorous insects. Why are they so diverse? Most herbivorous insects feed on few plant species, and adaptive host specialization is often invoked to explain their diversification. Nevertheless, it is possible that the narrow host ranges of many herbivorous insects are nonadaptive. Here, we test predictions of this hypothesis with comparative phylogenetic analyses of scale insects, a group for which there appear to be few host-use trade-offs that would select against polyphagy, and for which passive wind-dispersal should make host specificity costly. We infer a strong positive relationship between host range and diversification rate, and a marked asymmetry in cladogenetic changes in diet breadth. These results are consonant with a system of pervasive nonadaptive host specialization in which small, drift- and extinction-prone populations are frequently isolated from persistent and polyphagous source populations. They also contrast with the negative relationship between diet breadth and taxonomic diversification that has been estimated in butterflies, a disparity that likely stems from differences in the average costs and benefits of host specificity and generalism in scale insects versus butterflies. Our results indicate the potential for nonadaptive processes to be important to diet-breadth evolution and taxonomic diversification across herbivorous insects.

  7. Protein tyrosine phosphatase encoded in Cotesia plutellae bracovirus suppresses a larva-to-pupa metamorphosis of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jiwan; Hepat, Rahul; Lee, Daeweon; Kim, Yonggyun

    2013-09-01

    Parasitization by an endoparasitoid wasp, Cotesia plutellae, inhibits a larva-to-pupa metamorphosis of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. This study tested an inhibitory effect of C. plutellae bracovirus (CpBV) on the metamorphosis of P. xylostella. Parasitized P. xylostella exhibited significantly reduced prothoracic gland (PTG) development at the last instar compared to nonparasitized larvae. Expression of the ecdysone receptor (EcR) was markedly suppressed during the last instar larvae parasitized by C. plutellae. By contrast, expression of the insulin receptor (InR) significantly increased in the parasitized larvae. Microinjection of CpBV significantly inhibited the larva-to-pupa metamorphosis of nonparasitized larvae in a dose-dependent manner. Injection of CpBV also inhibited the expression of the EcR and increased the expression of the InR. Individual CpBV segments were transiently expressed in its encoded genes in nonparasitized larvae and screened to determine antimetamorphic viral gene(s). Out of 21 CpBV segments, two viral segments (CpBV-S22 and CpBV-S27) were proved to inhibit larva-to-pupa metamorphosis by transient expression assay. RNA interference of each gene encoded in the viral segments was applied to determine antimetamorphic gene(s). Protein tyrosine phosphatase, early expressed gene, and four hypothetical genes were selected to be associated with the antimetamorphic activity of CpBV. These results suggest that antimetamorphosis of P. xylostella parasitized by C. plutellae is induced by inhibiting PTG development and subsequent ecdysteroid signaling with viral factors of CpBV.

  8. Insect herbivory on C3 and C4 grasses.

    PubMed

    Boutton, Thomas W; Cameron, Guy N; Smith, Bruce N

    1978-01-01

    This study tested the hypothesis that grasses with the C4 photosynthetic pathway are avoided as a food source by insect herbivores in natural communities. Insects were sampled from ten pairs of C3-C4 grasses and their distributions analyzed by paired comparisons tests. Results showed no statistically significant differences in herbivore utilization of C3-C4 species. However, there was a trend towards heavier utilization of C3 species when means for both plant groups were compared. In particular, Homoptera and Diptera showed heavier usage of C3 plants. Significant correlations between insect abundances and plant protein levels suggest that herbivores respond to the higher protein content of C3 grasses. δ(13)C values for six of the most common grasshopper species in the study area indicated that three species fed on C3 plants, two species fed on C4 plants, and one species consumed a mixture of C3 and C4 tissue.

  9. Constitutive and herbivore-inducible glucosinolate concentrations in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) leaves are not affected by Bt Cry1Ac insertion but change under elevated atmospheric CO2 and O3.

    PubMed

    Himanen, Sari J; Nissinen, Anne; Auriola, Seppo; Poppy, Guy M; Stewart, C Neal; Holopainen, Jarmo K; Nerg, Anne-Marja

    2008-01-01

    Glucosinolates are plant secondary compounds involved in direct chemical defence by cruciferous plants against herbivores. The glucosinolate profile can be affected by abiotic and biotic environmental stimuli. We studied changes in glucosinolate patterns in leaves of non-transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus ssp. oleifera) under elevated atmospheric CO2 or ozone (O3) concentrations and compared them with those from transgenic for herbivore-resistance (Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac endotoxin), to assess herbivory dynamics. Both elevated CO2 and O3 levels decreased indolic glucosinolate concentrations in transgenic and non-transgenic lines, whereas O3 specifically increased the concentration of an aromatic glucosinolate, 2-phenylethylglucosinolate. The herbivore-inducible indolic glucosinolate response was reduced in elevated O3 whereas elevated CO2 altered the induction dynamics of indolic and aliphatic glucosinolates. Herbivore-resistant Bt plants experienced minimal leaf damage after target herbivore Plutella xylostella feeding, but exhibited comparatively similar increase in glucosinolate concentrations after herbivory as non-transgenic plants, indicating that the endogenous glucosinolate defence was not severely compromised by transgenic modifications. The observed differences in constitutive and inducible glucosinolate concentrations of oilseed rape under elevated atmospheric CO2 and O3 might have implications for plant-herbivore interactions in Brassica crop-ecosystems in future climate scenarios.

  10. Exploiting natural variation to identify insect-resistance genes.

    PubMed

    Broekgaarden, Colette; Snoeren, Tjeerd A L; Dicke, Marcel; Vosman, Ben

    2011-10-01

    Herbivorous insects are widespread and often serious constraints to crop production. The use of insect-resistant crops is a very effective way to control insect pests in agriculture, and the development of such crops can be greatly enhanced by knowledge on plant resistance mechanisms and the genes involved. Plants have evolved diverse ways to cope with insect attack that has resulted in natural variation for resistance towards herbivorous insects. Studying the molecular genetics and transcriptional background of this variation has facilitated the identification of resistance genes and processes that lead to resistance against insects. With the development of new technologies, molecular studies are not restricted to model plants anymore. This review addresses the need to exploit natural variation in resistance towards insects to increase our knowledge on resistance mechanisms and the genes involved. We will discuss how this knowledge can be exploited in breeding programmes to provide sustainable crop protection against insect pests. Additionally, we discuss the current status of genetic research on insect-resistance genes. We conclude that insect-resistance mechanisms are still unclear at the molecular level and that exploiting natural variation with novel technologies will contribute greatly to the development of insect-resistant crop varieties.

  11. Hijacking common mycorrhizal networks for herbivore-induced defence signal transfer between tomato plants.

    PubMed

    Song, Yuan Yuan; Ye, Mao; Li, Chuanyou; He, Xinhua; Zhu-Salzman, Keyan; Wang, Rui Long; Su, Yi Juan; Luo, Shi Ming; Zeng, Ren Sen

    2014-01-28

    Common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) link multiple plants together. We hypothesized that CMNs can serve as an underground conduit for transferring herbivore-induced defence signals. We established CMN between two tomato plants in pots with mycorrhizal fungus Funneliformis mosseae, challenged a 'donor' plant with caterpillar Spodoptera litura, and investigated defence responses and insect resistance in neighbouring CMN-connected 'receiver' plants. After CMN establishment caterpillar infestation on 'donor' plant led to increased insect resistance and activities of putative defensive enzymes, induction of defence-related genes and activation of jasmonate (JA) pathway in the 'receiver' plant. However, use of a JA biosynthesis defective mutant spr2 as 'donor' plants resulted in no induction of defence responses and no change in insect resistance in 'receiver' plants, suggesting that JA signalling is required for CMN-mediated interplant communication. These results indicate that plants are able to hijack CMNs for herbivore-induced defence signal transfer and interplant defence communication.

  12. Avoiding incidental predation by mammalian herbivores: accurate detection and efficient response in aphids.

    PubMed

    Gish, Moshe; Dafni, Amots; Inbar, Moshe

    2011-09-01

    Mammalian herbivores eat plants that may also provide food and shelter for insects. The direct trophic effect of the browsing and grazing of mammalian herbivory on insects, which is probably prevalent in terrestrial ecosystems, has been mostly neglected by ecologists. We examined how the aphid Uroleucon sonchi L. deals with the danger of incidental predation by mammalian herbivores. We found that most (76%) of the aphids in a colony survive the ingestion of the plant by a feeding herbivore. They do so by sensing the combination of heat and humidity in the herbivore's breath and immediately dropping off the plant in large numbers. Their ability to sense the herbivore's breath or their tendency to drop off the plant weakens as ambient temperature rises. This could indicate a limitation of the aphids' sensory system or an adaptation that enables them to avoid the hostile conditions on a hot ground. Once on the ground, U. sonchi is highly mobile and capable of locating a new host plant by advancing in a pattern that differs significantly from random movement. The accurate and efficient defense mechanism of U. sonchi emphasizes the significance of incidental predation as a danger to plant-dwelling invertebrates.

  13. Avoiding incidental predation by mammalian herbivores: accurate detection and efficient response in aphids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gish, Moshe; Dafni, Amots; Inbar, Moshe

    2011-09-01

    Mammalian herbivores eat plants that may also provide food and shelter for insects. The direct trophic effect of the browsing and grazing of mammalian herbivory on insects, which is probably prevalent in terrestrial ecosystems, has been mostly neglected by ecologists. We examined how the aphid Uroleucon sonchi L. deals with the danger of incidental predation by mammalian herbivores. We found that most (76%) of the aphids in a colony survive the ingestion of the plant by a feeding herbivore. They do so by sensing the combination of heat and humidity in the herbivore's breath and immediately dropping off the plant in large numbers. Their ability to sense the herbivore's breath or their tendency to drop off the plant weakens as ambient temperature rises. This could indicate a limitation of the aphids' sensory system or an adaptation that enables them to avoid the hostile conditions on a hot ground. Once on the ground, U. sonchi is highly mobile and capable of locating a new host plant by advancing in a pattern that differs significantly from random movement. The accurate and efficient defense mechanism of U. sonchi emphasizes the significance of incidental predation as a danger to plant-dwelling invertebrates.

  14. Microbial detoxification in the gut of a specialist avian herbivore, the Greater Sage-Grouse.

    PubMed

    Kohl, Kevin D; Connelly, John W; Dearing, M Denise; Forbey, Jennifer Sorensen

    2016-07-01

    One function of the gut microbiota gaining recent attention, especially in herbivorous mammals and insects, is the metabolism of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs). We investigated whether this function exists within the gut communities of a specialist avian herbivore. We sequenced the cecal metagenome of the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), which specializes on chemically defended sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). We predicted that the cecal metagenome of the sage-grouse would be enriched in genes associated with the metabolism of PSMs when compared to the metagenome of the domestic chicken. We found that representation of microbial genes associated with 'xenobiotic degradation and metabolism' was 3-fold higher in the sage-grouse cecal metagenomes when compared to that of the domestic chicken. Further, we identified a complete metabolic pathway for the degradation of phenol to pyruvate, which was not detected in the metagenomes of the domestic chicken, bovine rumen or 14 species of mammalian herbivores. Evidence of monoterpene degradation (a major class of PSMs in sagebrush) was less definitive, although we did detect genes for several enzymes associated with this process. Overall, our results suggest that the gut microbiota of specialist avian herbivores plays a similar role to the microbiota of mammalian and insect herbivores in degrading PSMs.

  15. Sequential effects of root and foliar herbivory on aboveground and belowground induced plant defense responses and insect performance.

    PubMed

    Wang, Minggang; Biere, Arjen; Van der Putten, Wim H; Bezemer, T Martijn

    2014-05-01

    Plants are often simultaneously or sequentially attacked by multiple herbivores and changes in host plants induced by one herbivore can influence the performance of other herbivores. We examined how sequential feeding on the plant Plantago lanceolata by the aboveground herbivore Spodoptera exigua and the belowground herbivore Agriotes lineatus influences plant defense and the performance of both insects. Belowground herbivory caused a reduction in the food consumption by the aboveground herbivore independent of whether it was initiated before, at the same time, or after that of the aboveground herbivore. By contrast, aboveground herbivory did not significantly affect belowground herbivore performance, but significantly reduced the performance of later arriving aboveground conspecifics. Interestingly, belowground herbivores negated negative effects of aboveground herbivores on consumption efficiency of their later arriving conspecifics, but only if the belowground herbivores were introduced simultaneously with the early arriving aboveground herbivores. Aboveground-belowground interactions could only partly be explained by induced changes in an important class of defense compounds, iridoid glycosides (IGs). Belowground herbivory caused a reduction in IGs in roots without affecting shoot levels, while aboveground herbivory increased IG levels in roots in the short term (4 days) but only in the shoots in the longer term (17 days). We conclude that the sequence of aboveground and belowground herbivory is important in interactions between aboveground and belowground herbivores and that knowledge on the timing of exposure is essential to predict outcomes of aboveground-belowground interactions.

  16. Herbivore-mediated material fluxes in a northern deciduous forest under elevated carbon dioxide and ozone concentrations.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Timothy D; Couture, John J; Bennett, Alison E; Lindroth, Richard L

    2014-10-01

    Anthropogenic changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) and ozone (O3 ) are known to alter tree physiology and growth, but the cascading effects on herbivore communities and herbivore-mediated nutrient cycling are poorly understood. We sampled herbivore frass, herbivore-mediated greenfall, and leaf-litter deposition in temperate forest stands under elevated CO2 (c. 560 ppm) and O3 (c. 1.5× ambient), analyzed substrate chemical composition, and compared the quality and quantity of fluxes under multiple atmospheric treatments. Leaf-chewing herbivores fluxed 6.2 g m(-2)  yr(-1) of frass and greenfall from the canopy to the forest floor, with a carbon : nitrogen (C : N) ratio 32% lower than that of leaf litter. Herbivore fluxes of dry matter, C, condensed tannins, and N increased under elevated CO2 (35, 32, 63 and 39%, respectively), while fluxes of N decreased (18%) under elevated O3 . Herbivore-mediated dry matter inputs scaled across atmospheric treatments as a constant proportion of leaf-litter inputs. Increased fluxes under elevated CO2 were consistent with increased herbivore consumption and abundance, and with increased plant growth and soil respiration, previously reported for this experimental site. Results suggest that insect herbivory will reinforce other factors, such as photosynthetic rate and fine-root production, impacting C sequestration by forests in future environments.

  17. Binding of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac Toxin to Aminopeptidase in Susceptible and Resistant Diamondback Moths (Plutella xylostella)

    PubMed Central

    Luo, K.; Tabashnik, B. E.; Adang, M. J.

    1997-01-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac toxin bound to a 120-kDa protein isolated from the brush border membranes of both susceptible and resistant larvae of Plutella xylostella, the diamondback moth. The 120-kDa protein was purified by Cry1Ac toxin affinity chromatography. Like Cry1Ac-binding aminopeptidase N (EC 3.4.11.2) from other insects, this protein was eluted from the affinity column with 200 mM N-acetylgalactosamine. The purified protein had aminopeptidase activity and bound Cry1Ac toxin on ligand blots. Purified aminopeptidase was recognized by antibodies to the cross-reacting determinant found on phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C-solubilized proteins. The results show that the presence of Cry1Ac-binding aminopeptidase in the brush border membrane is not sufficient to confer susceptibility to Cry1Ac. Furthermore, the results do not support the hypothesis that resistance to Cry1Ac was caused by lack of a Cry1Ac-binding aminopeptidase. PMID:16535536

  18. A single hot event that does not affect survival but decreases reproduction in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Wei; Zhao, Fei; Hoffmann, Ary A; Ma, Chun-Sen

    2013-01-01

    Extremely hot events (usually involving a few hours at extreme high temperatures in summer) are expected to increase in frequency in temperate regions under global warming. The impact of these events is generally overlooked in insect population prediction, since they are unlikely to cause widespread mortality, however reproduction may be affected by them. In this study, we examined such stress effects in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. We simulated a single extreme hot day (maximum of 40°C lasting for 3, 4 or 5 h) increasingly experienced under field conditions. This event had no detrimental effects on immediate mortality, copulation duration, mating success, longevity or lifetime fecundity, but stressed females produced 21% (after 3 or 4 h) fewer hatched eggs because of a decline in the number and hatching success of eggs laid on the first two days. These negative effects on reproduction were no longer evident in the following days. Male heat exposure led to a similar but smaller effect on fertile egg production, and exposure extended pre-mating period in both sexes. Our results indicate that a single hot day can have detrimental effects on reproduction, particularly through maternal effects on egg hatching, and thereby influence the population dynamics of diamondback moth.

  19. Molecular cloning and characterization of a P-glycoprotein from the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Tian, Lixia; Yang, Jiaqiang; Hou, Wenjie; Xu, Baoyun; Xie, Wen; Wang, Shaoli; Zhang, Youjun; Zhou, Xuguo; Wu, Qingjun

    2013-11-20

    Macrocyclic lactones such as abamectin and ivermectin constitute an important class of broad-spectrum insecticides. Widespread resistance to synthetic insecticides, including abamectin and ivermectin, poses a serious threat to the management of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), a major pest of cruciferous plants worldwide. P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a member of the ABC transporter superfamily, plays a crucial role in the removal of amphiphilic xenobiotics, suggesting a mechanism for drug resistance in target organisms. In this study, PxPgp1, a putative Pgp gene from P. xylostella, was cloned and characterized. The open reading frame (ORF) of PxPgp1 consists of 3774 nucleotides, which encodes a 1257-amino acid peptide. The deduced PxPgp1 protein possesses structural characteristics of a typical Pgp, and clusters within the insect ABCB1. PxPgp1 was expressed throughout all developmental stages, and showed the highest expression level in adult males. PxPgp1 was highly expressed in midgut, malpighian tubules and testes. Elevated expression of PxPgp1 was observed in P. xylostella strains after they were exposed to the abamectin treatment. In addition, the constitutive expressions of PxPgp1 were significantly higher in laboratory-selected and field-collected resistant strains in comparison to their susceptible counterpart.

  20. Proteomic and Properties Analysis of Botanical Insecticide Rhodojaponin III-Induced Response of the Diamondback Moth, Plutella xyllostella (L.)

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Xiaolin; Zhai, Yifan; Hu, Meiying; Zhong, Guohua; Huang, Wanjun; Zheng, Zhihua; Han, Pengfei

    2013-01-01

    Background Rhodojaponin III, as a botanical insecticide, affects a wide variety of biological processes in insects, including reduction of feeding, suspension of development, and oviposition deterring of adults in a dose-dependent manner. However, the mode of these actions remains obscure. Principal Findings In this study, a comparative proteomic approach was adopted to examine the effect of rhodojaponin III on the Plutella xyllostella (L.). Following treating 48 hours, newly emergence moths were collected and protein samples were prepared. The proteins were separated by 2-DE, and total 31 proteins were significantly affected by rhodojaponin III compared to the control identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS/MS. These differentially expressed proteins act in the nervous transduction, odorant degradation and metabolic change pathways. Further, gene expression patterns in treated and untreated moths were confirmed by qRT-PCR and western blot analysis. RNAi of the chemosensory protein (PxCSP) gene resulted in oviposition significantly increased on cabbage plants treated with rhodojaponin III. Conclusions These rhodojaponin III-induced proteins and gene properties analysis would be essential for a better understanding of the potential molecular mechanism of the response to rhodojaponin III from moths of P. xylostella. PMID:23861792

  1. IDENTIFICATION AND MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF TWO SERINE PROTEASES AND THEIR POTENTIAL INVOLVEMENT IN PROPHENOLOXIDASE ACTIVATION IN Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Gao, Gang; Xu, Xiao-Xia; Yu, Jing; Li, Lin-Miao; Ju, Wen-Yan; Jin, Feng-Liang; Freed, Shoaib

    2016-09-01

    The proteolytic activation of prophenoloxidase (proPO) is a humoral defense mechanism in insects and crustaceans. Phenoloxidase (PO) is produced as an inactive precursor namely, proPO and is activated via specific proteolytic cleavage by proPO-activating proteinase. The current research reports two novel serine proteinase genes (PxSP1-768 bp and PxSP2-816 bp) from Plutella xylostella, encoding 255 and 271 amino acid residues, respectively. Tissue distribution analyses by semiquantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) revealed the resultant genes to be primarily expressed in the hemocytes, while quantitative-RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) assay showed that transcription level of PxSP1 and PxSP2 increased significantly after injection of the fungal pathogen Beauveria bassiana. Purified recombinant fusion proteins of PxSP2 and PxSP1 were injected to New Zealand white rabbits and polyclonal antibodies were generated with the titers of 1:12,800. After silencing the expression of PxSP2 by RNAi, the PO activity decreased significantly. The results show that PxSP2 is involved in prophenoloxidase activation in P. xylostella.

  2. Molecular Cloning and Characterization of a P-Glycoprotein from the Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)

    PubMed Central

    Tian, Lixia; Yang, Jiaqiang; Hou, Wenjie; Xu, Baoyun; Xie, Wen; Wang, Shaoli; Zhang, Youjun; Zhou, Xuguo; Wu, Qingjun

    2013-01-01

    Macrocyclic lactones such as abamectin and ivermectin constitute an important class of broad-spectrum insecticides. Widespread resistance to synthetic insecticides, including abamectin and ivermectin, poses a serious threat to the management of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), a major pest of cruciferous plants worldwide. P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a member of the ABC transporter superfamily, plays a crucial role in the removal of amphiphilic xenobiotics, suggesting a mechanism for drug resistance in target organisms. In this study, PxPgp1, a putative Pgp gene from P. xylostella, was cloned and characterized. The open reading frame (ORF) of PxPgp1 consists of 3774 nucleotides, which encodes a 1257-amino acid peptide. The deduced PxPgp1 protein possesses structural characteristics of a typical Pgp, and clusters within the insect ABCB1. PxPgp1 was expressed throughout all developmental stages, and showed the highest expression level in adult males. PxPgp1 was highly expressed in midgut, malpighian tubules and testes. Elevated expression of PxPgp1 was observed in P. xylostella strains after they were exposed to the abamectin treatment. In addition, the constitutive expressions of PxPgp1 were significantly higher in laboratory-selected and field-collected resistant strains in comparison to their susceptible counterpart. PMID:24264038

  3. A Single Hot Event That Does Not Affect Survival but Decreases Reproduction in the Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Wei; Zhao, Fei; Hoffmann, Ary A.; Ma, Chun-Sen

    2013-01-01

    Extremely hot events (usually involving a few hours at extreme high temperatures in summer) are expected to increase in frequency in temperate regions under global warming. The impact of these events is generally overlooked in insect population prediction, since they are unlikely to cause widespread mortality, however reproduction may be affected by them. In this study, we examined such stress effects in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. We simulated a single extreme hot day (maximum of 40°C lasting for 3, 4 or 5 h) increasingly experienced under field conditions. This event had no detrimental effects on immediate mortality, copulation duration, mating success, longevity or lifetime fecundity, but stressed females produced 21% (after 3 or 4 h) fewer hatched eggs because of a decline in the number and hatching success of eggs laid on the first two days. These negative effects on reproduction were no longer evident in the following days. Male heat exposure led to a similar but smaller effect on fertile egg production, and exposure extended pre-mating period in both sexes. Our results indicate that a single hot day can have detrimental effects on reproduction, particularly through maternal effects on egg hatching, and thereby influence the population dynamics of diamondback moth. PMID:24116081

  4. Turnabout Is Fair Play: Herbivory-Induced Plant Chitinases Excreted in Fall Armyworm Frass Suppress Herbivore Defenses in Maize1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Alves, Patrick C.M.S.; Gaffoor, Iffa; Acevedo, Flor E.; Peiffer, Michelle; Jin, Shan; Han, Yang; Shakeel, Samina; Felton, Gary W.

    2016-01-01

    The perception of herbivory by plants is known to be triggered by the deposition of insect-derived factors such as saliva and oral secretions, oviposition materials, and even feces. Such insect-derived materials harbor chemical cues that may elicit herbivore and/or pathogen-induced defenses in plants. Several insect-derived molecules that trigger herbivore-induced defenses in plants are known; however, insect-derived molecules suppressing them are largely unknown. In this study, we identified two plant chitinases from fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) larval frass that suppress herbivore defenses while simultaneously inducing pathogen defenses in maize (Zea mays). Fall armyworm larvae feed in enclosed whorls of maize plants, where frass accumulates over extended periods of time in close proximity to damaged leaf tissue. Our study shows that maize chitinases, Pr4 and Endochitinase A, are induced during herbivory and subsequently deposited on the host with the feces. These plant chitinases mediate the suppression of herbivore-induced defenses, thereby increasing the performance of the insect on the host. Pr4 and Endochitinase A also trigger the antagonistic pathogen defense pathway in maize and suppress fungal pathogen growth on maize leaves. Frass-induced suppression of herbivore defenses by deposition of the plant-derived chitinases Pr4 and Endochitinase A is a unique way an insect can co-opt the plant’s defense proteins for its own benefit. It is also a phenomenon unlike the induction of herbivore defenses by insect oral secretions in most host-herbivore systems. PMID:26979328

  5. Genetic diversity increases insect herbivory on oak saplings.

    PubMed

    Castagneyrol, Bastien; Lagache, Lélia; Giffard, Brice; Kremer, Antoine; Jactel, Hervé

    2012-01-01

    A growing body of evidence from community genetics studies suggests that ecosystem functions supported by plant species richness can also be provided by genetic diversity within plant species. This is not yet true for the diversity-resistance relationship as it is still unclear whether damage by insect herbivores responds to genetic diversity in host plant populations. We developed a manipulative field experiment based on a synthetic community approach, with 15 mixtures of one to four oak (Quercus robur) half-sib families. We quantified genetic diversity at the plot level by genotyping all oak saplings and assessed overall damage caused by ectophagous and endophagous herbivores along a gradient of increasing genetic diversity. Damage due to ectophagous herbivores increased with the genetic diversity in oak sapling populations as a result of higher levels of damage in mixtures than in monocultures for all families (complementarity effect) rather than because of the presence of more susceptible oak genotypes in mixtures (selection effect). Assemblages of different oak genotypes would benefit polyphagous herbivores via improved host patch location, spill over among neighbouring saplings and diet mixing. By contrast, genetic diversity was a poor predictor of the abundance of endophagous herbivores, which increased with individual sapling apparency. Plant genetic diversity may not provide sufficient functional contrast to prevent tree sapling colonization by specialist herbivores while enhancing the foraging of generalist herbivores. Long term studies are nevertheless required to test whether the effect of genetic diversity on herbivory change with the ontogeny of trees and local adaptation of specialist herbivores.

  6. Soil abiotic factors influence interactions between belowground herbivores and plant roots.

    PubMed

    Erb, Matthias; Lu, Jing

    2013-03-01

    Root herbivores are important ecosystem drivers and agricultural pests, and, possibly as a consequence, plants protect their roots using a variety of defensive strategies. One aspect that distinguishes belowground from aboveground plant-insect interactions is that roots are constantly exposed to a set of soil-specific abiotic factors. These factors can profoundly influence root resistance, and, consequently, the outcome of the interaction with belowground feeders. In this review, we synthesize the current literature on the impact of soil moisture, nutrients, and texture on root-herbivore interactions. We show that soil abiotic factors influence the interaction by modulating herbivore abundance and behaviour, root growth and resistance, beneficial microorganisms, as well as natural enemies of the herbivores. We suggest that abiotic heterogeneity may explain the high variability that is often encountered in root-herbivore systems. We also propose that under abiotic stress, the relative fitness value of the roots and the potential negative impact of herbivory increases, which may lead to a higher defensive investment and an increased recruitment of beneficial microorganisms by the plant. At the same time, both root-feeding herbivores and natural enemies are likely to decrease in abundance under extreme environmental conditions, leading to a context- and species-specific impact on plant fitness. Only by using tightly controlled experiments that include soil abiotic heterogeneity will it be possible to understand the impact of root feeders on an ecosystem scale and to develop predictive models for pest occurrence and impact.

  7. Maize Plants Recognize Herbivore-Associated Cues from Caterpillar Frass.

    PubMed

    Ray, Swayamjit; Gaffor, Iffa; Acevedo, Flor E; Helms, Anjel; Chuang, Wen-Po; Tooker, John; Felton, Gary W; Luthe, Dawn S

    2015-09-01

    Caterpillar behaviors such as feeding, crawling, and oviposition are known to induce defenses in maize and other plant species. We examined plant defense responses to another important caterpillar behavior, their defecation. Fall armyworms (FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda), a major threat to maize (Zea mays), are voracious eaters and deposit copious amounts of frass in the enclosed whorl tissue surrounding their feeding site, where it remains for long periods of time. FAW frass is composed of molecules derived from the host plant, the insect itself, and associated microbes, and hence provides abundant cues that may alter plant defense responses. We observed that proteins from FAW frass initially induced wound-responsive defense genes in maize; however, a pathogenesis-related (pr) defense gene was induced as the time after application increased. Elicitation of pathogen defenses by frass proteins was correlated with increased herbivore performance and reduced fungal pathogen performance over time. These responses differ from the typical plant response to oral secretions of the FAW. The results pave the way for identification of protein molecule(s) from the excretion of an herbivore that elicits pathogen defense responses while attenuating herbivore defenses in plants.

  8. Potential impacts of climate change on insect communities: a transplant experiment.

    PubMed

    Nooten, Sabine S; Andrew, Nigel R; Hughes, Lesley

    2014-01-01

    Climate change will have profound impacts on the distribution, abundance and ecology of all species. We used a multi-species transplant experiment to investigate the potential effects of a warmer climate on insect community composition and structure. Eight native Australian plant species were transplanted into sites approximately 2.5°C (mean annual temperature) warmer than their native range. Subsequent insect colonisation was monitored for 12 months. We compared the insect communities on transplanted host plants at the warmer sites with control plants transplanted within the species' native range. Comparisons of the insect communities were also made among transplanted plants at warmer sites and congeneric plant species native to the warmer transplant area. We found that the morphospecies composition of the colonising Coleoptera and Hemiptera communities differed markedly between transplants at the control compared to the warmer sites. Community structure, as described by the distribution of feeding guilds, was also found to be different between the controls and transplants when the entire Coleoptera and Hemiptera community, including non-herbivore feeding guilds, was considered. However, the structure of the herbivorous insect community showed a higher level of consistency between plants at control and warm sites. There were marked differences in community composition and feeding guild structure, for both herbivores and non-herbivores, between transplants and congenerics at the warm sites. These results suggest that as the climate warms, considerable turnover in the composition of insect communities may occur, but insect herbivore communities may retain elements of their present-day structure.

  9. Transcript and Protein Profiling Analysis of the Destruxin A-Induced Response in Larvae of Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Xiaolin; Fan, Jiqiao; Qiu, Baoli; Ren, Shunxiang

    2013-01-01

    Background Destruxins (dtxs) are the mycotoxin produced by certain entomopathogenic fungi, such as Metarhizium anisopliae, Aschersonia sp, Alternaria brassicae and Ophiosphaerella herpotrichae. It can affect a wide variety of biological processes in insects, including innate immune, Ca2+ channel in cells, and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Dtxs have been used as biological control agent for a long time, however, their molecular mechanism of action is still unknown. Principal Findings In this study, both digital gene expression (DGE) and two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) approaches were adopted to examine the effects of dtx A on Plutella xyllostella (L.) larvae. By using DGE and 2-DE analyses, 1584 genes and 42 protein points were identified as being up- or down regulated at least 2-fold in response to dtx A. Firstly, injection of dtx A to larvae accelerated the increase of peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP), which could activate the Toll signal pathway inducing production of antibacterial substances such as cecropin and gloverin. Dtx A also stimulated prophenoloxidase (proPO) system which plays an important role in innate immunity and leads to melanization of external organisms. Secondly, dtx A suppressed the expression of genes related to the Toll pathway, and induced expression of serine proteinase inhibitors (serpins), especially the serpin 2 that blocked process of the proPO system. Finally, other physiological process like xenobiotics detoxification, apoptosis, calcium signaling pathway and insect hormone biosynthesis, were also mediated in response to dtx A toxicity. Conclusions Transcript and protein profiling analyses will provide an insight into the potential molecular mechanism of action in P. xylostella larvae in response to dtx A. PMID:23585848

  10. Amino acid substitutions and intron polymorphism of acetylcholinesterase1 associated with mevinphos resistance in diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.).

    PubMed

    Yeh, Shih-Chia; Lin, Chia-Li; Chang, Cheng; Feng, Hai-Tung; Dai, Shu-Mei

    2014-06-01

    The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L., is the most destructive insect pest of Brassica crops in the world. It has developed resistance rapidly to almost every insecticide used for its control. Mevinphos, a fast degrading and slow resistance evocating organophosphorus insecticide, has been recommended for controlling P. xylostella in Taiwan for more than 40years. SHM strain of P. xylostella, with ca. 22-fold resistance to this chemical, has been established from a field SH strain by selecting with mevinphos since 1997. Three mutations, i.e., G892T, G971C, and T1156T/G leading to A298S, G324A, and F386F/V amino acid substitutions in acetylcholinesterase1 (AChE1), were identified in these two strains; along with three haplotype pairs and a polymorphic intron in AChE1 gene (ace1). Two genetically pure lines, i.e., an SHggt wild type with intron AS and an SHMTCN mutant carrying G892T, G971C, T1156T/G mutations and intron AR in ace1, were established by single pair mating and haplotype determination. The F1 of SHMTCN strain had 52-fold resistance to mevinphos in comparison with the F1 of SHggt strain. In addition, AChE1 of this SHMTCN population, which exhibited lower maximum velocity (Vmax) and affinity (Km), was less susceptible to the inhibition of mevinphos, with an I50 32-fold higher than that of the SHggt F1 population. These results imply that amino acid substitutions in AChE1 of SHMTCN strain are associated with mevinphos resistance in this insect pest, and this finding is important for insecticide resistance management of P. xylostella in the field.

  11. Interaction between Short-Term Heat Pretreatment and Fipronil on 2nd Instar Larvae of Diamondback Moth, Plutella Xylostella (Linn)

    PubMed Central

    Gu, Xiaojun; Tian, Sufen; Wang, Dehui; Gao, Fei; Wei, Hui

    2010-01-01

    Based on the cooperative virulence index (c.f.) and LC50 of fipronil, the interaction effect between short-term heat pretreatment and fipronil on 2nd instar larvae of diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus), was assessed. The results suggested that pretreatment of the tested insects at 30 °C for 2, 4 and 8h could somewhat decrease the toxicity of fipronil at all set concentrations. The LC50 values of fipronil increased after heat pretreatment and c.f. values in all these treatments were below zero. These results indicated that real mortalities were less than theoretical ones and antagonism was found in the treatments of fipronil at 0.39 and 0.78 mg/L after heat pretreatment at 30 °C at 2, 4 and 8 h. However, pretreatment at 30 °C for 12h could increase the toxicity of fipronil at all set concentrations, the LC50 of fipronil decreased after heat pretreatment and c.f. values in all these treatments were above zero, which indicated real mortalities were higher than theoretical ones. Pretreatment of the tested insects at 35 °C for 2, 4, 8 and 12h was found to increase the toxicity of fipronil at all set concentrations which resulted in the decrease of LC50 values of fipronil and c.f. above zero in all treatments with only one exception. Most interactions were assessed as synergism. The results indicated that cooperative virulence index (c.f.) may be adopted in hormetic effect assessment. PMID:20877489

  12. Phenotypic plasticity of plant response to herbivore eggs: effects on resistance to caterpillars and plant development.

    PubMed

    Pashalidou, Foteini G; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel; Fatouros, Nina E

    2013-03-01

    Herbivory induces direct resistance responses in plants that negatively affect subsequently colonizing herbivores. Moreover, eggs of herbivorous insects can also activate plant resistance, which in some cases prevents hatching larvae from feeding. Until now, plant-mediated effects of eggs on subsequent herbivory, and the specificity of such responses, have remained poorly understood. We studied the specificity and effects of plant resistance induced by herbivore egg deposition against lepidopteran larvae of species with different dietary breadths, feeding on a wild annual plant, the crucifer Brassica nigra. We examined whether this plant-mediated response affects the growth of caterpillars of a specialist (Pieris brassicae) that feeds on B. nigra leaves and flowers, and a generalist (Mamestra brassicae) that rarely attacks this wild crucifer. We measured growth rates of neonate larvae to the end of their second instar after the larvae had hatched on plants exposed to eggs vs. plants without eggs, under laboratory and semi-field conditions. Moreover, we studied the effects of egg deposition by the two herbivore species on plant height and flowering rate before and after larval hatching. Larvae of both herbivore species that developed on plants previously infested with eggs of the specialist butterfly P. brassicae gained less mass compared with larvae that developed on egg-free plants. Plants exposed to butterfly eggs showed accelerated plant growth and flowering compared to egg-free plants. Egg deposition by the generalist moth M. brassicae, in contrast, had no effect on subsequent performance by either herbivore species, or on plant development. Our results demonstrate that B. nigra plants respond differently to eggs of two herbivore species in terms of plant development and induced resistance to caterpillar attack. For this annual crucifer, the retardation of caterpillar growth in response to deposition of eggs by P. brassicae in combination with enhanced growth

  13. Insect Allergy.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hobart; Halverson, Sara; Mackey, Regina

    2016-09-01

    Insect bites and stings are common. Risk factors are mostly associated with environmental exposure. Most insect bites and stings result in mild, local, allergic reactions. Large local reactions and systemic reactions like anaphylaxis are possible. Common insects that bite or sting include mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas, biting midges, bees, and wasps. The diagnosis is made clinically. Identification of the insect should occur when possible. Management is usually supportive. For anaphylaxis, patients should be given epinephrine and transported to the emergency department for further evaluation. Venom immunotherapy (VIT) has several different protocols. VIT is highly effective in reducing systemic reactions and anaphylaxis.

  14. A Latex Metabolite Benefits Plant Fitness under Root Herbivore Attack.

    PubMed

    Huber, Meret; Epping, Janina; Schulze Gronover, Christian; Fricke, Julia; Aziz, Zohra; Brillatz, Théo; Swyers, Michael; Köllner, Tobias G; Vogel, Heiko; Hammerbacher, Almuth; Triebwasser-Freese, Daniella; Robert, Christelle A M; Verhoeven, Koen; Preite, Veronica; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Plants produce large amounts of secondary metabolites in their shoots and roots and store them in specialized secretory structures. Although secondary metabolites and their secretory structures are commonly assumed to have a defensive function, evidence that they benefit plant fitness under herbivore attack is scarce, especially below ground. Here, we tested whether latex secondary metabolites produced by the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) decrease the performance of its major native insect root herbivore, the larvae of the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), and benefit plant vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Across 17 T. officinale genotypes screened by gas and liquid chromatography, latex concentrations of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid β-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) were negatively associated with M. melolontha larval growth. Adding purified TA-G to artificial diet at ecologically relevant concentrations reduced larval feeding. Silencing the germacrene A synthase ToGAS1, an enzyme that was identified to catalyze the first committed step of TA-G biosynthesis, resulted in a 90% reduction of TA-G levels and a pronounced increase in M. melolontha feeding. Transgenic, TA-G-deficient lines were preferred by M. melolontha and suffered three times more root biomass reduction than control lines. In a common garden experiment involving over 2,000 T. officinale individuals belonging to 17 different genotypes, high TA-G concentrations were associated with the maintenance of high vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Taken together, our study demonstrates that a latex secondary metabolite benefits plants under herbivore attack, a result that provides a mechanistic framework for root herbivore driven natural selection and evolution of plant defenses below ground.

  15. A Latex Metabolite Benefits Plant Fitness under Root Herbivore Attack

    PubMed Central

    Huber, Meret; Epping, Janina; Schulze Gronover, Christian; Fricke, Julia; Aziz, Zohra; Brillatz, Théo; Swyers, Michael; Köllner, Tobias G.; Vogel, Heiko; Hammerbacher, Almuth; Triebwasser-Freese, Daniella; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Verhoeven, Koen; Preite, Veronica; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Plants produce large amounts of secondary metabolites in their shoots and roots and store them in specialized secretory structures. Although secondary metabolites and their secretory structures are commonly assumed to have a defensive function, evidence that they benefit plant fitness under herbivore attack is scarce, especially below ground. Here, we tested whether latex secondary metabolites produced by the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) decrease the performance of its major native insect root herbivore, the larvae of the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), and benefit plant vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Across 17 T. officinale genotypes screened by gas and liquid chromatography, latex concentrations of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid β-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) were negatively associated with M. melolontha larval growth. Adding purified TA-G to artificial diet at ecologically relevant concentrations reduced larval feeding. Silencing the germacrene A synthase ToGAS1, an enzyme that was identified to catalyze the first committed step of TA-G biosynthesis, resulted in a 90% reduction of TA-G levels and a pronounced increase in M. melolontha feeding. Transgenic, TA-G-deficient lines were preferred by M. melolontha and suffered three times more root biomass reduction than control lines. In a common garden experiment involving over 2,000 T. officinale individuals belonging to 17 different genotypes, high TA-G concentrations were associated with the maintenance of high vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Taken together, our study demonstrates that a latex secondary metabolite benefits plants under herbivore attack, a result that provides a mechanistic framework for root herbivore driven natural selection and evolution of plant defenses below ground. PMID:26731567

  16. Wide Host Ranges of Herbivorous Beetles? Insights from DNA Bar Coding

    PubMed Central

    Kishimoto-Yamada, Keiko; Kamiya, Koichi; Meleng, Paulus; Diway, Bibian; Kaliang, Het; Chong, Lucy; Itioka, Takao; Sakai, Shoko; Ito, Motomi

    2013-01-01

    There are very few studies that have investigated host-specificity among tropical herbivorous insects. Indeed, most of the trophic interactions of herbivorous insects in Southeast Asian tropical rainforests remain unknown, and whether polyphagous feeding is common in the herbivores of this ecosystem has not been determined. The present study employed DNA bar coding to reveal the trophic associations of adult leaf-chewing chrysomelid beetles in a Bornean rainforest. Plant material ingested by the adults was retrieved from the bodies of the insects, and a portion of the chloroplast rbcL sequence was then amplified from this material. The plants were identified at the family level using an existing reference database of chloroplast DNA. Our DNA-based diet analysis of eleven chrysomelid species successfully identified their host plant families and indicated that five beetle species fed on more than two families within the angiosperms, and four species fed on several families of gymnosperms and/or ferns together with multiple angiosperm families. These findings suggest that generalist chrysomelid beetles associated with ecologically and taxonomically distant plants constitute a part of the plant-insect network of the Bornean rainforest. PMID:24073210

  17. Evaluating trap crops for diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Badenes-Perez, Francisco R; Shelton, Anthony M; Nault, Brian A

    2004-08-01

    Potential trap crops for the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), were evaluated through a series of ovipositional preference and larval survival experiments in outdoor screenhouses in 2002 and 2003. Hosts examined as trap crops were glossy and waxy collards, Brassica oleracea L. variety acephala; Indian mustard, Brassica juncea (L.) Czern; and yellow rocket, Barbarea vulgaris (R. Br.) variety arcuata. More eggs were laid on the potential trap crops, with the exception of waxy collards, than on cabbage. When P. xylostella was offered multiple hosts at the same time, numbers of eggs laid on glossy collards, Indian mustard, and yellow rocket were 3, 18, and 12 times greater than on cabbage, respectively. Similarly, when P. xylostella was offered a single trap crop host and cabbage, numbers of eggs laid on glossy collards, Indian mustard, and yellow rocket were 300, 19, and 110 times greater than on cabbage, respectively. Our studies suggest differences in oviposition between the potential trap crops and cabbage were likely due to host volatiles, leaf morphology and color, or a combination of these factors, rather than to total leaf areas, leaf shape, or plant architecture. Two-choice tests with a Y-tube olfactometer indicated that plant volatiles were major factors in P. xylostella host preference. The percentage larval survival from egg to pupation was 22.2% on cabbage, 18.9% on waxy collards, and 24.4% on Indian mustard, whereas survival was significantly lower on glossy collards (6.7%) and yellow rocket (0%). Based on our tests, it seems that yellow rocket may be the best candidate for use as a trap crop for P. xylostella because it is highly attractive for oviposition, but larvae do not survive on it.

  18. Gut microbes may facilitate insect herbivory of chemically defended plants.

    PubMed

    Hammer, Tobin J; Bowers, M Deane

    2015-09-01

    The majority of insect species consume plants, many of which produce chemical toxins that defend their tissues from attack. How then are herbivorous insects able to develop on a potentially poisonous diet? While numerous studies have focused on the biochemical counter-adaptations to plant toxins rooted in the insect genome, a separate body of research has recently emphasized the role of microbial symbionts, particularly those inhabiting the gut, in plant-insect interactions. Here we outline the "gut microbial facilitation hypothesis," which proposes that variation among herbivores in their ability to consume chemically defended plants can be due, in part, to variation in their associated microbial communities. More specifically, different microbes may be differentially able to detoxify compounds toxic to the insect, or be differentially resistant to the potential antimicrobial effects of some compounds. Studies directly addressing this hypothesis are relatively few, but microbe-plant allelochemical interactions have been frequently documented from non-insect systems-such as soil and the human gut-and thus illustrate their potential importance for insect herbivory. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for insect diversification and coevolution with plants; for example, evolutionary transitions to host plant groups with novel allelochemicals could be initiated by heritable changes to the insect microbiome. Furthermore, the ecological implications extend beyond the plant and insect herbivore to higher trophic levels. Although the hidden nature of microbes and plant allelochemicals make their interactions difficult to detect, recent molecular and experimental techniques should enable research on this neglected, but likely important, aspect of insect-plant biology.

  19. Rapid report acetamiprid resistance and cross-resistance in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Ninsin, Kodwo D

    2004-09-01

    A 110-fold acetamiprid-resistant Plutella xylostella (L) strain was established after four selection experiments (in five generations) on a 9.5-fold resistant colony in the laboratory. The resistant strain did not show cross-resistance to chlorfluazuron or Bacillus thuringiensis subsp kurstaki Berliner, but displayed low resistance to cartap and phenthoate.

  20. Insect Keepers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moore, Virginia J.; Chessin, Debby A.; Theobald, Becky

    2010-01-01

    Insects are fascinating creatures--especially when you and your students get up close and personal with them! To that end, the authors facilitated an inquiry-based investigation with an emphasis on identification of the different types of insects found in the school yard, their characteristics, their habitat, and what they eat, while engaging the…

  1. Physical characteristics of Medicago truncatula calcium oxalate crystals determine their effectiveness in insect defense

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Plant structural traits can act as defense against herbivorous insects, causing them to avoid feeding on a given plant or tissue. Mineral crystals of calcium oxalate in leaves of Medicago truncatula Gaertn. have previously been shown to be effective deterrents of lepidopteran insect feeding. They ar...

  2. Structural and chemical insect defenses in calcium oxalate defective mutants of Medicago truncatula

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Plant structures can act as defense against herbivorous insects, causing them to avoid feeding on a given plant or tissue. Mineral crystals of calcium oxalate in leaves of Medicago truncatula Gaertn. are effective deterrents of lepidopteran feeding, and they inhibit conversion of leaves into insect ...

  3. Restoring a Maize Root Signal That Attracts Insect-killing Nematodes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    When attacked by insects, plants emit volatiles that can serve as foraging cues for natural enemies of herbivorous insects. It has been proposed that the emissions of these volatile signals can be manipulated to improve crop protection. Here we demonstrate the full potential of this strategy by re...

  4. Elevated air temperature alters an old-field insect community in a multi-factor climate change experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Villalpando, Sean; Williams, Ray; Norby, Richard J

    2009-01-01

    To address how multiple, interacting climate drivers may affect plant-insect community associations, we sampled the insect community from a constructed old-field plant community grown under simultaneous [CO2], temperature, and water manipulation. Insects were identified to morphospecies, assigned to feeding guilds and abundance, richness and evenness quantified. Warming significantly increased Order Thysanoptera abundance and reduced overall morphospecies richness and evenness. Non-metric multidimensional scaling clearly supported the effect of warming on insect community composition. Reductions in richness for herbivores and parasitoids suggest trophic-level effects within the insect community. Analysis of dominant insects demonstrated the effects of warming were limited to a relatively small number of morphospecies. Reported reductions in whole-community foliar N at elevated [CO2] unexpectedly did not result in any effects on herbivores. These results demonstrate climatic warming may alter certain insect communities via effects on insect species most responsive to higher temperature, contributing to a change in community structure.

  5. Herbivore pressure increases toward the equator

    PubMed Central

    Salazar, Diego; Marquis, Robert J.

    2012-01-01

    Increases in species diversity and density from higher to lower latitudes are well documented. Nevertheless, the consequences of these changes in diversity for structuring ecological communities and influencing biotic evolution are largely unknown. It is widely believed that this increase in species diversity is associated with increased intensity of ecological interactions closer to the equator. For plant–herbivore interactions in particular, the predictions are that, at lower latitudes, plants will be attacked by more individual herbivores, more herbivore species, and more specialized herbivores and, therefore, will suffer greater damage. We used a large-scale latitudinal transect from Mexico to Bolivia to quantify changes in leaf damage, diversity, and abundance of lepidopteran larvae on two widely distributed host species of the genus Piper (Piperaceae). We show that both density and species richness of herbivores were highest at the equator and decreased with increasing latitude, both northward and southward. Contrary to expectation, however, this increase in herbivore diversity was attributable to the addition of generalist not specialist species. Finally, and again contrary to expectation, the increase in herbivore density with decreasing latitude did not produce a corresponding damage gradient. We propose that the lack of a latitudinal concordance between increases in herbivore density and diversity with decreasing latitude, and the resulting herbivore damage, supports the hypothesis of better plant antiherbivore defenses at lower latitudes. Furthermore, the changes in the relative abundance of generalist vs. specialist species suggest that the nature of the selective pressure is intrinsically different between higher and lower latitudes. PMID:22802664

  6. Herbivore pressure increases toward the equator.

    PubMed

    Salazar, Diego; Marquis, Robert J

    2012-07-31

    Increases in species diversity and density from higher to lower latitudes are well documented. Nevertheless, the consequences of these changes in diversity for structuring ecological communities and influencing biotic evolution are largely unknown. It is widely believed that this increase in species diversity is associated with increased intensity of ecological interactions closer to the equator. For plant-herbivore interactions in particular, the predictions are that, at lower latitudes, plants will be attacked by more individual herbivores, more herbivore species, and more specialized herbivores and, therefore, will suffer greater damage. We used a large-scale latitudinal transect from Mexico to Bolivia to quantify changes in leaf damage, diversity, and abundance of lepidopteran larvae on two widely distributed host species of the genus Piper (Piperaceae). We show that both density and species richness of herbivores were highest at the equator and decreased with increasing latitude, both northward and southward. Contrary to expectation, however, this increase in herbivore diversity was attributable to the addition of generalist not specialist species. Finally, and again contrary to expectation, the increase in herbivore density with decreasing latitude did not produce a corresponding damage gradient. We propose that the lack of a latitudinal concordance between increases in herbivore density and diversity with decreasing latitude, and the resulting herbivore damage, supports the hypothesis of better plant antiherbivore defenses at lower latitudes. Furthermore, the changes in the relative abundance of generalist vs. specialist species suggest that the nature of the selective pressure is intrinsically different between higher and lower latitudes.

  7. Marine and terrestrial herbivores display convergent chemical ecology despite 400 million years of independent evolution.

    PubMed

    Rasher, Douglas B; Stout, E Paige; Engel, Sebastian; Shearer, Tonya L; Kubanek, Julia; Hay, Mark E

    2015-09-29

    Chemical cues regulate key ecological interactions in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They are particularly important in terrestrial plant-herbivore interactions, where they mediate both herbivore foraging and plant defense. Although well described for terrestrial interactions, the identity and ecological importance of herbivore foraging cues in marine ecosystems remain unknown. Here we show that the specialist gastropod Elysia tuca hunts its seaweed prey, Halimeda incrassata, by tracking 4-hydroxybenzoic acid to find vegetative prey and the defensive metabolite halimedatetraacetate to find reproductive prey. Foraging cues were predicted to be polar compounds but instead were nonpolar secondary metabolites similar to those used by specialist terrestrial insects. Tracking halimedatetraacetate enables Elysia to increase in abundance by 12- to 18-fold on reproductive Halimeda, despite reproduction in Halimeda being rare and lasting for only ∼36 h. Elysia swarm to reproductive Halimeda where they consume the alga's gametes, which are resource rich but are chemically defended from most consumers. Elysia sequester functional chloroplasts and halimedatetraacetate from Halimeda to become photosynthetic and chemically defended. Feeding by Elysia suppresses the growth of vegetative Halimeda by ∼50%. Halimeda responds by dropping branches occupied by Elysia, apparently to prevent fungal infection associated with Elysia feeding. Elysia is remarkably similar to some terrestrial insects, not only in its hunting strategy, but also its feeding method, defense tactics, and effects on prey behavior and performance. Such striking parallels indicate that specialist herbivores in marine and terrestrial systems can evolve convergent ecological strategies despite 400 million years of independent evolution in vastly different habitats.

  8. Heavy metal stress can prime for herbivore-induced plant volatile emission.

    PubMed

    Winter, Thorsten R; Borkowski, Lena; Zeier, Jürgen; Rostás, Michael

    2012-07-01

    Heavy metals are important pollutants that can severely impact ecological foodwebs. In addition to direct toxic effects, these contaminants have been suggested to disrupt chemical communication channels between plants and insects that rely on volatile organic compounds (VOCs). We investigated how different concentrations of copper (Cu) and cadmium (Cd) stress affect the capacity of Zea mays to synthesize VOCs in the presence and absence of herbivorous insects. Hydroponically grown maize exposed to a high and low concentration of either Cu or Cd showed stunted growth and lower photosynthetic capacities. Herbivores feeding on stressed plants also had attenuated growth rates. Heavy metal treatment alone did not induce VOC emission in maize plants; however, the higher Cu dose was found to prime for enhanced volatile production that can be triggered by caterpillar feeding. Cu stress correlated with increased levels of reactive oxygen species in roots and priming of herbivore-induced jasmonic acid in leaves. Plants challenged with Cd and herbivory did not differ in responses compared with herbivore-damaged controls with no heavy metals added to the substrate. For Cu stress, our results support the 'single biochemical mechanism for multiple stressors' model which predicts overlapping signalling and responses to abiotic and biotic stress factors.

  9. A below-ground herbivore shapes root defensive chemistry in natural plant populations.

    PubMed

    Huber, Meret; Bont, Zoe; Fricke, Julia; Brillatz, Théo; Aziz, Zohra; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2016-03-30

    Plants display extensive intraspecific variation in secondary metabolites. However, the selective forces shaping this diversity remain often unknown, especially below ground. Using Taraxacum officinale and its major native insect root herbivore Melolontha melolontha, we tested whether below-ground herbivores drive intraspecific variation in root secondary metabolites. We found that high M. melolontha infestation levels over recent decades are associated with high concentrations of major root latex secondary metabolites across 21 central European T. officinale field populations. By cultivating offspring of these populations, we show that both heritable variation and phenotypic plasticity contribute to the observed differences. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the production of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid β-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) is costly in the absence, but beneficial in the presence of M. melolontha, resulting in divergent selection of TA-G. Our results highlight the role of soil-dwelling insects for the evolution of plant defences in nature.

  10. A below-ground herbivore shapes root defensive chemistry in natural plant populations

    PubMed Central

    Huber, Meret; Bont, Zoe; Fricke, Julia; Brillatz, Théo; Aziz, Zohra; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Plants display extensive intraspecific variation in secondary metabolites. However, the selective forces shaping this diversity remain often unknown, especially below ground. Using Taraxacum officinale and its major native insect root herbivore Melolontha melolontha, we tested whether below-ground herbivores drive intraspecific variation in root secondary metabolites. We found that high M. melolontha infestation levels over recent decades are associated with high concentrations of major root latex secondary metabolites across 21 central European T. officinale field populations. By cultivating offspring of these populations, we show that both heritable variation and phenotypic plasticity contribute to the observed differences. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the production of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid β-d-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) is costly in the absence, but beneficial in the presence of M. melolontha, resulting in divergent selection of TA-G. Our results highlight the role of soil-dwelling insects for the evolution of plant defences in nature. PMID:27009228

  11. Salicylic Acid, a Plant Defense Hormone, Is Specifically Secreted by a Molluscan Herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Kästner, Julia; von Knorre, Dietrich; Himanshu, Himanshu; Erb, Matthias; Baldwin, Ian T.; Meldau, Stefan

    2014-01-01

    Slugs and snails are important herbivores in many ecosystems. They differ from other herbivores by their characteristic mucus trail. As the mucus is secreted at the interface between the plants and the herbivores, its chemical composition may play an essential role in plant responses to slug and snail attack. Based on our current knowledge about host-manipulation strategies employed by pathogens and insects, we hypothesized that mollusks may excrete phytohormone-like substances into their mucus. We therefore screened locomotion mucus from thirteen molluscan herbivores for the presence of the plant defense hormones jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA) and abscisic acid (ABA). We found that the locomotion mucus of one slug, Deroceras reticulatum, contained significant amounts of SA, a plant hormone that is known to induce resistance to pathogens and to suppress plant immunity against herbivores. None of the other slugs and snails contained SA or any other hormone in their locomotion mucus. When the mucus of D. reticulatum was applied to wounded leaves of A. thaliana, the promotor of the SA-responsive gene pathogenesis related 1 (PR1) was activated, demonstrating the potential of the mucus to regulate plant defenses. We discuss the potential ecological, agricultural and medical implications of this finding. PMID:24466122

  12. Isolation and expression analysis of a homolog of the 14-3-3 epsilon gene in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Yoo, Ji Yeon; Hwang, Se Hui; Han, Yeon Soo; Cho, Saeyoull

    2011-02-01

    A full-length 14-3-3 gene homolog (also referred to as the Px14-3-3 epsilon "ε" or Px14-3-3ε gene) was cloned from cDNA of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. The Px14-3-3 transcript is 789 nucleotides in length, and the predicted polypeptide is 263 amino acids in length, with a calculated molecular mass of 29.6 kDa. The Px14-3-3 gene contains the typical and predicted 14-3-3 domains and motifs. The amino acid sequence of the diamondback moth 14-3-3 gene is very similar to that of other insect epsilons (ε) but not to other insect zetas (ζ). In particular, the protein sequence of the Px14-3-3 gene shows high identity to the Bombyx mori epsilon (96.2%). Western blot analysis using an antibody against Px14-3-3ε verified the expression of 14-3-3ε in the larval, pupal, and adult stages. The Px14-3-3ε expression patterns in all the different tissue types were examined in the fourth instar larvae. Px14-3-3ε was detected in every tissue examined, including the body fat, hemocytes, brain, gut, and cuticle.

  13. A Specialist Herbivore Uses Chemical Camouflage to Overcome the Defenses of an Ant-Plant Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Susan R.; Reid, Ellen; Sapp, Joseph; Poveda, Katja; Royer, Anne M.; Posto, Amanda L.; Kessler, André

    2014-01-01

    Many plants and ants engage in mutualisms where plants provide food and shelter to the ants in exchange for protection against herbivores and competitors. Although several species of herbivores thwart ant defenses and extract resources from the plants, the mechanisms that allow these herbivores to avoid attack are poorly understood. The specialist insect herbivore, Piezogaster reclusus (Hemiptera: Coreidae), feeds on Neotropical bull-horn acacias (Vachellia collinsii) despite the presence of Pseudomyrmex spinicola ants that nest in and aggressively defend the trees. We tested three hypotheses for how P. reclusus feeds on V. collinsii while avoiding ant attack: (1) chemical camouflage via cuticular surface compounds, (2) chemical deterrence via metathoracic defense glands, and (3) behavioral traits that reduce ant detection or attack. Our results showed that compounds from both P. reclusus cuticles and metathoracic glands reduce the number of ant attacks, but only cuticular compounds appear to be essential in allowing P. reclusus to feed on bull-horn acacia trees undisturbed. In addition, we found that ant attack rates to P. reclusus increased significantly when individuals were transferred between P. spinicola ant colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that chemical mimicry of colony-specific ant or host plant odors plays a key role in allowing P. reclusus to circumvent ant defenses and gain access to important resources, including food and possibly enemy-free space. This interaction between ants, acacias, and their herbivores provides an excellent example of the ability of herbivores to adapt to ant defenses of plants and suggests that herbivores may play an important role in the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. PMID:25047551

  14. Biological Warfare of the Spiny Plant Introducing Pathogenic Microorganisms into Herbivore's Tissues.

    PubMed

    Halpern, Malka; Waissler, Avivit; Dror, Adi; Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2011-01-01

    Recently, it has been proposed that plants which have spines, thorns, and prickles use pathogenic aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, as well as pathogenic fungi, for defense against herbivores, especially vertebrates. Their sharp defensive appendages may inject various pathogenic agents into the body of the herbivores by piercing the outer defensive layer of the skin in a type of biological warfare. Here, we review data regarding the various bacterial taxa found on spines, as well as the medical literature regarding infections by bacteria and fungi related to spine injuries. We also present new evidence that, concerning the microbial flora, spines belonging to the palm tree Washingtonia filifera are probably a different habitat than the nondefensive green photosynthetic leaf surfaces. In addition, many plant species have microscopic internal and external spines (raphids and silica needles) which can also wound large herbivores as well as insects and other small invertebrate herbivores that usually attack in between large spines, prickles, and thorns. The large spines and sharp microscopic structures may inject not only the microorganisms that inhabit them into the herbivore's tissues, but also those preexisting on the skin surface or inside the digestive system of the herbivores and on the surface of nonspiny plant parts. A majority of the spiny plants visually advertise their spiny nature, a characteristic known as aposematism (warning coloration). The pathogenic microorganisms may sometimes be much more dangerous than the physical wounds inflicted by the spines. In accordance, we suggest that the possible cooperation or even just the random association of spines with pathogenic microorganisms contributed to the evolution of aposematism in spiny plants and animals. The role of these sharp defensive structures in inserting pathogenic viruses into the tissues of herbivores was never studied systematically and deserves special attention.

  15. Induced jasmonate signaling leads to contrasting effects on root damage and herbivore performance.

    PubMed

    Lu, Jing; Robert, Christelle Aurélie Maud; Riemann, Michael; Cosme, Marco; Mène-Saffrané, Laurent; Massana, Josep; Stout, Michael Joseph; Lou, Yonggen; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2015-03-01

    Induced defenses play a key role in plant resistance against leaf feeders. However, very little is known about the signals that are involved in defending plants against root feeders and how they are influenced by abiotic factors. We investigated these aspects for the interaction between rice (Oryza sativa) and two root-feeding insects: the generalist cucumber beetle (Diabrotica balteata) and the more specialized rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus). Rice plants responded to root attack by increasing the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid, whereas in contrast to in herbivore-attacked leaves, salicylic acid and ethylene levels remained unchanged. The JA response was decoupled from flooding and remained constant over different soil moisture levels. Exogenous application of methyl JA to the roots markedly decreased the performance of both root herbivores, whereas abscisic acid and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid did not have any effect. JA-deficient antisense 13-lipoxygenase (asLOX) and mutant allene oxide cyclase hebiba plants lost more root biomass under attack from both root herbivores. Surprisingly, herbivore weight gain was decreased markedly in asLOX but not hebiba mutant plants, despite the higher root biomass removal. This effect was correlated with a herbivore-induced reduction of sucrose pools in asLOX roots. Taken together, our experiments show that jasmonates are induced signals that protect rice roots from herbivores under varying abiotic conditions and that boosting jasmonate responses can strongly enhance rice resistance against root pests. Furthermore, we show that a rice 13-lipoxygenase regulates root primary metabolites and specifically improves root herbivore growth.

  16. Induced Jasmonate Signaling Leads to Contrasting Effects on Root Damage and Herbivore Performance1

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Jing; Robert, Christelle Aurélie Maud; Riemann, Michael; Cosme, Marco; Mène-Saffrané, Laurent; Massana, Josep; Stout, Michael Joseph; Lou, Yonggen; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    Induced defenses play a key role in plant resistance against leaf feeders. However, very little is known about the signals that are involved in defending plants against root feeders and how they are influenced by abiotic factors. We investigated these aspects for the interaction between rice (Oryza sativa) and two root-feeding insects: the generalist cucumber beetle (Diabrotica balteata) and the more specialized rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus). Rice plants responded to root attack by increasing the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid, whereas in contrast to in herbivore-attacked leaves, salicylic acid and ethylene levels remained unchanged. The JA response was decoupled from flooding and remained constant over different soil moisture levels. Exogenous application of methyl JA to the roots markedly decreased the performance of both root herbivores, whereas abscisic acid and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid did not have any effect. JA-deficient antisense 13-lipoxygenase (asLOX) and mutant allene oxide cyclase hebiba plants lost more root biomass under attack from both root herbivores. Surprisingly, herbivore weight gain was decreased markedly in asLOX but not hebiba mutant plants, despite the higher root biomass removal. This effect was correlated with a herbivore-induced reduction of sucrose pools in asLOX roots. Taken together, our experiments show that jasmonates are induced signals that protect rice roots from herbivores under varying abiotic conditions and that boosting jasmonate responses can strongly enhance rice resistance against root pests. Furthermore, we show that a rice 13-lipoxygenase regulates root primary metabolites and specifically improves root herbivore growth. PMID:25627217

  17. Contrasting effects of land use intensity and exotic host plants on the specialization of interactions in plant-herbivore networks.

    PubMed

    de Araújo, Walter Santos; Vieira, Marcos Costa; Lewinsohn, Thomas M; Almeida-Neto, Mário

    2015-01-01

    Human land use tends to decrease the diversity of native plant species and facilitate the invasion and establishment of exotic ones. Such changes in land use and plant community composition usually have negative impacts on the assemblages of native herbivorous insects. Highly specialized herbivores are expected to be especially sensitive to land use intensification and the presence of exotic plant species because they are neither capable of consuming alternative plant species of the native flora nor exotic plant species. Therefore, higher levels of land use intensity might reduce the proportion of highly specialized herbivores, which ultimately would lead to changes in the specialization of interactions in plant-herbivore networks. This study investigates the community-wide effects of land use intensity on the degree of specialization of 72 plant-herbivore networks, including effects mediated by the increase in the proportion of exotic plant species. Contrary to our expectation, the net effect of land use intensity on network specialization was positive. However, this positive effect of land use intensity was partially canceled by an opposite effect of the proportion of exotic plant species on network specialization. When we analyzed networks composed exclusively of endophagous herbivores separately from those composed exclusively of exophagous herbivores, we found that only endophages showed a consistent change in network specialization at higher land use levels. Altogether, these results indicate that land use intensity is an important ecological driver of network specialization, by way of reducing the local host range of herbivore guilds with highly specialized feeding habits. However, because the effect of land use intensity is offset by an opposite effect owing to the proportion of exotic host species, the net effect of land use in a given herbivore assemblage will likely depend on the extent of the replacement of native host species with exotic ones.

  18. Genome scale transcriptomics of baculovirus-insect interactions.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Quan; Nielsen, Lars K; Reid, Steven

    2013-11-12

    Baculovirus-insect cell technologies are applied in the production of complex proteins, veterinary and human vaccines, gene delivery vectors' and biopesticides. Better understanding of how baculoviruses and insect cells interact would facilitate baculovirus-based production. While complete genomic sequences are available for over 58 baculovirus species, little insect genomic information is known. The release of the Bombyx mori and Plutella xylostella genomes, the accumulation of EST sequences for several Lepidopteran species, and especially the availability of two genome-scale analysis tools, namely oligonucleotide microarrays and next generation sequencing (NGS), have facilitated expression studies to generate a rich picture of insect gene responses to baculovirus infections. This review presents current knowledge on the interaction dynamics of the baculovirus-insect system' which is relatively well studied in relation to nucleocapsid transportation, apoptosis, and heat shock responses, but is still poorly understood regarding responses involved in pro-survival pathways, DNA damage pathways, protein degradation, translation, signaling pathways, RNAi pathways, and importantly metabolic pathways for energy, nucleotide and amino acid production. We discuss how the two genome-scale transcriptomic tools can be applied for studying such pathways and suggest that proteomics and metabolomics can produce complementary findings to transcriptomic studies.

  19. RNAi-Mediated Knockdown of Serine Protease Inhibitor Genes Increases the Mortality of Plutella xylostella Challenged by Destruxin A

    PubMed Central

    Han, Pengfei; Fan, Jiqiao; Liu, Yu; Cuthbertson, Andrew G. S.; Yan, Shaoqiao; Qiu, Bao-Li; Ren, Shunxiang

    2014-01-01

    Destruxin A is a mycotoxin that is secreted by entomopathogenic fungi which has a broad-spectrum insecticidal effect. Previous transcript and protein profiling analysis showed that destruxin A has significant effects on the expression of serine protease inhibitor genes (serpin-2, 4, 5) in the larvae of Plutella xylostella. In the current study, we aimed to understand the role of serpins under application of destruxin A. We obtained two full-length cDNA sequences of P. xylostella serpins, named serpin-4 and serpin-5, and cloned the serpin-2 gene whose full-length has already been published. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these two serpin genes were highly clustered with other serpins associated with the immune response in other insects. The temporal and spatial expression of serpin-2, serpin-4 and serpin-5 were determined to be the highest in the fat body and hemolymph of 4th larval stage using qRT-PCR and western blot detection techniques. RNA interference (RNAi) mediated knockdown of P. xylostella serpin genes was carried out by microinjection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The expression levels of serpins decreased significantly after RNAi. Results showed that the depletion of serpins induced cecropins expression, increased phenoloxidase (PO) activity, body melanization and mortality in the larvae of P. xylostella under the same lethal concentration of destruxin A. The superimposed effects of serpins RNAi were similar with the destruxin A treatment upon mortality of P. xylostella larvae. We discovered for the first time that serpins play indispensable role in P. xylostella when challenged by destruxin A and deduced the possible function mechanism of destruxin A. Our findings are conducive to fully understanding the potential insecticidal mechanism of destruxin A and constitute a well-defined potential molecular target for novel insecticides. PMID:24837592

  20. Two novel sodium channel mutations associated with resistance to indoxacarb and metaflumizone in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xing-Liang; Su, Wen; Zhang, Jian-Heng; Yang, Yi-Hua; Dong, Ke; Wu, Yi-Dong

    2016-02-01

    Indoxacarb and metaflumizone belong to a relatively new class of sodium channel blocker insecticides (SCBIs). Due to intensive use of indoxacarb, field-evolved indoxacarb resistance has been reported in several lepidopteran pests, including the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella, a serious pest of cruciferous crops. In particular, the BY12 population of P. xylostella, collected from Baiyun, Guangdong Province of China in 2012, was 750-fold more resistant to indoxacarb and 70-fold more resistant to metaflumizone compared with the susceptible Roth strain. Comparison of complementary DNA sequences encoding the sodium channel genes of Roth and BY12 revealed two point mutations (F1845Y and V1848I) in the sixth segment of domain IV of the PxNav protein in the BY population. Both mutations are located within a highly conserved sequence region that is predicted to be involved in the binding sites of local anesthetics and SCBIs based on mammalian sodium channels. A significant correlation was observed among 10 field-collected populations between the mutant allele (Y1845 or I1848) frequencies (1.7% to 52.5%) and resistance levels to both indoxacarb (34- to 870-fold) and metaflumizone (1- to 70-fold). The two mutations were never found to co-exist in the same allele of PxNav , suggesting that they arose independently. This is the first time that sodium channel mutations have been associated with high levels of resistance to SCBIs. F1845Y and V1848I are molecular markers for resistance monitoring in the diamondback moth and possibly other insect pest species.

  1. RNAi-mediated knockdown of serine protease inhibitor genes increases the mortality of Plutella xylostella challenged by destruxin A.

    PubMed

    Han, Pengfei; Fan, Jiqiao; Liu, Yu; Cuthbertson, Andrew G S; Yan, Shaoqiao; Qiu, Bao-Li; Ren, Shunxiang

    2014-01-01

    Destruxin A is a mycotoxin that is secreted by entomopathogenic fungi which has a broad-spectrum insecticidal effect. Previous transcript and protein profiling analysis showed that destruxin A has significant effects on the expression of serine protease inhibitor genes (serpin-2, 4, 5) in the larvae of Plutella xylostella. In the current study, we aimed to understand the role of serpins under application of destruxin A. We obtained two full-length cDNA sequences of P. xylostella serpins, named serpin-4 and serpin-5, and cloned the serpin-2 gene whose full-length has already been published. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these two serpin genes were highly clustered with other serpins associated with the immune response in other insects. The temporal and spatial expression of serpin-2, serpin-4 and serpin-5 were determined to be the highest in the fat body and hemolymph of 4th larval stage using qRT-PCR and western blot detection techniques. RNA interference (RNAi) mediated knockdown of P. xylostella serpin genes was carried out by microinjection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The expression levels of serpins decreased significantly after RNAi. Results showed that the depletion of serpins induced cecropins expression, increased phenoloxidase (PO) activity, body melanization and mortality in the larvae of P. xylostella under the same lethal concentration of destruxin A. The superimposed effects of serpins RNAi were similar with the destruxin A treatment upon mortality of P. xylostella larvae. We discovered for the first time that serpins play indispensable role in P. xylostella when challenged by destruxin A and deduced the possible function mechanism of destruxin A. Our findings are conducive to fully understanding the potential insecticidal mechanism of destruxin A and constitute a well-defined potential molecular target for novel insecticides.

  2. Two novel sodium channel mutations associated with resistance to indoxacarb and metaflumizone in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xing-Liang; Su, Wen; Zhang, Jian-Heng; Yang, Yi-Hua; Dong, Ke; Wu, Yi-Dong

    2015-01-01

    Indoxacarb and metaflumizone belong to a relatively new class of sodium channel blocker insecticides (SCBIs). Due to intensive use of indoxacarb, field-evolved indoxacarb resistance has been reported in several lepidopteran pests including the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, a serious pest of cruciferous crops. In particular, the BY12 population of P. xylostella, collected from Baiyun, Guangdong province of China in 2012, was 750-fold more resistant to indoxacarb and 70-fold more resistant to metaflumizone compared with the susceptible Roth strain. Comparison of cDNA sequences encoding the sodium channel genes of Roth and BY12 revealed two point mutations (F1845Y and V1848I) in the 6th segment of domain IV of the PxNav protein in the BY population. Both mutations are located within a highly conserved sequence region that is predicted to be involved in the binding sites of local anesthetics and SCBIs based on mammalian sodium channels. A significant correlation was observed among ten field-collected populations between the mutant allele (Y1845 or I1848) frequencies (1.7% to 52.5%) and resistance levels to both indoxacarb (34- to 870-fold) and metaflumizone (1- to 70-fold). The two mutant alleles were never found to co-exist in the same allele of PxNav, suggesting that they arose independently. This is the first time that sodium channel mutations have been associated with high levels of resistance to SCBIs. F1845Y and V1848I are molecular markers for resistance monitoring in the diamondback moth and possibly other insect pest species. PMID:25850422

  3. Collapse of the world's largest herbivores.

    PubMed

    Ripple, William J; Newsome, Thomas M; Wolf, Christopher; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Everatt, Kristoffer T; Galetti, Mauro; Hayward, Matt W; Kerley, Graham I H; Levi, Taal; Lindsey, Peter A; Macdonald, David W; Malhi, Yadvinder; Painter, Luke E; Sandom, Christopher J; Terborgh, John; Van Valkenburgh, Blaire

    2015-05-01

    Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbivore species on Earth (body mass ≥100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are generally facing dramatic population declines and range contractions, such that ~60% are threatened with extinction. Nearly all threatened species are in developing countries, where major threats include hunting, land-use change, and resource depression by livestock. Loss of large herbivores can have cascading effects on other species including large carnivores, scavengers, mesoherbivores, small mammals, and ecological processes involving vegetation, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and fire regimes. The rate of large herbivore decline suggests that ever-larger swaths of the world will soon lack many of the vital ecological services these animals provide, resulting in enormous ecological and social costs.

  4. Local adaptation of Ruellia nudiflora (Acanthaceae) to biotic counterparts: complex scenarios revealed when two herbivore guilds are considered.

    PubMed

    Ortegón-Campos, I; Parra-Tabla, V; Abdala-Roberts, L; Herrera, C M

    2009-11-01

    This study evaluated whether the herb Ruellia nudiflora is locally adapted to a specialist insect seed predator (SP) and insect folivores, and if plant local adaptation (LA) to the former is more likely. A reciprocal transplant experiment was conducted using three sites in Yucatan (Mexico) (n = 864 plants). A third of the plants of each origin were placed at each site, and we recorded the following during a 9-month period: fruit number, leaf damage, and fruits attacked by SP. Results indicated lack of plant LA for all the variables measured. Instead, seed predation was c. 100% greater for native plants at one study site, suggesting insect LA or plant maladaptation; folivory was homogeneous across sites/origins. Based on these results, we discuss differences in the potential each herbivore guild has to promote plant LA, as well as divergent evolutionary outcomes of plant-herbivore interactions across sites.

  5. Phylogenetic composition of host plant communities drives plant-herbivore food web structure.

    PubMed

    Volf, Martin; Pyszko, Petr; Abe, Tomokazu; Libra, Martin; Kotásková, Nela; Šigut, Martin; Kumar, Rajesh; Kaman, Ondřej; Butterill, Philip T; Šipoš, Jan; Abe, Haruka; Fukushima, Hiroaki; Drozd, Pavel; Kamata, Naoto; Murakami, Masashi; Novotny, Vojtech

    2017-02-01

    Insects tend to feed on related hosts. The phylogenetic composition of host plant communities thus plays a prominent role in determining insect specialization, food web structure, and diversity. Previous studies showed a high preference of insect herbivores for congeneric and confamilial hosts suggesting that some levels of host plant relationships may play more prominent role that others. We aim to quantify the effects of host phylogeny on the structure of quantitative plant-herbivore food webs. Further, we identify specific patterns in three insect guilds with different life histories and discuss the role of host plant phylogeny in maintaining their diversity. We studied herbivore assemblages in three temperate forests in Japan and the Czech Republic. Sampling from a canopy crane, a cherry picker and felled trees allowed a complete census of plant-herbivore interactions within three 0·1 ha plots for leaf chewing larvae, miners, and gallers. We analyzed the effects of host phylogeny by comparing the observed food webs with randomized models of host selection. Larval leaf chewers exhibited high generality at all three sites, whereas gallers and miners were almost exclusively monophagous. Leaf chewer generality dropped rapidly when older host lineages (5-80 myr) were collated into a single lineage but only decreased slightly when the most closely related congeneric hosts were collated. This shows that leaf chewer generality has been maintained by feeding on confamilial hosts while only a few herbivores were shared between more distant plant lineages and, surprisingly, between some congeneric hosts. In contrast, miner and galler generality was maintained mainly by the terminal nodes of the host phylogeny and dropped immediately after collating congeneric hosts into single lineages. We show that not all levels of host plant phylogeny are equal in their effect on structuring plant-herbivore food webs. In the case of generalist guilds, it is the phylogeny of deeper

  6. Recent advances in plant-herbivore interactions

    PubMed Central

    Burkepile, Deron E.; Parker, John D.

    2017-01-01

    Plant-herbivore interactions shape community dynamics across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats. From amphipods to elephants and from algae to trees, plant-herbivore relationships are the crucial link generating animal biomass (and human societies) from mere sunlight. These interactions are, thus, pivotal to understanding the ecology and evolution of virtually any ecosystem. Here, we briefly highlight recent advances in four areas of plant-herbivore interactions: (1) plant defense theory, (2) herbivore diversity and ecosystem function, (3) predation risk aversion and herbivory, and (4) how a changing climate impacts plant-herbivore interactions. Recent advances in plant defense theory, for example, highlight how plant life history and defense traits affect and are affected by multiple drivers, including enemy pressure, resource availability, and the local plant neighborhood, resulting in trait-mediated feedback loops linking trophic interactions with ecosystem nutrient dynamics. Similarly, although the positive effect of consumer diversity on ecosystem function has long been recognized, recent advances using DNA barcoding to elucidate diet, and Global Positioning System/remote sensing to determine habitat selection and impact, have shown that herbivore communities are probably even more functionally diverse than currently realized. Moreover, although most diversity-function studies continue to emphasize plant diversity, herbivore diversity may have even stronger impacts on ecosystem multifunctionality. Recent studies also highlight the role of risk in plant-herbivore interactions, and risk-driven trophic cascades have emerged as landscape-scale patterns in a variety of ecosystems. Perhaps not surprisingly, many plant-herbivore interactions are currently being altered by climate change, which affects plant growth rates and resource allocation, expression of chemical defenses, plant phenology, and herbivore metabolism and behavior. Finally, we conclude by

  7. A novel mechanism of insect resistance engineered into tobacco

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hilder, Vaughan A.; Gatehouse, Angharad M. R.; Sheerman, Suzanne E.; Barker, Richard F.; Boulter, Donald

    1987-11-01

    A major goal of plant genetic engineering is the introduction of agronomically desirable phenotypic traits into crop plants in situations where conventional breeding methods have been unsuccessful. One such target is enhanced resistance to insect pests which, in view of the estimated production losses world-wide and the heavy costs of protective treatments, is very important. We report here that a gene encoding a cowpea trypsin inhibitor, which has been shown to give some measure of field resistance to insect pests1, confers, when transferred to tobacco, enhanced resistance to this species' own herbivorous insect pests.

  8. Increased temperature reduces herbivore host-plant quality.

    PubMed

    Bauerfeind, Stephanie S; Fischer, Klaus

    2013-11-01

    Globally increasing temperatures may strongly affect insect herbivore performance, as their growth and development is directly linked to ambient temperature as well as host-plant quality. In contrast to direct effects of temperature on herbivores, indirect effects mediated via thermal effects on host-plant quality are only poorly understood, despite having the potential to substantially impact performance and thereby to alter responses to the changing climatic conditions. We here use a full-factorial design to explore the direct (larvae were reared at 17 °C or 25 °C) and indirect effects (host plants were reared at 17 °C or 25 °C) of temperature on larval growth and life-history traits in the temperate-zone butterfly Pieris napi. Direct temperature effects reflected the common pattern of prolonged development and increased body mass at lower temperatures. At the higher temperature, efficiency of converting food into body matter was much reduced being accompanied by an increased food intake, suggesting compensatory feeding. Indirect temperature effects were apparent as reduced body mass, longer development time, an increased food intake, and a reduced efficiency of converting food into body matter in larvae feeding on plants grown at the higher temperature, thus indicating poor host-plant quality. The effects of host-plant quality were more pronounced at the higher temperature, at which compensatory feeding was much less efficient. Our results highlight that temperature-mediated changes in host-plant quality are a significant, but largely overlooked source of variation in herbivore performance. Such effects may exaggerate negative effects of global warming, which should be considered when trying to forecast species' responses to climate change.

  9. Nutrient fluxes from insect herbivory increase during ecosystem retrogression in boreal forest.

    PubMed

    Metcalfe, Daniel B; Crutsinger, Gregory M; Kumordzi, Bright B; Wardle, David A

    2016-01-01

    Ecological theory, developed largely from ungulates and grassland systems, predicts that herbivory accelerates nutrient cycling more in productive than unproductive systems. This prediction may be important for understanding patterns of ecosystem change over time and space, but its applicability to other ecosystems and types of herbivore remain uncertain. We estimated fluxes of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from herbivory of a common tree species (Betula pubescens) by a common species of herbivorous insect along a -5000-yr boreal chronosequence. Contrary to established theory, fluxes of N and P via herbivory increased along the chronosequence despite a decline in plant productivity. The herbivore-mediated N and P fluxes to the soil are comparable to the main alternative pathway for these nutrients via tree leaf litterfall. We conclude that insect herbivores can make large contributions to nutrient cycling even in unproductive systems, and influence the rate and pattern of ecosystem development, particularly in systems with low external nutrient inputs.

  10. Where do herbivore-induced plant volatiles go?

    PubMed Central

    Holopainen, Jarmo K.; Blande, James D.

    2013-01-01

    Herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are specific volatile organic compounds (VOC) that a plant produces in response to herbivory. Some HIPVs are only produced after damage, while others are also produced by intact plants, but in lower quantities. Among the known functions of HIPVs are within plant volatile signaling to activate systemic plant defenses, the priming and activation of defenses in neighboring plants and the attraction of natural enemies of herbivores. When released into the atmosphere a plant's control over the produced compounds ends. However, many of the HIPVs are highly reactive with atmospheric oxidants and their atmospheric life times could be relatively short, often only a few minutes. We summarise the potential ecological and atmospheric processes that involve the reaction products of HIPVs in their gaseous, liquid and solid secondary organic aerosol (SOA) forms, both in the atmosphere and after deposition on plant surfaces. A potential negative feedback loop, based on the reactions forming SOA from HIPVs and the associated stimulation of sun screening cloud formation is presented. This hypothesis is based on recent field surveys in the geographical areas facing the greatest degree of global warming and insect outbreaks. Furthermore, we discuss how these processes could benefit the individual plant or conspecifics that originally released the HIPVs into the atmosphere. Further ecological studies should aim to elucidate the possible reasons for biosynthesis of short-lived volatile compounds to have evolved as a response to external biotic damage to plants. PMID:23781224

  11. Complex Evolutionary Dynamics of Massively Expanded Chemosensory Receptor Families in an Extreme Generalist Chelicerate Herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Ngoc, Phuong Cao Thi; Greenhalgh, Robert; Dermauw, Wannes; Rombauts, Stephane; Bajda, Sabina; Zhurov, Vladimir; Grbić, Miodrag; Van de Peer, Yves; Van Leeuwen, Thomas; Rouzé, Pierre; Clark, Richard M.

    2016-01-01

    While mechanisms to detoxify plant produced, anti-herbivore compounds have been associated with plant host use by herbivores, less is known about the role of chemosensory perception in their life histories. This is especially true for generalists, including chelicerate herbivores that evolved herbivory independently from the more studied insect lineages. To shed light on chemosensory perception in a generalist herbivore, we characterized the chemosensory receptors (CRs) of the chelicerate two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, an extreme generalist. Strikingly, T. urticae has more CRs than reported in any other arthropod to date. Including pseudogenes, 689 gustatory receptors were identified, as were 136 degenerin/Epithelial Na+ Channels (ENaCs) that have also been implicated as CRs in insects. The genomic distribution of T. urticae gustatory receptors indicates recurring bursts of lineage-specific proliferations, with the extent of receptor clusters reminiscent of those observed in the CR-rich genomes of vertebrates or C. elegans. Although pseudogenization of many gustatory receptors within clusters suggests relaxed selection, a subset of receptors is expressed. Consistent with functions as CRs, the genomic distribution and expression of ENaCs in lineage-specific T. urticae expansions mirrors that observed for gustatory receptors. The expansion of ENaCs in T. urticae to > 3-fold that reported in other animals was unexpected, raising the possibility that ENaCs in T. urticae have been co-opted to fulfill a major role performed by unrelated CRs in other animals. More broadly, our findings suggest an elaborate role for chemosensory perception in generalist herbivores that are of key ecological and agricultural importance. PMID:27797949

  12. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery

    PubMed Central

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E.; Sandin, Stuart A.

    2016-01-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales—short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery. PMID:27429784

  13. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery.

    PubMed

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E; Sandin, Stuart A

    2016-06-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales-short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery.

  14. The developmental race between maturing host plants and their butterfly herbivore - the influence of phenological matching and temperature.

    PubMed

    Posledovich, Diana; Toftegaard, Tenna; Wiklund, Christer; Ehrlén, Johan; Gotthard, Karl

    2015-11-01

    Interactions between herbivorous insects and their host plants that are limited in time are widespread. Therefore, many insect-plant interactions result in a developmental race, where herbivores need to complete their development before plants become unsuitable, while plants strive to minimize damage from herbivores by outgrowing them. When spring phenologies of interacting species change asymmetrically in response to climate warming, there will be a change in the developmental state of host plants at the time of insect herbivore emergence. In combination with altered temperatures during the subsequent developmental period, this is likely to affect interaction strength as well as fitness of interacting species. Here, we experimentally explore whether the combined effect of phenological matching and thermal conditions influence the outcome of an insect-host interaction. We manipulated both developmental stages of the host plants at the start of the interaction and temperature during the subsequent developmental period in a model system of a herbivorous butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, and five of its Brassicaceae host plant species. Larval performance characteristics were favoured by earlier stages of host plants at oviposition as well as by higher developmental temperatures on most of the host species. The probability of a larva needing a second host plant covered the full range from no influence of either phenological matching or temperature to strong effects of both factors, and complex interactions between them. The probability of a plant outgrowing a larva was dependent only on the species identity. This study demonstrates that climatic variation can influence the outcome of consumer-resource interactions in multiple ways and that its effects differ among host plant species. Therefore, climate warming is likely to change the temporal match between larval and plant development in some plant species, but not in the others. This is likely to have important

  15. A three amino acid deletion in the transmembrane domain of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α6 subunit confers high-level resistance to spinosad in Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jing; Wang, Xingliang; Lansdell, Stuart J.; Zhang, Jianheng; Millar, Neil S.; Wu, Yidong

    2016-01-01

    Spinosad is a macrocyclic lactone insecticide that acts primarily at the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) of target insects. Here we describe evidence that high levels of resistance to spinosad in the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) are associated with a three amino acid (3-aa) deletion in the fourth transmembrane domain (TM4) of the nAChR α6 subunit (Pxα6). Following laboratory selection with spinosad, the SZ-SpinR strain of P. xylostella exhibited 940-fold resistance to spinosad. In addition, the selected insect population had 1060-fold cross-resistance to spinetoram but, in contrast, no cross-resistance to abamectin was observed. Genetic analysis indicates that spinosad resistance in SZ-SpinR is inherited as a recessive and autosomal trait, and that the 3-aa deletion (IIA) in TM4 of Pxα6 is tightly linked to spinosad resistance. Because of well-established difficulties in functional expression of cloned insect nAChRs, the analogous resistance-associated deletion mutation was introduced into a prototype nAChR (the cloned human α7 subunit). Two-electrode voltage-clamp recording with wild-type and mutated nAChRs expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes indicated that the mutation causes a complete loss of agonist activation. In addition, radioligand binding studies indicated that the 3-aa deletion resulted in significantly lower-affinity binding of the extracellular neurotransmitter-binding site. These findings are consistent with the 3-amino acid (IIA) deletion within the transmembrane domain of Pxα6 being responsible for target-site resistance to spinosad in the SZ-SpinR strain of P. xylostella. PMID:26855198

  16. Young Aphids Avoid Erroneous Dropping when Evading Mammalian Herbivores by Combining Input from Two Sensory Modalities

    PubMed Central

    Gish, Moshe; Dafni, Amots; Inbar, Moshe

    2012-01-01

    Mammalian herbivores may incidentally ingest plant-dwelling insects while foraging. Adult pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) avoid this danger by dropping off their host plant after sensing the herbivore's warm and humid breath and the vibrations it causes while feeding. Aphid nymphs may also drop (to escape insect enemies), but because of their slow movement, have a lower chance of finding a new plant. We compared dropping rates of first-instar nymphs with those of adults, after exposing pea aphids to different combinations of simulated mammalian breath and vibrations. We hypothesized that nymphs would compensate for the greater risk they face on the ground by interpreting more conservatively the mammalian herbivore cues they perceive. Most adults dropped in response to breath alone, but nymphs rarely did so. Breath stimulus accompanied by one concurrent vibrational stimulus, caused a minor rise in adult dropping rates. Adding a second vibration during breath had no additional effect on adults. The nymphs, however, relied on a combination of the two types of stimuli, with a threefold increase in dropping rates when the breath was accompanied by one vibration, and a further doubling of dropping rates when the second vibration was added. The age-specificity of the aphids' herbivore detection mechanism is probably an adaptation to the different cost of dropping for the different age groups. Relying on a combination of stimuli from two sensory modalities enables the vulnerable nymphs to avoid costly mistakes. Our findings emphasize the importance of the direct trophic effect of mammalian herbivory for plant-dwelling insects. PMID:22496734

  17. Climate-driven diversity dynamics in plants and plant-feeding insects.

    PubMed

    Nyman, Tommi; Linder, Hans Peter; Peña, Carlos; Malm, Tobias; Wahlberg, Niklas

    2012-08-01

    The origin of species-rich insect-plant food webs has traditionally been explained by diversifying antagonistic coevolution between plant defences and herbivore counter-defences. However, recent studies combining paleoclimatic reconstructions with time-calibrated phylogenies suggest that variation in global climate determines the distribution, abundance and diversity of plant clades and, hence, indirectly influences the balance between speciation and extinction in associated herbivore groups. Extant insect communities tend to be richest on common plant species that have many close relatives. This could be explained either by climate-driven diffuse cospeciation between plants and insects, or by elevated speciation and reduced extinction in herbivore lineages associated with expanding host taxa (resources). Progress in paleovegetation reconstructions in combination with the rapidly increasing availability of fossil-calibrated phylogenies provide means to discern between these alternative hypotheses. In particular, the 'Diffuse cospeciation' scenario predicts closely matching main diversification periods in plants and in the insects that feed upon them, while the 'Resource abundance-dependent diversification' hypothesis predicts that both positive and negative responses of insect diversity are lagged in relation to host-plant availability. The dramatic Cenozoic changes in global climate provide multiple possibilities for studying the mechanisms by which climatic shifts may drive diversity dynamics in plants and insect herbivores.

  18. Resistance to sap-sucking insects in modern-day agriculture

    PubMed Central

    VanDoorn, Arjen; de Vos, Martin

    2013-01-01

    Plants and herbivores have co-evolved in their natural habitats for about 350 million years, but since the domestication of crops, plant resistance against insects has taken a different turn. With the onset of monoculture-driven modern agriculture, selective pressure on insects to overcome resistances has dramatically increased. Therefore plant breeders have resorted to high-tech tools to continuously create new insect-resistant crops. Efforts in the past 30 years have resulted in elucidation of mechanisms of many effective plant defenses against insect herbivores. Here, we critically appraise these efforts and – with a focus on sap-sucking insects – discuss how these findings have contributed to herbivore-resistant crops. Moreover, in this review we try to assess where future challenges and opportunities lay ahead. Of particular importance will be a mandatory reduction in systemic pesticide usage and thus a greater reliance on alternative methods, such as improved plant genetics for plant resistance to insect herbivores. PMID:23818892

  19. Insect Resistance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insect pests exhibit a diverse array of genetic-based responses when interacting with crop systems; these changes can be in response to pathogens, symbiotic microbes, host plants, chemicals, and the environment. Agricultural research has for decades focused on gathering crucial information on the bi...

  20. Physical characteristics of calcium oxalate crystals as determinants in structural defense against chewing insects in Medicago truncatula

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In addition to the numerous chemical defenses that plants employ to fend off insect herbivores, simple structural components can also play important roles in effective protection. Our investigations have shown that plant crystals of calcium oxalate can function in insect defense. The isolation of ca...

  1. Medicago truncatula-derived calcium oxalate crystals have a negative impact on chewing insect performance via their physical properties

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Plant structural traits often act as defenses against herbivorous insects, causing them to avoid feeding on a given plant or tissue. Mineral crystals of calcium oxalate in Medicago truncatula Gaertn. (Fabaceae) leaves have previously been shown to be effective deterrents of lepidopteran insect feedi...

  2. Ethylene contributes to mir1-mediated maize defense against the phloem-sap sucking insect Rhopalosiphum maidis.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Signaling networks among multiple phytohormones fine-tune plant defense responses to insect herbivore attack. Previously, it was reported that the synergistic combination of ethylene (ET) and jasmonic acid (JA) was required for providing maize insect resistance1 (mir1), a key endogenous defense sign...

  3. From Plants to Birds: Higher Avian Predation Rates in Trees Responding to Insect Herbivory

    PubMed Central

    Mäntylä, Elina; Alessio, Giorgio A.; Blande, James D.; Heijari, Juha; Holopainen, Jarmo K.; Laaksonen, Toni; Piirtola, Panu; Klemola, Tero

    2008-01-01

    Background An understanding of the evolution of potential signals from plants to the predators of their herbivores may provide exciting examples of co-evolution among multiple trophic levels. Understanding the mechanism behind the attraction of predators to plants is crucial to conclusions about co-evolution. For example, insectivorous birds are attracted to herbivore-damaged trees without seeing the herbivores or the defoliated parts, but it is not known whether birds use cues from herbivore-damaged plants with a specific adaptation of plants for this purpose. Methodology We examined whether signals from damaged trees attract avian predators in the wild and whether birds could use volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions or net photosynthesis of leaves as cues to detect herbivore-rich trees. We conducted a field experiment with mountain birches (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii), their main herbivore (Epirrita autumnata) and insectivorous birds. Half of the trees had herbivore larvae defoliating trees hidden inside branch bags and half had empty bags as controls. We measured predation rate of birds towards artificial larvae on tree branches, and VOC emissions and net photosynthesis of leaves. Principal Findings and Significance The predation rate was higher in the herbivore trees than in the control trees. This confirms that birds use cues from trees to locate insect-rich trees in the wild. The herbivore trees had decreased photosynthesis and elevated emissions of many VOCs, which suggests that birds could use either one, or both, as cues. There was, however, large variation in how the VOC emission correlated with predation rate. Emissions of (E)-DMNT [(E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene], β-ocimene and linalool were positively correlated with predation rate, while those of highly inducible green leaf volatiles were not. These three VOCs are also involved in the attraction of insect parasitoids and predatory mites to herbivore-damaged plants, which suggests that

  4. Plant Size as Determinant of Species Richness of Herbivores, Natural Enemies and Pollinators across 21 Brassicaceae Species

    PubMed Central

    Schlinkert, Hella; Westphal, Catrin; Clough, Yann; László, Zoltán; Ludwig, Martin; Tscharntke, Teja

    2015-01-01

    Large plants are often more conspicuous and more attractive for associated animals than small plants, e.g. due to their wider range of resources. Therefore, plant size can positively affect species richness of associated animals, as shown for single groups of herbivores, but studies usually consider intraspecific size differences of plants in unstandardised environments. As comprehensive tests of interspecific plant size differences under standardised conditions are missing so far, we investigated effects of plant size on species richness of all associated arthropods using a common garden experiment with 21 Brassicaceae species covering a broad interspecific plant size gradient from 10 to 130 cm height. We recorded plant associated ecto- and endophagous herbivores, their natural enemies and pollinators on and in each aboveground plant organ, i.e. flowers, fruits, leaves and stems. Plant size (measured as height from the ground), the number of different plant organ entities and their biomass were assessed. Increasing plant size led to increased species richness of associated herbivores, natural enemies and pollinating insects. This pattern was found for ectophagous and endophagous herbivores, their natural enemies, as well as for herbivores associated with leaves and fruits and their natural enemies, independently of the additional positive effects of resource availability (i.e. organ biomass or number of entities and, regarding natural enemies, herbivore species richness). We found a lower R2 for pollinators compared to herbivores and natural enemies, probably caused by the high importance of flower characteristics for pollinator species richness besides plant size. Overall, the increase in plant height from 10 to 130 cm led to a 2.7-fold increase in predicted total arthropod species richness. In conclusion, plant size is a comprehensive driver of species richness of the plant associated arthropods, including pollinators, herbivores and their natural enemies

  5. Plant Size as Determinant of Species Richness of Herbivores, Natural Enemies and Pollinators across 21 Brassicaceae Species.

    PubMed

    Schlinkert, Hella; Westphal, Catrin; Clough, Yann; László, Zoltán; Ludwig, Martin; Tscharntke, Teja

    2015-01-01

    Large plants are often more conspicuous and more attractive for associated animals than small plants, e.g. due to their wider range of resources. Therefore, plant size can positively affect species richness of associated animals, as shown for single groups of herbivores, but studies usually consider intraspecific size differences of plants in unstandardised environments. As comprehensive tests of interspecific plant size differences under standardised conditions are missing so far, we investigated effects of plant size on species richness of all associated arthropods using a common garden experiment with 21 Brassicaceae species covering a broad interspecific plant size gradient from 10 to 130 cm height. We recorded plant associated ecto- and endophagous herbivores, their natural enemies and pollinators on and in each aboveground plant organ, i.e. flowers, fruits, leaves and stems. Plant size (measured as height from the ground), the number of different plant organ entities and their biomass were assessed. Increasing plant size led to increased species richness of associated herbivores, natural enemies and pollinating insects. This pattern was found for ectophagous and endophagous herbivores, their natural enemies, as well as for herbivores associated with leaves and fruits and their natural enemies, independently of the additional positive effects of resource availability (i.e. organ biomass or number of entities and, regarding natural enemies, herbivore species richness). We found a lower R2 for pollinators compared to herbivores and natural enemies, probably caused by the high importance of flower characteristics for pollinator species richness besides plant size. Overall, the increase in plant height from 10 to 130 cm led to a 2.7-fold increase in predicted total arthropod species richness. In conclusion, plant size is a comprehensive driver of species richness of the plant associated arthropods, including pollinators, herbivores and their natural enemies

  6. Stinging Insect Matching Game

    MedlinePlus

    ... for Kids ▸ Stinging Insect Matching Game Share | Stinging Insect Matching Game Stinging insects can ruin summer fun for those who are ... the difference between the different kinds of stinging insects in order to keep your summer safe and ...

  7. Comparison of RNA isolation methods from insect larvae.

    PubMed

    Ridgeway, J A; Timm, A E

    2014-01-01

    Isolating RNA from insects is becoming increasingly important in molecular entomology. Four methods including three commercial kits RNeasy Mini Kit (Qiagen), SV Total RNA isolation system (Promega), TRIzol reagent (Invitrogen), and a cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)-based method were compared regarding their ability to isolate RNA from whole-body larvae of Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick), Thanatophilus micans (F.), Plutella xylostella (L.), and Tenebrio molitor (L.). A difference was observed among the four methods regarding RNA quality but not quantity. However, RNA quality and quantity obtained was not dependent on the insect species. The CTAB-based method produced low-quality RNA and the Trizol reagent produced partially degraded RNA, whereas the RNeasy Mini Kit and SV Total RNA isolation system produced RNA of consistently high quality. However, after reverse transcription to cDNA, RNA produced using all four extraction methods could be used to successfully amplify a 708 bp fragment of the cytochrome oxidase I gene. Of the four methods, the SV Total RNA isolation system showed the least amount of DNA contamination with the highest RNA integrity number and is thus recommended for stringent applications where high-quality RNA is required. This is the first comparison of RNA isolation methods among different insect species and the first to compare RNA isolation methods in insects in the last 20 years.

  8. Inherited microbial symbionts increase herbivore abundances and alter arthropod diversity on a native grass.

    PubMed

    Faeth, Stanley H; Shochat, Eyal

    2010-05-01

    Some microbial symbionts of plants are maternally inherited and thus functionally increase genetic and phenotypic variation within plant populations. This variation, coupled with that of the host plant and environment, may alter abundances, diversity, and trophic structure of associated plant and animal communities. Fungal endophytes in the genus Neotyphodium are vertically transmitted, asexual microbial symbionts of grasses that remain asymptomatic and rely upon their hosts for resources and transmission via seeds, often providing benefits to their hosts, including protection against herbivores. Endophyte infections may influence associated arthropod communities in agronomic grasses, but the long-term effects of endophytes and variation in host genotype and resource availability on arthropod communities in native grass populations are unknown. We conducted a long-term field experiment with four maternal genotypes of an infected (E+) native grass (Festuca arizonica) from whence the endophyte was experimentally removed (E-) and water availability was controlled, to test the effects of infection, plant genotype, and resources on abundances, biomass, diversity (richness and evenness), and trophic structure of the arthropod community. Generally, E+ grasses harbored more arthropods, including more herbivores, predators, and detritivores, suggesting that the effects of endophytes cascaded upward through trophic levels in terms of abundances, at least in early ontogeny of the host. That E+ plants harbored more herbivorous insects than E- plants suggests that infection does not increase but instead decreases resistance to herbivores, contrary to prevailing concepts of endophytes as defensive mutualists. Infection did not alter overall species richness of the arthropod community or richness of herbivores but reduced natural enemy richness, especially that of parasites, and increased richness of detritivores. Reduced richness and shifts in evenness of natural enemies on E

  9. Insects: A nutritional alternative

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dufour, P. A.

    1981-01-01

    Insects are considered as potential food sources in space. Types of insects consumed are discussed. Hazards of insect ingestion are considered. Insect reproduction, requirements, and raw materials conversion are discussed. Nutrition properties and composition of insects are considered. Preparation of insects as human food is discussed.

  10. Quantitative variability of direct chemical defense in primary and secondary leaves of lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) and consequences for a natural herbivore.

    PubMed

    Ballhorn, Daniel J; Schiwy, Susann; Jensen, Manfred; Heil, Martin

    2008-10-01

    Ontogenetic variability in chemical plant defenses against herbivores is a common phenomenon, but the effects of this variability on herbivore-plant interactions are little understood. In a previous study on lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), we found a trade-off between cyanogenesis, a direct defense, and the release of herbivore-induced volatile organic compounds (VOCs; mainly functioning as an indirect defense). Moreover, the expression of these two defenses could change during plant ontogeny. The present study aimed at elucidating whether such ontogenetic changes in plant defense can affect herbivore-plant interactions. We quantified feeding rates of a natural insect herbivore, the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis), on primary and secondary leaves of individual lima bean plants. These insects strongly preferred low cyanogenic primary leaves over high cyanogenic secondary leaves. Although weakly defended by cyanogenesis, lima beans' primary leaves showed protein concentrations and photosynthetic activities that did not differ significantly from secondary leaves at the time of analysis. Based on our findings, we suggest that lima beans' long-lived primary leaves function as efficient source organs, even beyond the stage of seedlings. This hypothesis may explain why primary leaves express a strong indirect defense by the release of herbivore induced VOCs.

  11. Insect communities on experimental mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.) plots along an urban gradient.

    PubMed

    Denys, C; Schmidt, Holger

    1998-01-01

    We studied the ability of insect herbivores and their natural enemies to colonize exposed, potted mugwort plants (Artemisia vulgaris L.) along a rural-urban gradient in 1994 in Hamburg (northern Germany). Ectophagous insects, leafmines and galls were monitored weekly from mid-May to mid-September. Endophagous insects were counted by harvesting and dissecting the stems at the end of the growing season. The rural-urban gradient was characterized by a gradient of vegetation-free areas and increasing proportion of ground covered in concrete, tarmac, paving and other impermeable surfaces surrounding the Artemisia plots, i.e. six different zones of increasing isolation. Numbers of insect species (herbivores, parasitoids and predators) decreased along the gradient from 43 to 12. Monophagous herbivores were not more affected than polyphagous herbivores, but parasitoids, especially rare species, were more strongly affected by isolation than predators. Some dominant herbivorous species were very successful colonizers and occurred in inner city sites devoid of all natural vegetation. Sometimes their abundance increased in the inner city to significantly higher densities than in the urban fringe. Isolation appeared to be the main reason for the observed patterns, since area and soil conditions were held constant in the experiment. Microclimate and pollution were considered to play a minor role.

  12. Herbivores cause a rapid increase in hereditary symbiosis and alter plant community composition

    PubMed Central

    Clay, Keith; Holah, Jenny; Rudgers, Jennifer A.

    2005-01-01

    Microbial symbioses are ubiquitous in nature. Hereditary symbionts warrant particular attention because of their direct effects on the evolutionary potential of their hosts. In plants, hereditary fungal endophytes can increase the competitive ability, drought tolerance, and herbivore resistance of their host, although it is unclear whether or how these ecological benefits may alter the dynamics of the endophyte symbiosis over time. Here, we demonstrate that herbivores alter the dynamics of a hereditary symbiont under field conditions. Also, we show that changes in symbiont frequency were accompanied by shifts in the overall structure of the plant community. Replicated 25-m2 plots were enriched with seed of the introduced grass, Lolium arundinaceum at an initial frequency of 50% infection by the systemic, seed-transmitted endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum. Over 54 months, there was a significantly greater increase in endophyte-infection frequency in the presence of herbivores (30% increase) than where mammalian and insect herbivory were experimentally reduced by fencing and insecticide application (12% increase). Under ambient mammalian herbivory, the above-ground biomass of nonhost plant species was reduced compared with the mammal-exclusion treatment, and plant composition shifted toward greater relative biomass of infected, tall fescue grass. These results demonstrate that herbivores can drive plant–microbe dynamics and, in doing so, modify plant community structure directly and indirectly. PMID:16116093

  13. Herbivores cause a rapid increase in hereditary symbiosis and alter plant community composition.

    PubMed

    Clay, Keith; Holah, Jenny; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2005-08-30

    Microbial symbioses are ubiquitous in nature. Hereditary symbionts warrant particular attention because of their direct effects on the evolutionary potential of their hosts. In plants, hereditary fungal endophytes can increase the competitive ability, drought tolerance, and herbivore resistance of their host, although it is unclear whether or how these ecological benefits may alter the dynamics of the endophyte symbiosis over time. Here, we demonstrate that herbivores alter the dynamics of a hereditary symbiont under field conditions. Also, we show that changes in symbiont frequency were accompanied by shifts in the overall structure of the plant community. Replicated 25-m2 plots were enriched with seed of the introduced grass, Lolium arundinaceum at an initial frequency of 50% infection by the systemic, seed-transmitted endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum. Over 54 months, there was a significantly greater increase in endophyte-infection frequency in the presence of herbivores (30% increase) than where mammalian and insect herbivory were experimentally reduced by fencing and insecticide application (12% increase). Under ambient mammalian herbivory, the above-ground biomass of nonhost plant species was reduced compared with the mammal-exclusion treatment, and plant composition shifted toward greater relative biomass of infected, tall fescue grass. These results demonstrate that herbivores can drive plant-microbe dynamics and, in doing so, modify plant community structure directly and indirectly.

  14. Herbivore-mediated ecological costs of reproduction shape the life history of an iteroparous plant.

    PubMed

    Miller, Tom E X; Tenhumberg, Brigitte; Louda, Svata M

    2008-02-01

    Plant reproduction yields immediate fitness benefits but can be costly in terms of survival, growth, and future fecundity. Life-history theory posits that reproductive strategies are shaped by trade-offs between current and future fitness that result from these direct costs of reproduction. Plant reproduction may also incur indirect ecological costs if it increases susceptibility to herbivores. Yet ecological costs of reproduction have received little empirical attention and remain poorly integrated into life-history theory. Here, we provide evidence for herbivore-mediated ecological costs of reproduction, and we develop theory to examine how these costs influence plant life-history strategies. Field experiments with an iteroparous cactus (Opuntia imbricata) indicated that greater reproductive effort (proportion of meristems allocated to reproduction) led to greater attack by a cactus-feeding insect (Narnia pallidicornis) and that damage by this herbivore reduced reproductive success. A dynamic programming model predicted strongly divergent optimal reproductive strategies when ecological costs were included, compared with when these costs were ignored. Meristem allocation by cacti in the field matched the optimal strategy expected under ecological costs of reproduction. The results indicate that plant reproductive allocation can strongly influence the intensity of interactions with herbivores and that associated ecological costs can play an important selective role in the evolution of plant life histories.

  15. A Physiological and Behavioral Mechanism for Leaf Herbivore-Induced Systemic Root Resistance1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle A.M.; Marti, Guillaume; Lu, Jing; Doyen, Gwladys R.; Villard, Neil; Barrière, Yves; Wolfender, Jean-Luc; Turlings, Ted C.J.

    2015-01-01

    Indirect plant-mediated interactions between herbivores are important drivers of community composition in terrestrial ecosystems. Among the most striking examples are the strong indirect interactions between spatially separated leaf- and root-feeding insects sharing a host plant. Although leaf feeders generally reduce the performance of root herbivores, little is known about the underlying systemic changes in root physiology and the associated behavioral responses of the root feeders. We investigated the consequences of maize (Zea mays) leaf infestation by Spodoptera littoralis caterpillars for the root-feeding larvae of the beetle Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, a major pest of maize. D. virgifera strongly avoided leaf-infested plants by recognizing systemic changes in soluble root components. The avoidance response occurred within 12 h and was induced by real and mimicked herbivory, but not wounding alone. Roots of leaf-infested plants showed altered patterns in soluble free and soluble conjugated phenolic acids. Biochemical inhibition and genetic manipulation of phenolic acid biosynthesis led to a complete disappearance of the avoidance response of D. virgifera. Furthermore, bioactivity-guided fractionation revealed a direct link between the avoidance response of D. virgifera and changes in soluble conjugated phenolic acids in the roots of leaf-attacked plants. Our study provides a physiological mechanism for a behavioral pattern that explains the negative effect of leaf attack on a root-feeding insect. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility to control D. virgifera in the field by genetically mimicking leaf herbivore-induced changes in root phenylpropanoid patterns. PMID:26430225

  16. Mining the plant-herbivore interface with a leafmining Drosophila of Arabidopsis

    PubMed Central

    Whiteman, Noah K.; Groen, Simon C.; Chevasco, Daniela; Bear, Ashley; Beckwith, Noor; Gregory, T. Ryan; Denoux, Carine; Mammarella, Nicole; Ausubel, Frederick M.; Pierce, Naomi E.

    2010-01-01

    Experimental infections of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) with genomically characterized plant pathogens such as Pseudomonas syringae have facilitated dissection of canonical eukaryotic defense pathways and parasite virulence factors. Plants are also attacked by herbivorous insects, and the development of an ecologically relevant genetic model herbivore that feeds on Arabidopsis will enable the parallel dissection of host defense and reciprocal resistance pathways such as those involved in xenobiotic metabolism. An ideal candidate is Scaptomyza flava, a drosophilid fly whose leafmining larvae are true herbivores that can be found in nature feeding on Arabidopsis and other crucifers. Here we describe the eukaryotic life cycle of S. flava on Arabidopsis, and use multiple approaches to characterize the response of Arabidopsis to S. flava attack. Oviposition choice tests and growth performance assays on different Arabidopsis ecotypes, defense-related mutants, and hormone and chitin-treated plants revealed significant differences in host preference and variation in larval performance across Arabidopsis accessions. The jasmonate (JA) and glucosinolate pathways in Arabidopsis are important in mediating quantitative resistance against S. flava, and priming with JA or chitin resulted in increased resistance. Expression of xenobiotic detoxification genes was reduced in S. flava larvae reared on Arabidopsis JA signaling mutants, and increased in plants pre-treated with chitin. These results and future research directions are discussed in the context of developing a genetic model system to analyze insect/plant interactions. PMID:21073583

  17. Reconciling contradictory findings of herbivore impacts on spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) growth and reproduction.

    PubMed

    Knochel, David G; Seastedt, Timothy R

    2010-10-01

    Substantial controversy surrounds the efficacy of biological control insects to reduce densities of Centaurea stoebe, a widespread, aggressive invasive plant in North America. We developed a graphical model to conceptualize the conditions required to explain the current contradictory findings, and then employed a series of manipulations to evaluate C. stoebe responses to herbivores. We manipulated soil nitrogen and competition in a field population and measured attack rates of a foliage and seed feeder (Larinus minutus), two gall flies (Urophora spp.), and a root feeder (Cyphocleonus achates), as well as their effects on the growth and reproduction of C. stoebe. Nitrogen limitation and competing vegetation greatly reduced C. stoebe growth. L. minutus most intensively reduced seed production in low-nitrogen soils, and removal of neighboring vegetation increased Larinus numbers per flower head and the percentage of flowers attacked by 15% and 11%, respectively. Cyphocleonus reduced flower production and aboveground biomass over two years, regardless of resources or competition. Our results, in conjunction with other published studies, demonstrate that positive, neutral, and negative plant growth responses to herbivory can be generated. However, under realistic field conditions and in the presence of multiple herbivores, our work repudiates earlier studies that indicate insect herbivores increase C. stoebe dominance.

  18. Reexamination of chlorophyllase function implies its involvement in defense against chewing herbivores.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xueyun; Makita, Satoru; Schelbert, Silvia; Sano, Shinsuke; Ochiai, Masanori; Tsuchiya, Tohru; Hasegawa, Shigeaki F; Hörtensteiner, Stefan; Tanaka, Ayumi; Tanaka, Ryouichi

    2015-03-01

    Chlorophyllase (CLH) is a common plant enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of chlorophyll to form chlorophyllide, a more hydrophilic derivative. For more than a century, the biological role of CLH has been controversial, although this enzyme has been often considered to catalyze chlorophyll catabolism during stress-induced chlorophyll breakdown. In this study, we found that the absence of CLH does not affect chlorophyll breakdown in intact leaf tissue in the absence or the presence of methyl-jasmonate, which is known to enhance stress-induced chlorophyll breakdown. Fractionation of cellular membranes shows that Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) CLH is located in the endoplasmic reticulum and the tonoplast of intact plant cells. These results indicate that CLH is not involved in endogenous chlorophyll catabolism. Instead, we found that CLH promotes chlorophyllide formation upon disruption of leaf cells, or when it is artificially mistargeted to the chloroplast. These results indicate that CLH is responsible for chlorophyllide formation after the collapse of cells, which led us to hypothesize that chlorophyllide formation might be a process of defense against chewing herbivores. We found that Arabidopsis leaves with genetically enhanced CLH activity exhibit toxicity when fed to Spodoptera litura larvae, an insect herbivore. In addition, purified chlorophyllide partially suppresses the growth of the larvae. Taken together, these results support the presence of a unique binary defense system against insect herbivores involving chlorophyll and CLH. Potential mechanisms of chlorophyllide action for defense are discussed.

  19. A Physiological and Behavioral Mechanism for Leaf Herbivore-Induced Systemic Root Resistance.

    PubMed

    Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle A M; Marti, Guillaume; Lu, Jing; Doyen, Gwladys R; Villard, Neil; Barrière, Yves; French, B Wade; Wolfender, Jean-Luc; Turlings, Ted C J; Gershenzon, Jonathan

    2015-12-01

    Indirect plant-mediated interactions between herbivores are important drivers of community composition in terrestrial ecosystems. Among the most striking examples are the strong indirect interactions between spatially separated leaf- and root-feeding insects sharing a host plant. Although leaf feeders generally reduce the performance of root herbivores, little is known about the underlying systemic changes in root physiology and the associated behavioral responses of the root feeders. We investigated the consequences of maize (Zea mays) leaf infestation by Spodoptera littoralis caterpillars for the root-feeding larvae of the beetle Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, a major pest of maize. D. virgifera strongly avoided leaf-infested plants by recognizing systemic changes in soluble root components. The avoidance response occurred within 12 h and was induced by real and mimicked herbivory, but not wounding alone. Roots of leaf-infested plants showed altered patterns in soluble free and soluble conjugated phenolic acids. Biochemical inhibition and genetic manipulation of phenolic acid biosynthesis led to a complete disappearance of the avoidance response of D. virgifera. Furthermore, bioactivity-guided fractionation revealed a direct link between the avoidance response of D. virgifera and changes in soluble conjugated phenolic acids in the roots of leaf-attacked plants. Our study provides a physiological mechanism for a behavioral pattern that explains the negative effect of leaf attack on a root-feeding insect. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility to control D. virgifera in the field by genetically mimicking leaf herbivore-induced changes in root phenylpropanoid patterns.

  20. Host-Plant Specialization Mediates the Influence of Plant Abundance on Host Use by Flower Head-Feeding Insects.

    PubMed

    Nobre, Paola A F; Bergamini, Leonardo L; Lewinsohn, Thomas M; Jorge, Leonardo R; Almeida-Neto, Mário

    2016-02-01

    Among-population variation in host use is a common phenomenon in herbivorous insects. The simplest and most trivial explanation for such variation in host use is the among-site variation in plant species composition. Another aspect that can influence spatial variation in host use is the relative abundance of each host-plant species compared to all available hosts. Here, we used endophagous insects that develop in flower heads of Asteraceae species as a study system to investigate how plant abundance influences the pattern of host-plant use by herbivorous insects with distinct levels of host-range specialization. Only herbivores recorded on three or more host species were included in this study. In particular, we tested two related hypotheses: 1) plant abundance has a positive effect on the host-plant preference of herbivorous insects, and 2) the relative importance of plant abundance to host-plant preference is greater for herbivorous species that use a wider range of host-plant species. We analyzed 11 herbivore species in 20 remnants of Cerrado in Southeastern Brazil. For 8 out of 11 herbivore species, plant abundance had a positive influence on host use. In contrast to our expectation, both the most specialized and the most generalist herbivores showed a stronger positive effect of plant species abundance in host use. Thus, we found evidence that although the abundance of plant species is a major factor determining the preferential use of host plants, its relative importance is mediated by the host-range specialization of herbivores.

  1. Insect evolution.

    PubMed

    Engel, Michael S

    2015-10-05

    It goes without saying that insects epitomize diversity, and with over a million documented species they stand out as one of the most remarkable lineages in the 3.5-billion-year history of life on earth (Figure 1). This reality is passé to even the layperson and is taken for granted in the same way none of us think much of our breathing as we go about our day, and yet insects are just as vital to our existence. Insects are simultaneously familiar and foreign to us, and while a small fraction are beloved or reviled, most are simply ignored. These inexorable evolutionary overachievers outnumber us all, their segmented body plan is remarkably labile, they combine a capacity for high rates of speciation with low levels of natural extinction, and their history of successes eclipses those of the more familiar ages of dinosaurs and mammals alike. It is their evolution - persisting over vast expanses of geological time and inextricably implicated in the diversification of other lineages - that stands as one of the most expansive subjects in biology.

  2. The effect of nitrogen additions on oak foliage and herbivore communities at sites with high and low atmospheric pollution.

    PubMed

    Eatough Jones, Michele; Paine, Timothy D; Fenn, Mark E

    2008-02-01

    To evaluate plant and herbivore responses to nitrogen we conducted a fertilization study at a low and high pollution site in the mixed conifer forests surrounding Los Angeles, California. Contrary to expectations, discriminant function analysis of oak herbivore communities showed significant response to N fertilization when atmospheric deposition was high, but not when atmospheric deposition was low. We hypothesize that longer-term fertilization treatments are needed at the low pollution site before foliar N nutrition increases sufficiently to affect herbivore communities. At the high pollution site, fertilization was also associated with increased catkin production and higher densities of a byturid beetle that feeds on the catkins of oak. Leaf nitrogen and nitrate were significantly higher at the high pollution site compared to the low pollution site. Foliar nitrate concentrations were positively correlated with abundance of sucking insects, leafrollers and plutellids in all three years of the study.

  3. Caught between parasitoids and predators - survival of a specialist herbivore on leaves and flowers of mustard plants.

    PubMed

    Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Poelman, Erik H; Aartsma, Yavanna; Snoeren, Tjeerd A L; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel

    2014-06-01

    The survival of insect herbivores typically is constrained by food choice and predation risk. Here, we explored whether movement from leaves to flowers increases survival of herbivores that prefer to feed on floral tissues. Combining field and greenhouse experiments, we investigated whether flowering influences the behavior of Pieris brassicae butterflies and caterpillars and, consequently, herbivore survival in the field. In this context, we investigated also if flowers of Brassica nigra can provide caterpillars refuge from the specialist parasitoid Cotesia glomerata and from predatory social wasps. By moving to flowers, caterpillars escaped from the parasitoid. Flowers are nutritionally superior when compared with leaves, and caterpillars develop faster when feeding on flowers. However, late-stage caterpillars can be preyed upon intensively by social wasps, irrespective of whether they feed on leaves or flowers. We conclude that flower preference by P. brassicae is more likely driven by nutritional advantages and reduced parasitism on flowers, than by risks of being killed by generalist predators.

  4. Resistance to diamide insecticides in diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) is associated with a mutation in the membrane-spanning domain of the ryanodine receptor.

    PubMed

    Troczka, Bartek; Zimmer, Christoph T; Elias, Jan; Schorn, Corinna; Bass, Chris; Davies, T G Emyr; Field, Linda M; Williamson, Martin S; Slater, Russell; Nauen, Ralf

    2012-11-01

    Diamide insecticides such as chlorantraniliprole and flubendiamide are a new class of insecticide that selectively target insect ryanodine receptors (RyR), a distinct class of homo-tetrameric calcium release channels which play a pivotal role in calcium homeostasis in numerous cell types. Resistance to these insecticides has recently been reported in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), a global lepidopteran pest of cruciferous crops. In the present study a region of the gene encoding the proposed diamide binding site of the RyR from P. xylostella collected from the Philippines and Thailand and found to be over 200-fold resistant to both chlorantraniliprole and flubendiamide compared to susceptible strains, were amplified by RT-PCR and sequenced. Comparison of the sequence with those from several susceptible reference strains revealed non-synonymous mutations in each of the resistant strains that in both cases lead to a glycine to glutamic acid substitution (G4946E) in the protein. The independent evolution of the same amino acid substitution within a highly conserved region of the proposed diamide binding site in two geographically separated resistant strains of P. xylostella strongly suggests a causal association with diamide resistance. Furthermore we designed a pyrosequencing-based diagnostic assay for resistance monitoring purposes that can be used to detect the G4946E mutation in field-collected samples of diamondback moth. The implications of the reported findings for resistance management strategies are discussed.

  5. Genome wide discovery of long intergenic non-coding RNAs in Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and their expression in insecticide resistant strains.

    PubMed

    Etebari, Kayvan; Furlong, Michael J; Asgari, Sassan

    2015-09-28

    Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in genomic imprinting, cancer, differentiation and regulation of gene expression. Here, we identified 3844 long intergenic ncRNAs (lincRNA) in Plutella xylostella, which is a notorious pest of cruciferous plants that has developed field resistance to all classes of insecticides, including Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) endotoxins. Further, we found that some of those lincRNAs may potentially serve as precursors for the production of small ncRNAs. We found 280 and 350 lincRNAs that are differentially expressed in Chlorpyrifos and Fipronil resistant larvae. A survey on P. xylostella midgut transcriptome data from Bt-resistant populations revealed 59 altered lincRNA in two resistant strains compared with the susceptible population. We validated the transcript levels of a number of putative lincRNAs in deltamethrin-resistant larvae that were exposed to deltamethrin, which indicated that this group of lincRNAs might be involved in the response to xenobiotics in this insect. To functionally characterize DBM lincRNAs, gene ontology (GO) enrichment of their associated protein-coding genes was extracted and showed over representation of protein, DNA and RNA binding GO terms. The data presented here will facilitate future studies to unravel the function of lincRNAs in insecticide resistance or the response to xenobiotics of eukaryotic cells.

  6. Quantification of γ-aminobutyric acid in the heads of houseflies (Musca domestica) and diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella (L.)), using capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection.

    PubMed

    Shi, Xueyan; Liang, Pei; Song, Dunlun; Yang, Wenling; Gao, Xiwu

    2012-02-01

    A novel method was developed for quantifying the levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the heads of houseflies (Musca domestica) and diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella (L.)), using capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF). The GABA in sample was derivatized with 4-chloro-7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazole (NBD-Cl) prior to CE-LIF analysis. In total, 32 mmol/L borate buffer, at pH 9.2 and containing 5.3 mmol/L β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and 10.4 mmol/L sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), was determined to be the optimum CE background electrolyte (BGE) for GABA analysis. The detection limit of GABA was 0.016 μmol/L. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) of the migration time and peak area of GABA were 1.78 and 4.93%, respectively. The average recoveries of 0.97, 3.88, and 5.83 μmol/L of GABA, each added to the head sample of housefly, ranged from 88.9 to 110.5%. This method is simple and applicable to GABA assays of the heads of insects. With this newly developed CE-LIF method, the amounts of GABA in the heads of houseflies (M. domestica) and diamondback moths (P. xylostella (L.)) were measured. The results are relevant to the understandings of some insecticides and insecticide-resistance mechanisms in pests.

  7. Herbivore responses to plants grown in enriched carbon dioxide atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Lincoln, D.E.

    1990-05-01

    Our initial study of sagebrush and grasshopper responses to elevated and historical carbon dioxide atmospheres is complete and has been accepted for publication. The study on Biomass Allocation Patterns of Defoliated Sagebrush Grown Under Two Levels of Carbon Dioxide has completed and the manuscript has been submitted for publication. We have completed the study of plant growth under two nutrient and carbon dioxide regimes and grasshopper feeding responses. The study of a specialist feeding caterpillar, the cabbage butterfly, and a mustard hostplant has recently been completed. We were able to identify the principal allelochemicals of the mustard plants, butenyl and pentenyl isothiocyanates, by combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Measurement of these chemicals has been a critical component of this study since these compounds contain nitrogen and sulphur and act as a feeding stimulant to the caterpillar. This insect responds to elevated carbon dioxide by consuming more leaves and we can now say that this is not due to a change in the feeding stimulants. Reduced leaf protein content is a critical factor for even specialist feeding insect herbivores under elevated carbon dioxide conditions. The study on Grasshopper Population Responses to Enriched Carbon Dioxide Concentration is currently in progress at the Duke University Phytotron. We have changed hostplant species in order to complement the investigations of carbon dioxide effects on tallgrass prairie. Specifically, we are using big bluestem, Andropogon geradii, as the host plant to feed to the grasshoppers. This experiment will be completed in July 1990.

  8. Plant-insect interactions under bacterial influence: ecological implications and underlying mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Sugio, Akiko; Dubreuil, Géraldine; Giron, David; Simon, Jean-Christophe

    2015-02-01

    Plants and insects have been co-existing for more than 400 million years, leading to intimate and complex relationships. Throughout their own evolutionary history, plants and insects have also established intricate and very diverse relationships with microbial associates. Studies in recent years have revealed plant- or insect-associated microbes to be instrumental in plant-insect interactions, with important implications for plant defences and plant utilization by insects. Microbial communities associated with plants are rich in diversity, and their structure greatly differs between below- and above-ground levels. Microbial communities associated with insect herbivores generally present a lower diversity and can reside in different body parts of their hosts including bacteriocytes, haemolymph, gut, and salivary glands. Acquisition of microbial communities by vertical or horizontal transmission and possible genetic exchanges through lateral transfer could strongly impact on the host insect or plant fitness by conferring adaptations to new habitats. Recent developments in sequencing technologies and molecular tools have dramatically enhanced opportunities to characterize the microbial diversity associated with plants and insects and have unveiled some of the mechanisms by which symbionts modulate plant-insect interactions. Here, we focus on the diversity and ecological consequences of bacterial communities associated with plants and herbivorous insects. We also highlight the known mechanisms by which these microbes interfere with plant-insect interactions. Revealing such mechanisms in model systems under controlled environments but also in more natural ecological settings will help us to understand the evolution of complex multitrophic interactions in which plants, herbivorous insects, and micro-organisms are inserted.

  9. Genotype × herbivore effect on leaf litter decomposition in Betula Pendula saplings: ecological and evolutionary consequences and the role of secondary metabolites.

    PubMed

    Silfver, Tarja; Paaso, Ulla; Rasehorn, Mira; Rousi, Matti; Mikola, Juha

    2015-01-01

    Plant genetic variation and herbivores can both influence ecosystem functioning by affecting the quantity and quality of leaf litter. Few studies have, however, investigated the effects of herbivore load on litter decomposition at plant genotype level. We reduced insect herbivory using an insecticide on one half of field-grown Betula Pendula saplings of 17 genotypes, representing random intrapopulation genetic variation, and allowed insects to naturally colonize the other half. We hypothesized that due to induced herbivore defence, saplings under natural herbivory produce litter of higher concentrations of secondary metabolites (terpenes and soluble phenolics) and have slower litter decomposition rate than saplings under reduced herbivory. We found that leaf damage was 89 and 53% lower in the insecticide treated saplings in the summer and autumn surveys, respectively, which led to 73% higher litter production. Litter decomposition rate was also affected by herbivore load, but the effect varied from positive to negative among genotypes and added up to an insignificant net effect at the population level. In contrast to our hypothesis, concentrations of terpenes and soluble phenolics were higher under reduced than natural herbivory. Those genotypes, whose leaves were most injured by herbivores, produced litter of lowest mass loss, but unlike we expected, the concentrations of terpenes and soluble phenolics were not linked to either leaf damage or litter decomposition. Our results show that (1) the genetic and herbivore effects on B. pendula litter decomposition are not mediated through variation in terpene or soluble phenolic concentrations and suggest that (2) the presumably higher insect herbivore pressure in the future warmer climate will not, at the ecological time scale, affect the mean decomposition rate in genetically diverse B. pendula populations. However, (3) due to the significant genetic variation in the response of decomposition to herbivory, evolutionary

  10. Genotype × Herbivore Effect on Leaf Litter Decomposition in Betula Pendula Saplings: Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences and the Role of Secondary Metabolites

    PubMed Central

    Silfver, Tarja; Paaso, Ulla; Rasehorn, Mira; Rousi, Matti; Mikola, Juha

    2015-01-01

    Plant genetic variation and herbivores can both influence ecosystem functioning by affecting the quantity and quality of leaf litter. Few studies have, however, investigated the effects of herbivore load on litter decomposition at plant genotype level. We reduced insect herbivory using an insecticide on one half of field-grown Betula Pendula saplings of 17 genotypes, representing random intrapopulation genetic variation, and allowed insects to naturally colonize the other half. We hypothesized that due to induced herbivore defence, saplings under natural herbivory produce litter of higher concentrations of secondary metabolites (terpenes and soluble phenolics) and have slower litter decomposition rate than saplings under reduced herbivory. We found that leaf damage was 89 and 53% lower in the insecticide treated saplings in the summer and autumn surveys, respectively, which led to 73% higher litter production. Litter decomposition rate was also affected by herbivore load, but the effect varied from positive to negative among genotypes and added up to an insignificant net effect at the population level. In contrast to our hypothesis, concentrations of terpenes and soluble phenolics were higher under reduced than natural herbivory. Those genotypes, whose leaves were most injured by herbivores, produced litter of lowest mass loss, but unlike we expected, the concentrations of terpenes and soluble phenolics were not linked to either leaf damage or litter decomposition. Our results show that (1) the genetic and herbivore effects on B. pendula litter decomposition are not mediated through variation in terpene or soluble phenolic concentrations and suggest that (2) the presumably higher insect herbivore pressure in the future warmer climate will not, at the ecological time scale, affect the mean decomposition rate in genetically diverse B. pendula populations. However, (3) due to the significant genetic variation in the response of decomposition to herbivory, evolutionary

  11. Egg parasitoid attraction toward induced plant volatiles is disrupted by a non-host herbivore attacking above or belowground plant organs.

    PubMed

    Moujahed, Rihem; Frati, Francesca; Cusumano, Antonino; Salerno, Gianandrea; Conti, Eric; Peri, Ezio; Colazza, Stefano

    2014-01-01

    Plants respond to insect oviposition by emission of oviposition-induced plant volatiles (OIPVs) which can recruit egg parasitoids of the attacking herbivore. To date, studies demonstrating egg parasitoid attraction to OIPVs have been carried out in tritrophic systems consisting of one species each of plant, herbivore host, and the associated egg parasitoid. Less attention has been given to plants experiencing multiple attacks by host and non-host herbivores that potentially could interfere with the recruitment of egg parasitoids as a result of modifications to the OIPV blend. Egg parasitoid attraction could also be influenced by the temporal dynamics of multiple infestations, when the same non-host herbivore damages different organs of the same plant species. In this scenario we investigated the responses of egg parasitoids to feeding and oviposition damage using a model system consisting of Vicia faba, the above-ground insect herbivore Nezara viridula, the above- and below-ground insect herbivore Sitona lineatus, and Trissolcus basalis, a natural enemy of N. viridula. We demonstrated that the non-host S. lineatus disrupts wasp attraction toward plant volatiles induced by the host N. viridula. Interestingly, V. faba damage inflicted by either adults (i.e., leaf-feeding) or larvae (i.e., root-feeding) of S. lineatus, had a similar disruptive effect on T. basalis host location, suggesting that a common interference mechanism might be involved. Neither naïve wasps or wasps with previous oviposition experience were attracted to plant volatiles induced by N. viridula when V. faba plants were concurrently infested with S. lineatus adults or larvae. Analysis of the volatile blends among healthy plants and above-ground treatments show significant differences in terms of whole volatile emissions. Our results demonstrate that induced plant responses caused by a non-host herbivore can disrupt the attraction of an egg parasitoid to a plant that is also infested with its hosts.

  12. Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Insect Communities: A Transplant Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Nooten, Sabine S.; Andrew, Nigel R.; Hughes, Lesley

    2014-01-01

    Climate change will have profound impacts on the distribution, abundance and ecology of all species. We used a multi-species transplant experiment to investigate the potential effects of a warmer climate on insect community composition and structure. Eight native Australian plant species were transplanted into sites approximately 2.5°C (mean annual temperature) warmer than their native range. Subsequent insect colonisation was monitored for 12 months. We compared the insect communities on transplanted host plants at the warmer sites with control plants transplanted within the species' native range. Comparisons of the insect communities were also made among transplanted plants at warmer sites and congeneric plant species native to the warmer transplant area. We found that the morphospecies composition of the colonising Coleoptera and Hemiptera communities differed markedly between transplants at the control compared to the warmer sites. Community structure, as described by the distribution of feeding guilds, was also found to be different between the controls and transplants when the entire Coleoptera and Hemiptera community, including non-herbivore feeding guilds, was considered. However, the structure of the herbivorous insect community showed a higher level of consistency between plants at control and warm sites. There were marked differences in community composition and feeding guild structure, for both herbivores and non-herbivores, between transplants and congenerics at the warm sites. These results suggest that as the climate warms, considerable turnover in the composition of insect communities may occur, but insect herbivore communities may retain elements of their present-day structure. PMID:24465827

  13. Resistance management in a native plant: nicotine prevents herbivores from compensating for plant protease inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Steppuhn, Anke; Baldwin, Ian T

    2007-06-01

    Plants deploy chemical defenses in complex mixtures, which are thought to be adaptive, but experimental tests have used artificial diets rather than plants. Herbivore attack on Nicotiana attenuata rapidly increases the production and accumulation of trypsin proteinase inhibitors (TPI) and the toxic alkaloid nicotine. By transgenically silencing their respective biosynthetic genes, we were able to abolish TPI activity and reduce inducible nicotine by 85%. Nicotine production was not affected by silencing pi or vice versa, and transformation did not alter levels of other metabolites examined. Spodoptera exigua, a native generalist herbivore that can compensate for heterologous TPI expression, performed better on TPI- or nicotine-deficient plants compared with the wild-type. Because of a compensatory feeding response to TPI when nicotine is absent, larvae performed better on nicotine-deficient plants than they did on plants silenced in both defenses. The antifeedant toxin, nicotine, prevents this compensatory response. We conclude that N. attenuata counters an insect adaptation with a defensive synergism.

  14. Insect abatement system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spiro, Clifford Lawrence (Inventor); Burnell, Timothy Brydon (Inventor); Wengrovius, Jeffrey Hayward (Inventor)

    1997-01-01

    An insect abatement system prevents adhesion of insect debris to surfaces which must be kept substantially free of insect debris. An article is coated with an insect abatement coating comprising polyorganosiloxane with a Shore A hardness of less than 50 and a tensile strength of less than 4 MPa. A method for preventing the adhesion of insect debris to surfaces includes the step of applying an insect abatement coating to a surface which must be kept substantially free of insect debris.

  15. Are the phytoestrogens genistein and daidzein anti-herbivore defenses? A test using the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar).

    PubMed

    Karowe, David Nathan; Radi, Joshua Karl

    2011-08-01

    Phytoestrogens are compounds that have moderate estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity toward mammals. Although genistein and daidzein, the main phytoestrogens of soybean, have been the subject of thousands of studies that address their benefit to human health, relatively little is known about their benefits to plants that produce them. It has been suggested that genistein and daidzein protect plants against arthropod herbivores, but direct tests of this hypothesis are rare. In this study, we evaluated the effect of genistein and daidzein on the survivorship, growth, and fecundity of the gypsy moth, a generalist insect herbivore that does not encounter phytoestrogens in its normal diet. We compared survivorship, egg-to-pupa growth rate, and 4th instar performance of gypsy moth caterpillars on artificial diets containing no phytoestrogen, genistein, daidzein, or a combination of genistein and daidzein. Our results indicate that genistein and daidzein do not decrease survivorship, growth, or fecundity of this insect herbivore. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the primary function of these compounds in aboveground plant tissues is anti-herbivore defense.

  16. Genetic Structure and Demographic History Reveal Migration of the Diamondback Moth Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) from the Southern to Northern Regions of China

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Shu-Jun; Shi, Bao-Cai; Gong, Ya-Jun; Jin, Gui-Hua; Chen, Xue-Xin; Meng, Xiang-Feng

    2013-01-01

    The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) is one of the most destructive insect pests of cruciferous plants worldwide. Biological, ecological and genetic studies have indicated that this moth is migratory in many regions around the world. Although outbreaks of this pest occur annually in China and cause heavy damage, little is known concerning its migration. To better understand its migration pattern, we investigated the population genetic structure and demographic history of the diamondback moth by analyzing 27 geographical populations across China using four mitochondrial genes and nine microsatellite loci. The results showed that high haplotype diversity and low nucleotide diversity occurred in the diamondback moth populations, a finding that is typical for migratory species. No genetic differentiation among all populations and no correlation between genetic and geographical distance were found. However, pairwise analysis of the mitochondrial genes has indicated that populations from the southern region were more differentiated than those from the northern region. Gene flow analysis revealed that the effective number of migrants per generation into populations of the northern region is very high, whereas that into populations of the southern region is quite low. Neutrality testing, mismatch distribution and Bayesian Skyline Plot analyses based on mitochondrial genes all revealed that deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and sudden expansion of the effective population size were present in populations from the northern region but not in those from the southern region. In conclusion, all our analyses strongly demonstrated that the diamondback moth migrates within China from the southern to northern regions with rare effective migration in the reverse direction. Our research provides a successful example of using population genetic approaches to resolve the seasonal migration of insects. PMID:23565158

  17. Genetic structure and demographic history reveal migration of the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) from the southern to northern regions of China.

    PubMed

    Wei, Shu-Jun; Shi, Bao-Cai; Gong, Ya-Jun; Jin, Gui-Hua; Chen, Xue-Xin; Meng, Xiang-Feng

    2013-01-01

    The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) is one of the most destructive insect pests of cruciferous plants worldwide. Biological, ecological and genetic studies have indicated that this moth is migratory in many regions around the world. Although outbreaks of this pest occur annually in China and cause heavy damage, little is known concerning its migration. To better understand its migration pattern, we investigated the population genetic structure and demographic history of the diamondback moth by analyzing 27 geographical populations across China using four mitochondrial genes and nine microsatellite loci. The results showed that high haplotype diversity and low nucleotide diversity occurred in the diamondback moth populations, a finding that is typical for migratory species. No genetic differentiation among all populations and no correlation between genetic and geographical distance were found. However, pairwise analysis of the mitochondrial genes has indicated that populations from the southern region were more differentiated than those from the northern region. Gene flow analysis revealed that the effective number of migrants per generation into populations of the northern region is very high, whereas that into populations of the southern region is quite low. Neutrality testing, mismatch distribution and Bayesian Skyline Plot analyses based on mitochondrial genes all revealed that deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and sudden expansion of the effective population size were present in populations from the northern region but not in those from the southern region. In conclusion, all our analyses strongly demonstrated that the diamondback moth migrates within China from the southern to northern regions with rare effective migration in the reverse direction. Our research provides a successful example of using population genetic approaches to resolve the seasonal migration of insects.

  18. Detection of carboxylesterase and esterase activity in culturable gut bacterial flora isolated from diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus), from India and its possible role in indoxacarb degradation.

    PubMed

    Ramya, Shanivarsanthe Leelesh; Venkatesan, Thiruvengadam; Srinivasa Murthy, Kottilingam; Jalali, Sushil Kumar; Verghese, Abraham

    2016-01-01

    Diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus), is a notorious pest of brassica crops worldwide and is resistant to all groups of insecticides. The insect system harbors diverse groups of microbiota, which in turn helps in enzymatic degradation of xenobiotic-like insecticides. The present study aimed to determine the diversity of gut microflora in DBM, quantify esterase activity and elucidate their possible role in degradation of indoxacarb. We screened 11 geographic populations of DBM in India and analyzed them for bacterial diversity. The culturable gut bacterial flora underwent molecular characterization with 16S rRNA. We obtained 25 bacterial isolates from larvae (n=13) and adults (n=12) of DBM. In larval gut isolates, gammaproteobacteria was the most abundant (76%), followed by bacilli (15.4%). Molecular characterization placed adult gut bacterial strains into three major classes based on abundance: gammaproteobacteria (66%), bacilli (16.7%) and flavobacteria (16.7%). Esterase activity from 19 gut bacterial isolates ranged from 0.072 to 2.32μmol/min/mg protein. Esterase bands were observed in 15 bacterial strains and the banding pattern differed in Bacillus cereus - KC985225 and Pantoea agglomerans - KC985229. The bands were characterized as carboxylesterase with profenofos used as an inhibitor. Minimal media study showed that B. cereus degraded indoxacarb up to 20%, so it could use indoxacarb for metabolism and growth. Furthermore, esterase activity was greater with minimal media than control media: 1.87 versus 0.26μmol/min/mg protein. Apart from the insect esterases, bacterial carboxylesterase may aid in the degradation of insecticides in DBM.

  19. Development and survival of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae) as a function of temperature: effect on the number of generations in tropical and subtropical regions.

    PubMed

    Marchioro, C A; Foerster, L A

    2011-10-01

    The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), is the most important pest of brassicaceous crops worldwide. Since temperature is the major abiotic factor influencing insect development and thermal requirements may vary among insect populations, it is important to know the effect of temperature on development and survival of a subtropical strain of P. xylostella. Development and survival of the diamondback moth was evaluated under seven constant temperatures ranging from 10°C to 35°C. Development was completed between 10°C and 32.5°C, but at 35°C all individuals died in the larval stage. Data were fitted to one linear and five nonlinear models. Considering as criteria the goodness of fit and the ability to estimate parameters of biological significance, the models Briere-1 and Briere-2 were the most adequate to describe the relationship between temperature and development of P. xylostella. The linear model demonstrated that P. xylostella required 312.5 degree-days above a lower threshold of 6.3°C to complete development. The degree-day model showed that the number of diamondback moth generations in the tropical region of Brazil is nearly twice the number in the subtropical region of the country. This result explains, at least in part, the higher population levels of this species in the tropical region of Brazil, and also demonstrates that P. xylostella is tolerant to a wide range of temperatures (6.1-32.5°C). Therefore, temperature cannot be considered a limiting factor for the occurrence of diamondback moth throughout the year in most regions of Brazil.

  20. Habitats as Complex Odour Environments: How Does Plant Diversity Affect Herbivore and Parasitoid Orientation?

    PubMed Central

    Wäschke, Nicole; Hardge, Kristin; Hancock, Christine; Hilker, Monika; Obermaier, Elisabeth; Meiners, Torsten

    2014-01-01

    Plant diversity is known to affect success of host location by pest insects, but its effect on olfactory orientation of non-pest insect species has hardly been addressed. First, we tested in laboratory experiments the hypothesis that non-host plants, which increase odour complexity in habitats, affect the host location ability of herbivores and parasitoids. Furthermore, we recorded field data of plant diversity in addition to herbivore and parasitoid abundance at 77 grassland sites in three different regions in Germany in order to elucidate whether our laboratory results reflect the field situation. As a model system we used the herb Plantago lanceolata, the herbivorous weevil Mecinus pascuorum, and its larval parasitoid Mesopolobus incultus. The laboratory bioassays revealed that both the herbivorous weevil and its larval parasitoid can locate their host plant and host via olfactory cues even in the presence of non-host odour. In a newly established two-circle olfactometer, the weeviĺs capability to detect host plant odour was not affected by odours from non-host plants. However, addition of non-host plant odours to host plant odour enhanced the weeviĺs foraging activity. The parasitoid was attracted by a combination of host plant and host volatiles in both the absence and presence of non-host plant volatiles in a Y-tube olfactometer. In dual choice tests the parasitoid preferred the blend of host plant and host volatiles over its combination with non-host plant volatiles. In the field, no indication was found that high plant diversity disturbs host (plant) location by the weevil and its parasitoid. In contrast, plant diversity was positively correlated with weevil abundance, whereas parasitoid abundance was independent of plant diversity. Therefore, we conclude that weevils and parasitoids showed the sensory capacity to successfully cope with complex vegetation odours when searching for hosts. PMID:24416354

  1. Marine and terrestrial herbivores display convergent chemical ecology despite 400 million years of independent evolution

    PubMed Central

    Rasher, Douglas B.; Stout, E. Paige; Engel, Sebastian; Shearer, Tonya L.; Kubanek, Julia; Hay, Mark E.

    2015-01-01

    Chemical cues regulate key ecological interactions in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They are particularly important in terrestrial plant–herbivore interactions, where they mediate both herbivore foraging and plant defense. Although well described for terrestrial interactions, the identity and ecological importance of herbivore foraging cues in marine ecosystems remain unknown. Here we show that the specialist gastropod Elysia tuca hunts its seaweed prey, Halimeda incrassata, by tracking 4-hydroxybenzoic acid to find vegetative prey and the defensive metabolite halimedatetraacetate to find reproductive prey. Foraging cues were predicted to be polar compounds but instead were nonpolar secondary metabolites similar to those used by specialist terrestrial insects. Tracking halimedatetraacetate enables Elysia to increase in abundance by 12- to 18-fold on reproductive Halimeda, despite reproduction in Halimeda being rare and lasting for only ∼36 h. Elysia swarm to reproductive Halimeda where they consume the alga’s gametes, which are resource rich but are chemically defended from most consumers. Elysia sequester functional chloroplasts and halimedatetraacetate from Halimeda to become photosynthetic and chemically defended. Feeding by Elysia suppresses the growth of vegetative Halimeda by ∼50%. Halimeda responds by dropping branches occupied by Elysia, apparently to prevent fungal infection associated with Elysia feeding. Elysia is remarkably similar to some terrestrial insects, not only in its hunting strategy, but also its feeding method, defense tactics, and effects on prey behavior and performance. Such striking parallels indicate that specialist herbivores in marine and terrestrial systems can evolve convergent ecological strategies despite 400 million years of independent evolution in vastly different habitats. PMID:26324909

  2. Cecropins from Plutella xylostella and Their Interaction with Metarhizium anisopliae

    PubMed Central

    Freed, Shoaib; Gao, Yanfu; Yu, Jing; Wang, Shuang; Ju, Wenyan; Zhang, Yuqing; Jin, Fengliang

    2015-01-01

    Cecropins are the most potent induced peptides to resist invading microorganisms. In the present study, two full length cDNA encoding cecropin2 (Px-cec2) and cecropin3 (Px-cec3) were obtained from P. xylostella by integrated analysis of genome and transcriptome data. qRT-PCR analysis revealed the high levels of transcripts of Px-cecs (Px-cec1, Px-cec2 and Px-cec3) in epidermis, fat body and hemocytes after 24, 30 and 36 h induction of Metarhizium anisopliae, respectively. Silencing of Spätzle and Dorsal separately caused the low expression of cecropins in the fat body, epidermis and hemocytes, and made the P.xylostella larvae more susceptible to M. anisopliae. Antimicrobial assays demonstrated that the purified recombinant cecropins, i.e., Px-cec1, Px-cec2 and Px-cec3, exerted a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against fungi, as well as Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Especially, Px-cecs showed higher activity against M. anisopliae than another selected fungi isolates. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that cecropins exerted the vital morphological alterations to the spores of M. anisopliae. Based on our results, cecropins played an imperative role in resisting infection of M. anisopliae, which will provide the foundation of biological control of insect pests by using cecorpins as a target in the future. PMID:26544076

  3. Insect inspiration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McIntosh, Andy; Beheshti, Novid

    2008-04-01

    The innocuous looking bombardier beetle is one of the most remarkable creatures around. This tiny insect is endowed with a defence mechanism that would be the envy of any comic-strip superhero - it can fight off any spider, frog, ant or bird that comes too close by blasting the attacker with a powerful jet of hot, toxic fluid. Furthermore, the beetle can aim its weapon in any direction (even over its head) with pinpoint accuracy, and can reach distances of up to 20 cm with its spray.

  4. Natural bounds on herbivorous coral reef fishes

    PubMed Central

    Hoey, Andrew S.; Williams, Gareth J.; Williams, Ivor D.

    2016-01-01

    Humans are an increasingly dominant driver of Earth's biological communities, but differentiating human impacts from natural drivers of ecosystem state is crucial. Herbivorous fish play a key role in maintaining coral dominance on coral reefs, and are widely affected by human activities, principally fishing. We assess the relative importance of human and biophysical (habitat and oceanographic) drivers on the biomass of five herbivorous functional groups among 33 islands in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Human impacts were clear for some, but not all, herbivore groups. Biomass of browsers, large excavators, and of all herbivores combined declined rapidly with increasing human population density, whereas grazers, scrapers, and detritivores displayed no relationship. Sea-surface temperature had significant but opposing effects on the biomass of detritivores (positive) and browsers (negative). Similarly, the biomass of scrapers, grazers, and detritivores correlated with habitat structural complexity; however, relationships were group specific. Finally, the biomass of browsers and large excavators was related to island geomorphology, both peaking on low-lying islands and atolls. The substantial variability in herbivore populations explained by natural biophysical drivers highlights the need for locally appropriate management targets on coral reefs. PMID:27881745

  5. Natural bounds on herbivorous coral reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Heenan, Adel; Hoey, Andrew S; Williams, Gareth J; Williams, Ivor D

    2016-11-30

    Humans are an increasingly dominant driver of Earth's biological communities, but differentiating human impacts from natural drivers of ecosystem state is crucial. Herbivorous fish play a key role in maintaining coral dominance on coral reefs, and are widely affected by human activities, principally fishing. We assess the relative importance of human and biophysical (habitat and oceanographic) drivers on the biomass of five herbivorous functional groups among 33 islands in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Human impacts were clear for some, but not all, herbivore groups. Biomass of browsers, large excavators, and of all herbivores combined declined rapidly with increasing human population density, whereas grazers, scrapers, and detritivores displayed no relationship. Sea-surface temperature had significant but opposing effects on the biomass of detritivores (positive) and browsers (negative). Similarly, the biomass of scrapers, grazers, and detritivores correlated with habitat structural complexity; however, relationships were group specific. Finally, the biomass of browsers and large excavators was related to island geomorphology, both peaking on low-lying islands and atolls. The substantial variability in herbivore populations explained by natural biophysical drivers highlights the need for locally appropriate management targets on coral reefs.

  6. Contribution of insectivorous avifauna to top down control of Lindera benzoin herbivores at forest edge and interior habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skoczylas, Daniel R.; Muth, Norris Z.; Niesenbaum, Richard A.

    2007-11-01

    Predation of herbivorous Lepidoptera larvae by insectivorous avifauna was estimated on Lindera benzoin in edge and interior habitats at two sites in eastern Pennsylvania (USA). Clay baits modeled after Epimecis hortaria (Geometridae) larvae, the primary herbivore of L. benzoin at our study sites, were used to estimate predation by birds. In both habitat types, models were placed on uninjured L. benzoin leaves as well as on leaves that had prior insect herbivore damage. Rates of model attack were greater, and model longevity reduced, in forest edge plots compared to interiors. Naturally occurring herbivore damage on L. benzoin was greater in forest interiors. However, model attack was not significantly greater on leaves with prior herbivory damage, suggesting that birds do not effectively use this type of leaf damage as a cue in their foraging. Our findings are consistent with a contribution of bird predation towards top-down control of herbivory in this system. We further discuss these results in a broader context considering the possible effects of habitat type on leaf quality, leaf defense, and herbivore performance.

  7. Elevated Atmospheric CO2 Triggers Compensatory Feeding by Root Herbivores on a C3 but Not a C4 Grass

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Scott N.; Lopaticki, Goran; Hartley, Susan E.

    2014-01-01

    Predicted increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations often reduce nutritional quality for herbivores by increasing the C∶N ratio of plant tissue. This frequently triggers compensatory feeding by aboveground herbivores, whereby they consume more shoot material in an attempt to meet their nutritional needs. Little, however, is known about how root herbivores respond to such changes. Grasslands are particularly vulnerable to root herbivores, which can collectively exceed the mass of mammals grazing aboveground. Here we provide novel evidence for compensatory feeding by a grass root herbivore, Sericesthis nigrolineata, under elevated atmospheric CO2 (600 µmol mol−1) on a C3 (Microlaena stipoides) but not a C4 (Cymbopogon refractus) grass species. At ambient CO2 (400 µmol mol−1) M. stipoides roots were 44% higher in nitrogen (N) and 7% lower in carbon (C) concentrations than C. refractus, with insects performing better on M. stipoides. Elevated CO2 decreased N and increased C∶N in M. stipoides roots, but had no impact on C. refractus roots. Root-feeders displayed compensatory feeding on M. stipoides at elevated CO2, consuming 118% more tissue than at ambient atmospheric CO2. Despite this, root feeder biomass remained depressed by 24%. These results suggest that compensatory feeding under elevated atmospheric CO2 may make some grass species particularly vulnerable to attack, potentially leading to future shifts in the community composition of grasslands. PMID:24651855

  8. When can herbivores slow or reverse the spread of an invading plant? A test case from Mount St. Helens.

    PubMed

    Fagan, William F; Lewis, Mark; Neubert, Michael G; Aumann, Craig; Apple, Jennifer L; Bishop, John G

    2005-12-01

    Here we study the spatial dynamics of a coinvading consumer-resource pair. We present a theoretical treatment with extensive empirical data from a long-studied field system in which native herbivorous insects attack a population of lupine plants recolonizing a primary successional landscape created by the 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens. Using detailed data on the life history and interaction strengths of the lupine and one of its herbivores, we develop a system of integrodifference equations to study plant-herbivore invasion dynamics. Our analyses yield several new insights into the spatial dynamics of coinvasions. In particular, we demonstrate that aspects of plant population growth and the intensity of herbivory under low-density conditions can determine whether the plant population spreads across a landscape or is prevented from doing so by the herbivore. In addition, we characterize the existence of threshold levels of spatial extent and/or temporal advantage for the plant that together define critical values of "invasion momentum," beyond which herbivores are unable to reverse a plant invasion. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for successional dynamics and the use of biological control agents to limit the spread of pest species.

  9. Elevated atmospheric CO2 triggers compensatory feeding by root herbivores on a C3 but not a C4 grass.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Scott N; Lopaticki, Goran; Hartley, Susan E

    2014-01-01

    Predicted increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations often reduce nutritional quality for herbivores by increasing the C:N ratio of plant tissue. This frequently triggers compensatory feeding by aboveground herbivores, whereby they consume more shoot material in an attempt to meet their nutritional needs. Little, however, is known about how root herbivores respond to such changes. Grasslands are particularly vulnerable to root herbivores, which can collectively exceed the mass of mammals grazing aboveground. Here we provide novel evidence for compensatory feeding by a grass root herbivore, Sericesthis nigrolineata, under elevated atmospheric CO2 (600 µmol mol(-1)) on a C3 (Microlaena stipoides) but not a C4 (Cymbopogon refractus) grass species. At ambient CO2 (400 µmol mol(-1)) M. stipoides roots were 44% higher in nitrogen (N) and 7% lower in carbon (C) concentrations than C. refractus, with insects performing better on M. stipoides. Elevated CO2 decreased N and increased C:N in M. stipoides roots, but had no impact on C. refractus roots. Root-feeders displayed compensatory feeding on M. stipoides at elevated CO2, consuming 118% more tissue than at ambient atmospheric CO2. Despite this, root feeder biomass remained depressed by 24%. These results suggest that compensatory feeding under elevated atmospheric CO2 may make some grass species particularly vulnerable to attack, potentially leading to future shifts in the community composition of grasslands.

  10. Hijacking common mycorrhizal networks for herbivore-induced defence signal transfer between tomato plants

    PubMed Central

    Song, Yuan Yuan; Ye, Mao; Li, Chuanyou; He, Xinhua; Zhu-Salzman, Keyan; Wang, Rui Long; Su, Yi Juan; Luo, Shi Ming; Zeng, Ren Sen

    2014-01-01

    Common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) link multiple plants together. We hypothesized that CMNs can serve as an underground conduit for transferring herbivore-induced defence signals. We established CMN between two tomato plants in pots with mycorrhizal fungus Funneliformis mosseae, challenged a ‘donor' plant with caterpillar Spodoptera litura, and investigated defence responses and insect resistance in neighbouring CMN-connected ‘receiver' plants. After CMN establishment caterpillar infestation on ‘donor' plant led to increased insect resistance and activities of putative defensive enzymes, induction of defence-related genes and activation of jasmonate (JA) pathway in the ‘receiver' plant. However, use of a JA biosynthesis defective mutant spr2 as ‘donor' plants resulted in no induction of defence responses and no change in insect resistance in ‘receiver' plants, suggesting that JA signalling is required for CMN-mediated interplant communication. These results indicate that plants are able to hijack CMNs for herbivore-induced defence signal transfer and interplant defence communication. PMID:24468912

  11. Role of phytohormones in insect-specific plant reactions

    PubMed Central

    Erb, Matthias; Meldau, Stefan; Howe, Gregg A.

    2012-01-01

    The capacity to perceive and respond is integral to biological immune systems, but to what extent can plants specifically recognize and respond to insects? Recent findings suggest that plants possess surveillance systems that are able to detect general patterns of cellular damage as well as highly specific herbivore-associated cues. The jasmonate (JA) pathway has emerged as the major signaling cassette that integrates information perceived at the plant–insect interface into broad-spectrum defense responses. Specificity can be achieved via JA-independent processes and spatio-temporal changes of JA-modulating hormones, including ethylene, salicylic acid, abscisic acid, auxin, cytokinins, brassinosteroids and gibberellins. The identification of receptors and ligands and an integrative view of hormone-mediated response systems are crucial to understand specificity in plant immunity to herbivores. PMID:22305233

  12. Causes and consequences of cannibalism in noncarnivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Richardson, Matthew L; Mitchell, Robert F; Reagel, Peter F; Hanks, Lawrence M

    2010-01-01

    We review the primary literature to document the incidence of cannibalism among insects that typically are not carnivorous. Most of the cannibalistic species were coleopterans and lepidopterans, and the cannibals often were juveniles that aggregate or that overlap in phenology with the egg stage. Cannibalism can be adaptive by improving growth rate, survivorship, vigor, longevity, and fecundity. It also can play an important role in regulating population density and suppressing population outbreaks, stabilizing host plant-insect relationships, and reducing parasitism rates. Cannibalism often was favored by density-dependent factors for herbivores that feed in concealed feeding situations (such as stem borers, leafminers), but also by density-independent factors (such as high ambient temperature) for herbivores that feed in exposed feeding situations.

  13. Onset of herbivore-induced resistance in systemic tissue primed for jasmonate-dependent defenses is activated by abscisic acid.

    PubMed

    Vos, Irene A; Verhage, Adriaan; Schuurink, Robert C; Watt, Lewis G; Pieterse, Corné M J; Van Wees, Saskia C M

    2013-01-01

    In Arabidopsis, the MYC2 transcription factor on the one hand and the AP2/ERF transcription factors ORA59 and ERF1 on the other hand regulate distinct branches of the jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway in an antagonistic fashion, co-regulated by abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene, respectively. Feeding by larvae of the specialist herbivorous insect Pieris rapae (small cabbage white butterfly) results in activation of the MYC-branch and concomitant suppression of the ERF-branch in insect-damaged leaves. Here we investigated differential JA signaling activation in undamaged systemic leaves of P. rapae-infested plants. We found that the MYC2 transcription factor gene was induced both in the local insect-damaged leaves and the systemic undamaged leaves of P. rapae-infested Arabidopsis plants. However, in contrast to the insect-damaged leaves, the undamaged tissue did not show activation of the MYC-branch marker gene VSP1. Comparison of the hormone signal signature revealed that the levels of JA and (+)-7-iso-jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine raised to similar extents in locally damaged and systemically undamaged leaves, but the production of ABA and the JA precursor 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid was enhanced only in the local herbivore-damaged leaves, and not in the distal undamaged leaves. Challenge of undamaged leaves of pre-infested plants with either P. rapae larvae or exogenously applied ABA led to potentiated expression levels of MYC2 and VSP1, with the latter reaching extremely high expression levels. Moreover, P. rapae-induced resistance, as measured by reduction of caterpillar growth on pre-infested plants, was blocked in the ABA biosynthesis mutant aba2-1, that was also impaired in P. rapae-induced expression of VSP1. Together, these results suggest that ABA is a crucial regulator of herbivore-induced resistance by activating primed JA-regulated defense responses upon secondary herbivore attack in Arabidopsis.

  14. Organismal responses to habitat change: herbivore performance, climate, and leaf traits in regenerating tropical dry forests.

    PubMed

    Agosta, Salvatore J; Hulshof, Catherine M; Staats, Ethan G

    2017-02-01

    1.The ecological effects of large-scale climate change have received much attention, but the effects of the more acute form of climate change that results from local habitat alteration have been less explored. When forest is fragmented, cut, thinned, cleared or otherwise altered in structure, local climates and microclimates change. Such changes can affect herbivores both directly (e.g., through changes in body temperature) and indirectly (e.g., through changes in host plant traits). 2.We advance an eco-physiological framework to understand the effects of changing forests on herbivorous insects. We hypothesize that if tropical forest caterpillars are climate and resource specialists, then they should have reduced performance outside of mature forest conditions. 3.We tested this hypothesis with a field experiment contrasting the performance of Rothschildia lebeau (Saturniidae) caterpillars feeding on the host plant Casearia nitida (Salicaceae) in two different aged and structured tropical dry forests in Area de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica. 4.Compared to more mature closed-canopy forest, in younger secondary forest we found that: (1) ambient conditions were hotter, drier, and more variable; (2) caterpillar growth and development were reduced; and (3) leaves were tougher, thicker, and drier. Further, caterpillar growth and survival were negatively correlated with these leaf traits, suggesting indirect host-mediated effects of climate on herbivores. 5.Based on the available evidence, and relative to mature forest, we conclude that reduced herbivore performance in young secondary forest could have been driven by changes in climate, leaf traits (which were likely climate induced), or both. However, additional studies will be needed to provide more direct evidence of cause-and-effect and to disentangle the relative influence of these factors on herbivore performance in this system. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  15. Differential phenotypic and genetic expression of defence compounds in a plant-herbivore interaction along elevation.

    PubMed

    Salgado, Ana L; Suchan, Tomasz; Pellissier, Loïc; Rasmann, Sergio; Ducrest, Anne-Lyse; Alvarez, Nadir

    2016-09-01

    Elevation gradients impose large differences in abiotic and biotic conditions over short distances, in turn, likely driving differences in gene expression more than would genetic variation per se, as natural selection and drift are less likely to fix alleles at such a narrow spatial scale. As elevation increases, the pressure exerted on plants by herbivores and on arthropod herbivores by predators decreases, and organisms spanning the elevation gradient are thus expected to show lower levels of defence at high elevation. The alternative hypothesis, based on the optimal defence theory, is that defence allocation should be higher in low-resource habitats such as those at high elevation, due to higher costs associated with tissue replacement. In this study, we analyse variation with elevation in (i) defence compound content in the plant Lotus corniculatus and (ii) gene expression associated with defence against predators in the specific phytophagous moth, Zygaena filipendulae. Both species produce cyanogenic glycosides (CNglcs) such as lotaustralin and linamarin as defence mechanisms, with the moth, in addition, being able to sequester CNglcs from its host plant. Specifically, we tested the assumption that the defence-associated phenotype in plants and the gene expression in the insect herbivore should covary between low- and high-elevation environments. We found that L. corniculatus accumulated more CNglcs at high elevation, a result in agreement with the optimal defence theory. By contrast, we found that the levels of expression in the defence genes of Z. filipendulae larvae were not related to the CNglc content of their host plant. Overall, expression levels were not correlated with elevation either, with the exception of the UGT33A1 gene, which showed a marginally significant trend towards higher expression at high elevation when using a simple statistical framework. These results suggest that the defence phenotype of plants against herbivores, and subsequent

  16. Differential phenotypic and genetic expression of defence compounds in a plant–herbivore interaction along elevation

    PubMed Central

    Salgado, Ana L.; Suchan, Tomasz; Pellissier, Loïc; Rasmann, Sergio; Ducrest, Anne-Lyse

    2016-01-01

    Elevation gradients impose large differences in abiotic and biotic conditions over short distances, in turn, likely driving differences in gene expression more than would genetic variation per se, as natural selection and drift are less likely to fix alleles at such a narrow spatial scale. As elevation increases, the pressure exerted on plants by herbivores and on arthropod herbivores by predators decreases, and organisms spanning the elevation gradient are thus expected to show lower levels of defence at high elevation. The alternative hypothesis, based on the optimal defence theory, is that defence allocation should be higher in low-resource habitats such as those at high elevation, due to higher costs associated with tissue replacement. In this study, we analyse variation with elevation in (i) defence compound content in the plant Lotus corniculatus and (ii) gene expression associated with defence against predators in the specific phytophagous moth, Zygaena filipendulae. Both species produce cyanogenic glycosides (CNglcs) such as lotaustralin and linamarin as defence mechanisms, with the moth, in addition, being able to sequester CNglcs from its host plant. Specifically, we tested the assumption that the defence-associated phenotype in plants and the gene expression in the insect herbivore should covary between low- and high-elevation environments. We found that L. corniculatus accumulated more CNglcs at high elevation, a result in agreement with the optimal defence theory. By contrast, we found that the levels of expression in the defence genes of Z. filipendulae larvae were not related to the CNglc content of their host plant. Overall, expression levels were not correlated with elevation either, with the exception of the UGT33A1 gene, which showed a marginally significant trend towards higher expression at high elevation when using a simple statistical framework. These results suggest that the defence phenotype of plants against herbivores, and subsequent

  17. Sending mixed messages: a trophic cascade produced by a belowground herbivore-induced cue

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Plants defend themselves against herbivores both directly (chemical toxins and physical barriers) and indirectly (attracting natural enemies of their herbivores). Previous work has shown that roots of citrus defend themselves against root herbivores by releasing an herbivore induced plant volatile (...

  18. Physiological function and ecological aspects of fatty acid-amino acid conjugates in insects.

    PubMed

    Yoshinaga, Naoko

    2016-07-01

    In tritrophic interactions, plants recognize herbivore-produced elicitors and release a blend of volatile compounds (VOCs), which work as chemical cues for parasitoids or predators to locate their hosts. From detection of elicitors to VOC emissions, plants utilize sophisticated systems that resemble the plant-microbe interaction system. Fatty acid-amino acid conjugates (FACs), a class of insect elicitors, resemble compounds synthesized by microbes in nature. Recent evidence suggests that the recognition of insect elicitors by an ancestral microbe-associated defense system may be the origin of tritrophic interactions mediated by FACs. Here we discuss our findings in light of how plants have customized this defense to be effective against insect herbivores, and how some insects have successfully adapted to these defenses.

  19. Effect of Bt broccoli and resistant genotype of Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) on development and host acceptance of the parasitoid Diadegma insulare (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae).

    PubMed

    Liu, Xiaoxia; Chen, Mao; Onstad, David; Roush, Rick; Shelton, Anthony M

    2011-08-01

    The ecological implications on biological control of insecticidal transgenic plants, which produce crystal (Cry) proteins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), remain a contentious issue and affect risk assessment decisions. In this study, we used a unique system of resistant insects, Bt plants and a parasitoid to critically evaluate this issue. The effects of broccoli type (normal or expressing Cry1Ac protein) and insect genotype (susceptible or Cry1Ac-resistant) of Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) were examined for their effects on the development and host foraging behavior of the parasitoid, Diadegma insulare (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) over two generations. Parasitism rate and development of D. insulare were not significantly different when different genotypes (Bt-resistant or susceptible) of insect host larvae fed on non-Bt broccoli plants. D. insulare could not discriminate between resistant and susceptible genotypes of P. xylostella, nor between Bt and normal broccoli plants with different genotypes of P. xylostella feeding on them. No D. insulare could emerge from Bt broccoli-fed susceptible and heterozygous P. xylostella larvae because these larvae were unable to survive on Bt broccoli. The parasitism rate, developmental period, pupal and adult weights of D. insulare that had developed on Bt broccoli-fed Cry1Ac-resistant P. xylostella larvae were not significantly different from those that developed on non-Bt broccoli-fed larvae. Female D. insulare emerged from Cry1Ac-resistant P. xylostella that fed on Bt plants could successfully parasitize P. xylostella larvae. The life parameters of the subsequent generation of D. insulare from P. xylostella reared on Bt broccoli were not significantly different from those from non-Bt broccoli. The Cry1Ac protein was detected in P. xylostella and in D. insulare when hosts fed on Bt broccoli. These results are the first to indicate that Cry1Ac did not harm the development or

  20. Differential responses of herbivores and herbivory to management in temperate European beech.

    PubMed

    Gossner, Martin M; Pašalić, Esther; Lange, Markus; Lange, Patricia; Boch, Steffen; Hessenmöller, Dominik; Müller, Jörg; Socher, Stephanie A; Fischer, Markus; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2014-01-01

    Forest management not only affects biodiversity but also might alter ecosystem processes mediated by the organisms, i.e. herbivory the removal of plant biomass by plant-eating insects and other arthropod groups. Aiming at revealing general relationships between forest management and herbivory we investigated aboveground arthropod herbivory in 105 plots dominated by European beech in three different regions in Germany in the sun-exposed canopy of mature beech trees and on beech saplings in the understorey. We separately assessed damage by different guilds of herbivores, i.e. chewing, sucking and scraping herbivores, gall-forming insects and mites, and leaf-mining insects. We asked whether herbivory differs among different forest management regimes (unmanaged, uneven-aged managed, even-aged managed) and among age-classes within even-aged forests. We further tested for consistency of relationships between regions, strata and herbivore guilds. On average, almost 80% of beech leaves showed herbivory damage, and about 6% of leaf area was consumed. Chewing damage was most common, whereas leaf sucking and scraping damage were very rare. Damage was generally greater in the canopy than in the understorey, in particular for chewing and scraping damage, and the occurrence of mines. There was little difference in herbivory among differently managed forests and the effects of management on damage differed among regions, strata and damage types. Covariates such as wood volume, tree density and plant diversity weakly influenced herbivory, and effects differed between herbivory types. We conclude that despite of the relatively low number of species attacking beech; arthropod herbivory on beech is generally high. We further conclude that responses of herbivory to forest management are multifaceted and environmental factors such as forest structure variables affecting in particular microclimatic conditions are more likely to explain the variability in herbivory among beech forest

  1. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are dramatically altering global biodiversity. Theory predicts these changes to be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive excl...

  2. Allergies to Insect Venom

    MedlinePlus

    Allergies To Insect Venom Facts About Allergies The tendency to develop allergies may be inherited. If you have allergic tendencies and ... lives of those who are sensitive to it...insect venom! Although less common than pollen allergy, insect ...

  3. Responses of community-level plant-insect interactions to climate warming in a meadow steppe

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Hui; Zou, Xuehui; Wang, Deli; Wan, Shiqiang; Wang, Ling; Guo, Jixun

    2015-01-01

    Climate warming may disrupt trophic interactions, consequently influencing ecosystem functioning. Most studies have concentrated on the temperature-effects on plant-insect interactions at individual and population levels, with a particular emphasis on changes in phenology and distribution. Nevertheless, the available evidence from the community level is limited. A 3-year field manipulative experiment was performed to test potential responses of plant and insect communities, and plant-insect interactions, to elevated temperature in a meadow steppe. Warming increased the biomass of plant community and forbs, and decreased grass biomass, indicating a shift from grass-dominant to grass-forb mixed plant community. Reduced abundance of the insect community under warming, particularly the herbivorous insects, was attributed to lower abundance of Euchorthippus unicolor and a Cicadellidae species resulting from lower food availability and higher defensive herbivory. Lower herbivore abundance caused lower predator species richness because of reduced prey resources and contributed to an overall decrease in insect species richness. Interestingly, warming enhanced the positive relationship between insect and plant species richness, implying that the strength of the plant-insect interactions was altered by warming. Our results suggest that alterations to plant-insect interactions at a community level under climate warming in grasslands may be more important and complex than previously thought. PMID:26686758

  4. Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal Cry1Aa toxin binds to a highly conserved region of aminopeptidase N in the host insect leading to its evolutionary success.

    PubMed

    Nakanishi, K; Yaoi, K; Shimada, N; Kadotani, T; Sato, R

    1999-06-15

    Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal protein, Cry1Aa toxin, binds to a specific receptor in insect midguts and has insecticidal activity. Therefore, the structure of the receptor molecule is probably a key factor in determining the binding affinity of the toxin and insect susceptibility. The cDNA fragment (PX frg1) encoding the Cry1Aa toxin-binding region of an aminopeptidase N (APN) or an APN family protein from diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella midgut was cloned and sequenced. A comparison between the deduced amino acid sequence of PX frg1 and other insect APN sequences shows that Cry1Aa toxin binds to a highly conserved region of APN family protein. In this paper, we propose a model to explain the mechanism that causes B. thuringiensis evolutionary success and differing insect susceptibility to Cry1Aa toxin.

  5. Alteration of Plant Primary Metabolism in Response to Insect Herbivory1

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Shaoqun; Lou, Yann-Ru; Tzin, Vered; Jander, Georg

    2015-01-01

    Plants in nature, which are continuously challenged by diverse insect herbivores, produce constitutive and inducible defenses to reduce insect damage and preserve their own fitness. In addition to inducing pathways that are directly responsible for the production of toxic and deterrent compounds, insect herbivory causes numerous changes in plant primary metabolism. Whereas the functions of defensive metabolites such as alkaloids, terpenes, and glucosinolates have been studied extensively, the fitness benefits of changes in photosynthesis, carbon transport, and nitrogen allocation remain less well understood. Adding to the complexity of the observed responses, the feeding habits of different insect herbivores can significantly influence the induced changes in plant primary metabolism. In this review, we summarize experimental data addressing the significance of insect feeding habits, as related to herbivore-induced changes in plant primary metabolism. Where possible, we link these physiological changes with current understanding of their underlying molecular mechanisms. Finally, we discuss the potential fitness benefits that host plants receive from altering their primary metabolism in response to insect herbivory. PMID:26378101

  6. What Makes an Insect an Insect?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    NatureScope, 1985

    1985-01-01

    Provides background information on characteristics common to all insects, activities, and student materials (ready-to-copy games, puzzles, coloring pages, worksheets, and/or mazes) which describe: how insects are classified; how they are different from other animals; and the main insect characteristics. Activities include recommended age levels,…

  7. The Enigmatic Universe of the Herbivore Gut.

    PubMed

    Glass, N Louise

    2016-07-01

    The herbivore gut is a fascinating ecosystem exquisitely adapted to plant biomass degradation. Within this ecosystem, anaerobic fungi invade biomass and secrete hydrolytic enzymes. In a recent study, Solomon et al. characterized three anaerobic fungi by transcriptomics, proteomics, and functional analyses to identify novel components essential for plant biomass deconstruction.

  8. Diversity and abundance of phyllosphere bacteria are linked to insect herbivory.

    PubMed

    Humphrey, Parris T; Nguyen, Trang T; Villalobos, Martha M; Whiteman, Noah K

    2014-03-01

    Simultaneous or sequential attack by herbivores and microbes is common in plants. Many seed plants exhibit a defence trade-off against chewing herbivorous insects and leaf-colonizing ('phyllosphere') bacteria, which arises from cross-talk between the phytohormones jasmonic acid (JA, induced by many herbivores) and salicylic acid (SA, induced by many bacteria). This cross-talk may promote reciprocal susceptibility in plants between phyllosphere bacteria and insect herbivores. In a population of native bittercress (Cardamine cordifolia, Brassicaceae), we tested whether simulating prior damage with JA or SA treatment induced resistance or susceptibility (respectively) to chewing herbivores. In parallel, we conducted culture-dependent surveys of phyllosphere bacteria to test the hypothesis that damage by chewing herbivores correlates positively with bacterial abundance in leaves. Finally, we tested whether bacterial infection induced susceptibility to herbivory by a major chewing herbivore of bittercress, Scaptomyza nigrita (Drosophilidae). Overall, our results suggest that reciprocal susceptibility to herbivory and microbial attack occurs in bittercress. We found that JA treatment reduced and SA treatment increased S. nigrita herbivory in bittercress in the field. Bacterial abundance was higher in herbivore-damaged vs. undamaged leaves (especially Pseudomonas syringae). However, Pedobacter spp. and Pseudomonas fluorescens infections were negatively associated with herbivory. Experimental Pseudomonas spp. infections increased S. nigrita herbivory in bittercress. Thus, plant defence signalling trade-offs can have important ecological consequences in nature that may be reflected in a positive correlation between herbivory and phyllosphere bacterial abundance and diversity. Importantly, the strength and direction of this association varies within and among prevalent bacterial groups.

  9. Experimental support of the stress-gradient hypothesis in herbivore-herbivore interactions.

    PubMed

    Dangles, Olivier; Herrera, Mario; Anthelme, Fabien

    2013-01-01

    The stress-gradient hypothesis (SGH) postulates an increase in the frequency of positive species interactions at increasing amounts of stress. While the SGH has been extensively tested in plant-plant interactions along abiotic stresses, it remains unclear whether this hypothesis could apply to higher trophic levels, such as herbivores, along biotic stress gradients. To address this issue, we investigated how the interaction between two potato herbivores may change along a stress gradient created by an assortment of potato varieties with different tuber palatability. We used a tuber resistance trait as a measure for biotic stress and one herbivore as the facilitator to gain access to the tuber of the other herbivore. Our experiment revealed a switch from neutral to positive interactions with increasing stress, confirming for the first time the predictions of the SGH for herbivores. Moreover, the intensity of facilitation decreased at high stress levels, suggesting that benefits by the facilitating species were dampened in the most stressful environment. In view of the ubiquitous role played by positive interactions among herbivores, broadening our search image for facilitative effects among other plant enemies will allow a better awareness of the importance of the SGH in structuring plant communities.

  10. Studying insect diversity in the tropics.

    PubMed Central

    Godfray, H C; Lewis, T; Memmott, J

    1999-01-01

    Understanding the extent and causes of insect diversity in the humid tropics is one of the major challenges in modern ecology. We review some of the current approaches to this problem, and discuss how future progress may be made. Recent calculations that there may be more than 30 million species of insect on earth have focused attention on the magnitude of this problem and stimulated several new lines of research (although the true figure is now widely thought to be between five and ten million species). We discuss work based on insecticidal logging surveys; studies of herbivore and parasitoid specificity; macroecological approaches; and the construction of food webs. It is argued that progress in estimating insect diversity and in understanding insect community dynamics will be enhanced by building local inventories of species diversity, and in descriptive and experimental studies of the trophic structure of communities. As an illustration of work aimed at the last goal, we discuss the construction and analysis of quantitative host-parasitoid food webs, drawing on our work on leaf miner communities in Central America. PMID:11605624

  11. Measuring Asymmetry in Insect-Plant Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruz, Cláudia P. T.; de Almeida, Adriana M.; Corso, Gilberto

    2011-03-01

    In this work we focus on interaction networks between insects and plants and in the characterization of insect plant asymmetry, an important issue in coevolution and evolutionary biology. We analyze in particular the asymmetry in the interaction matrix of animals (herbivorous insects) and plants (food resource for the insects). Instead of driving our attention to the interaction matrix itself we derive two networks associated to the bipartite network: the animal network, D1, and the plant network, D2. These networks are constructed according to the following recipe: two animal species are linked once if they interact with the same plant. In a similar way, in the plant network, two plants are linked if they interact with the same animal. To explore the asymmetry between D2 and D1 we test for a set of 23 networks from the ecologic literature networks: the difference in size, ΔL, clustering coefficient difference, ΔC, and mean connectivity difference, Δ. We used a nonparametric statistical test to check the differences in ΔL, ΔC and Δ. Our results indicate that ΔL and Δ show a significative asymmetry.

  12. Conspecific and Heterospecific Aboveground Herbivory Both Reduce Preference by a Belowground Herbivore.