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. PMID:25802407

  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. 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.

  5. Mechanisms of plant defense against insect herbivores.

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Plant coloration undermines herbivorous insect camouflage.

    PubMed

    Lev-Yadun, Simcha; Dafni, Amots; Flaishman, Moshe A; Inbar, Moshe; Izhaki, Ido; Katzir, Gadi; Ne'eman, Gidi

    2004-10-01

    The main point of our hypothesis "coloration undermines camouflage" is that many color patterns in plants undermine the camouflage of invertebrate herbivores, especially insects, thus exposing them to predation and causing them to avoid plant organs with unsuitable coloration, to the benefit of the plants. This is a common case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and a visual parallel of the chemical signals that plants emit to call wasps when attacked by caterpillars. Moreover, this is also a common natural version of the well-known case of industrial melanism, which illustrates the great importance of plant-based camouflage for herbivorous insects and can serve as an independent test for our hypothesis. We claim that the enormous variations in coloration of leaves, petioles and stems as well as of flowers and fruits undermine the camouflage of invertebrate herbivores, especially insects. We assume that the same principle might operate in certain animal-parasite interactions. Our hypothesis, however, does not contrast or exclude other previous or future explanations of specific types of plant coloration. Traits such as coloration that have more than one type of benefit may be selected for by several agents and evolve more rapidly than ones with a single type of advantage.

  8. Insect endosymbionts: manipulators of insect herbivore trophic interactions?

    PubMed

    Clark, Emily L; Karley, Alison J; Hubbard, Stephen F

    2010-08-01

    Throughout their evolutionary history, insects have formed multiple relationships with bacteria. Although many of these bacteria are pathogenic, with deleterious effects on the fitness of infected insects, there are also numerous examples of symbiotic bacteria that are harmless or even beneficial to their insect host. Symbiotic bacteria that form obligate or facultative associations with insects and that are located intracellularly in the host insect are known as endosymbionts. Endosymbiosis can be a strong driving force for evolution when the acquisition and maintenance of a microorganism by the insect host results in the formation of novel structures or changes in physiology and metabolism. The complex evolutionary dynamics of vertically transmitted symbiotic bacteria have led to distinctive symbiont genome characteristics that have profound effects on the phenotype of the host insect. Symbiotic bacteria are key players in insect-plant interactions influencing many aspects of insect ecology and playing a key role in shaping the diversification of many insect groups. In this review, we discuss the role of endosymbionts in manipulating insect herbivore trophic interactions focussing on their impact on plant utilisation patterns and parasitoid biology.

  9. 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

  10. 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. PMID:25548168

  11. 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

  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. Multi-factor climate change effects on insect herbivore performance

    PubMed Central

    Scherber, Christoph; Gladbach, David J; Stevnbak, Karen; Karsten, Rune Juelsborg; Schmidt, Inger Kappel; Michelsen, Anders; Albert, Kristian Rost; Larsen, Klaus Steenberg; Mikkelsen, Teis Nørgaard; Beier, Claus; Christensen, Søren

    2013-01-01

    The impact of climate change on herbivorous insects can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem processes. However, experiments investigating the combined effects of multiple climate change drivers on herbivorous insects are scarce. We independently manipulated three climate change drivers (CO2, warming, drought) in a Danish heathland ecosystem. The experiment was established in 2005 as a full factorial split-plot with 6 blocks × 2 levels of CO2 × 2 levels of warming × 2 levels of drought = 48 plots. In 2008, we exposed 432 larvae (n = 9 per plot) of the heather beetle (Lochmaea suturalis Thomson), an important herbivore on heather, to ambient versus elevated drought, temperature, and CO2 (plus all combinations) for 5 weeks. Larval weight and survival were highest under ambient conditions and decreased significantly with the number of climate change drivers. Weight was lowest under the drought treatment, and there was a three-way interaction between time, CO2, and drought. Survival was lowest when drought, warming, and elevated CO2 were combined. Effects of climate change drivers depended on other co-acting factors and were mediated by changes in plant secondary compounds, nitrogen, and water content. Overall, drought was the most important factor for this insect herbivore. Our study shows that weight and survival of insect herbivores may decline under future climate. The complexity of insect herbivore responses increases with the number of combined climate change drivers. PMID:23789058

  15. Plant-mediated 'apparent effects' between mycorrhiza and insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Lucy; Johnson, David

    2015-08-01

    Plants mediate indirect 'apparent' effects between above-ground herbivores and below-ground mutualistic mycorrhizal fungi. The herbivore-plant-mycorrhiza continuum is further complicated because signals produced by plants in response to herbivores can be transmitted to other plants via shared fungal networks below ground. Insect herbivores, such as aphids, probably affect the functioning of mycorrhizal fungi by changing the supply of recent photosynthate from plants to mycorrhizas, whereas there is evidence that mycorrhizas affect aphid fitness by changing plant signalling pathways, rather than only through improved nutrition. New knowledge of the transfer of signals through fungal networks between plant species means we now need a better understanding of how this process occurs in relation to the feeding preferences of herbivores to shape plant community composition and herbivore behaviour in nature.

  16. 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

  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. 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

  19. Testing two methods that relate herbivorous insects to host plants.

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-12-01

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-12-01

    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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. PMID:24823652

  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. Evolutionary analysis of herbivorous insects in natural and agricultural environments.

    PubMed

    Gassmann, Aaron J; Onstad, David W; Pittendrigh, Barry R

    2009-11-01

    Herbivorous insects offer a remarkable example of the biological diversity that formed the foundation for Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. The ability of insects to evolve resistance rapidly to insecticides and host-plant resistance present a continual challenge for pest management. This paper considers the manner in which genetic constraints, host-plant availability and trade-offs affect the evolution of herbivorous insects in natural and agricultural environments, and the extent to which lessons learned from studying natural systems may be applied to improve insect resistance management in agricultural systems. Studies on the genetic architecture of adaptation by herbivores to host plants and to insecticides are reviewed. The genetic basis of resistance is an important component of simulation models that predict the evolution of resistance. These models often assume monogenic resistance, but available data suggest that this assumption may be overly narrow and that modeling of resistance as oligogenic or polygenic may be more appropriate. As omics (e.g. genomics and proteomics) technologies become more accessible, a better understanding of the genetic basis of resistance will be possible. Trade-offs often accompany adaptations by herbivores. Trade-offs arise when the benefit of a trait, such as the ability to feed on a novel host plant or to survive in the presence of an insecticide, is counterbalanced by fitness costs that decrease fitness in the absence of the selective agent. For resistance to insecticides, and resistance to insecticidal transgenic crops in particular, fitness costs may act as an evolutionary constraint and delay or prevent the evolution of resistance. An important observation is that certain ecological factors such as host plants and entomopathogens can magnify fitness costs, which is termed ecological negative cross-resistance. The application of omics technologies may allow for more efficient identification of factors that

  6. Ecological immunology mediated by diet in herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Singer, Michael S; Mason, Peri A; Smilanich, Angela M

    2014-11-01

    A rapidly advancing area of ecological immunology concerns the effects of diet on animals' immunological responses to parasites and pathogens. Here, we focus on diet-mediated ecological immunology in herbivorous insects, in part because these organisms commonly experience nutritional limitations from their diets of plants. Nutritional immunology highlights nutrient-based trade-offs between immunological and other physiological processes as well as trade-offs among distinct immunological processes. This field reveals that nutrition influences the quality and quantity of immunological defense in herbivorous insects, and conversely that nutritional intake by herbivorous insects can be an adaptive response to the specific types of immune-challenge they face in the context of other physiological processes. Because the diets of herbivores challenge them physiologically with plants' secondary metabolites, another area of study analyzes constraints on immunological defense imposed by secondary metabolites of plants in the diets of herbivorous insects. Alternatively, some herbivores can use secondary metabolites as medicine against parasites or pathogens. Animal-medication theory makes an important contribution to ecological immunology by distinguishing prophylactic and therapeutic mechanisms of anti-parasite defense. Integrating ideas from animal-medication and nutritional immunology, we outline a conceptual framework in which the immunological role of the diet consists of mechanisms of prophylaxis, therapy, compensation, and combinations thereof. Then, we use this framework to organize findings from our own research on diet-mediated ecological immunology of woolly bear caterpillars. We show evidence that the woolly bear caterpillar, Grammia incorrupta (Hy. Edwards) (Lepidoptera, Erebidae, and Arctiinae), can employ both diet-mediated prophylaxis and therapy. First, increased consumption of carbohydrate-biased food prior to immune-challenge increased its melanization

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Spatially Heterogeneous Perturbations Homogenize the Regulation of Insect Herbivores.

    PubMed

    Harvey, Eric; MacDougall, Andrew S

    2015-11-01

    Anthropogenic influences on resources and consumers can affect food web regulation, with impacts on trophic structure and ecosystem processes. Identifying how these impacts unfold is challenging because alterations to one or both resources and consumers can similarly transform community structure, especially for intermediate consumers. To date, empirical testing of perturbations on trophic regulation has been limited by the difficulty in separating the direct effect of perturbations on species composition and diversity from those unfolding indirectly via altered feeding pathways. Moreover, disentangling the independent and interactive impacts of covarying stressors that characterize human-altered systems has been an ongoing analytical challenge. We used a large-scale metacommunity experiment in grasslands to test how resource inputs, stand perturbation, and spatial factors affect regulation of insect herbivores in tritrophic grassland food webs. Using path-model comparisons, we observed significant simplification of food web regulation on insect herbivores, shifting from mixed predator-resource regulation in unaltered mainland areas to strictly resource-based regulation with landscape perturbation and fragmentation. Most changes were attributed to homogenization of plant community caused by landscape fragmentation and the deterministic influence of eutrophication that reduced among-patch beta diversity. This led to a simplified food web dominated by fewer but more abundant herbivore taxa. Our work implies that anthropogenic perturbation relating to resources and spatial isolation can transform the regulation of food web diversity, structure, and function. PMID:26655775

  10. Spatially Heterogeneous Perturbations Homogenize the Regulation of Insect Herbivores.

    PubMed

    Harvey, Eric; MacDougall, Andrew S

    2015-11-01

    Anthropogenic influences on resources and consumers can affect food web regulation, with impacts on trophic structure and ecosystem processes. Identifying how these impacts unfold is challenging because alterations to one or both resources and consumers can similarly transform community structure, especially for intermediate consumers. To date, empirical testing of perturbations on trophic regulation has been limited by the difficulty in separating the direct effect of perturbations on species composition and diversity from those unfolding indirectly via altered feeding pathways. Moreover, disentangling the independent and interactive impacts of covarying stressors that characterize human-altered systems has been an ongoing analytical challenge. We used a large-scale metacommunity experiment in grasslands to test how resource inputs, stand perturbation, and spatial factors affect regulation of insect herbivores in tritrophic grassland food webs. Using path-model comparisons, we observed significant simplification of food web regulation on insect herbivores, shifting from mixed predator-resource regulation in unaltered mainland areas to strictly resource-based regulation with landscape perturbation and fragmentation. Most changes were attributed to homogenization of plant community caused by landscape fragmentation and the deterministic influence of eutrophication that reduced among-patch beta diversity. This led to a simplified food web dominated by fewer but more abundant herbivore taxa. Our work implies that anthropogenic perturbation relating to resources and spatial isolation can transform the regulation of food web diversity, structure, and function.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:26566692

  14. Insect herbivores can choose microclimates to achieve nutritional homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Clissold, Fiona J; Coggan, Nicole; Simpson, Stephen J

    2013-06-01

    The interaction between temperature and diet quality can affect the life history of ectotherms. The rate and ratio at which protein and carbohydrate are obtained from food are important aspects of diet quality, and insects have a well-developed capacity to adjust their feeding behaviour and post-ingestive physiology to regulate intake and allocation of these nutrients. If the supply of protein and carbohydrate varies with temperature (e.g. via effects on intake, digestion or metabolism), then herbivorous insects can use thermoregulatory behaviour to help achieve nutritional homeostasis. When fed the host grass Triticum aestivum, Locusta migratoria nymphs absorbed and allocated protein and carbohydrate to growth with the same efficiency at 38°C as at 32°C; however, at the higher temperature, they ingested more food. In contrast, when feeding on Themeda triandra, the nymphs absorbed carbohydrate with higher efficiency at 32°C, and protein at 38°C. Using synthetic diets, we induced either a protein or a carbohydrate deficiency in experimental insects and showed that locusts placed in a thermal gradient following a meal of T. triandra selected 32°C when deprived of carbohydrate, and 38°C when deprived of protein. This capacity to use thermoregulatory behaviour to redress an imposed nutritional imbalance improved with experience of feeding on T. triandra. As predicted, locusts fed T. aestivum always chose higher temperatures, irrespective of nutritional state. Our results have consequences for understanding host-plant choice by herbivores and interpreting the effects of changed environmental temperatures and microclimate on animal-plant interactions.

  15. Insect herbivores can choose microclimates to achieve nutritional homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Clissold, Fiona J; Coggan, Nicole; Simpson, Stephen J

    2013-06-01

    The interaction between temperature and diet quality can affect the life history of ectotherms. The rate and ratio at which protein and carbohydrate are obtained from food are important aspects of diet quality, and insects have a well-developed capacity to adjust their feeding behaviour and post-ingestive physiology to regulate intake and allocation of these nutrients. If the supply of protein and carbohydrate varies with temperature (e.g. via effects on intake, digestion or metabolism), then herbivorous insects can use thermoregulatory behaviour to help achieve nutritional homeostasis. When fed the host grass Triticum aestivum, Locusta migratoria nymphs absorbed and allocated protein and carbohydrate to growth with the same efficiency at 38°C as at 32°C; however, at the higher temperature, they ingested more food. In contrast, when feeding on Themeda triandra, the nymphs absorbed carbohydrate with higher efficiency at 32°C, and protein at 38°C. Using synthetic diets, we induced either a protein or a carbohydrate deficiency in experimental insects and showed that locusts placed in a thermal gradient following a meal of T. triandra selected 32°C when deprived of carbohydrate, and 38°C when deprived of protein. This capacity to use thermoregulatory behaviour to redress an imposed nutritional imbalance improved with experience of feeding on T. triandra. As predicted, locusts fed T. aestivum always chose higher temperatures, irrespective of nutritional state. Our results have consequences for understanding host-plant choice by herbivores and interpreting the effects of changed environmental temperatures and microclimate on animal-plant interactions. PMID:23430995

  16. Oxygen levels in the gut lumens of herbivorous insects.

    PubMed

    Johnson; V Barbehenn R

    2000-06-01

    Oxygen levels were measured in the foregut and midgut lumens of ten species of caterpillars and three species of grasshoppers. In most species, the foregut was nearly anoxic, with oxygen levels ranging from 0 to 2.5 mm Hg. However, two caterpillar species with large foreguts (Malacosoma disstria and Lymantria dispar) had elevated oxygen levels (27.9 and 32.1 mm Hg) in this region when they were fed artificial diet. In all of the species surveyed, the anterior and posterior midgut were nearly anoxic, with oxygen levels ranging from 0 to 7.3 mm Hg. Oxygen levels in the midgut lumen of Helicoverpa zea did not differ when caterpillars were fed artificial diet or tomato foliage, suggesting that the insect is capable of reducing the level of ingested oxygen in its gut. An examination of the radial microgradient of oxygen in the gut lumen demonstrated that the midgut epithelium is not a sink for ingested oxygen. However, the midgut contents of larvae fed artificial diet were capable of depleting oxygen. This capacity was reduced by boiling, suggesting that the nearly anoxic state of the midgut lumen in some insects is maintained by endogenous chemical processes. We conclude that low oxygen levels in the gut lumens of most herbivorous insects may greatly reduce the rates of oxidation of ingested plant compounds by oxygen-dependent reactions.

  17. 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.

  18. Effects of mycorrhizal fungi on insect herbivores: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Koricheva, Julia; Gange, Alan C; Jones, Tara

    2009-08-01

    Mycorrhizal status of the host plant is often ignored in studies on plant-herbivore interactions, but mycorrhizal colonization is known to induce many morphological, physiological, and biochemical changes in host plants, which in turn may alter plant quality as a host for insect herbivores. Both positive and negative effects of mycorrhizal colonization of the host plant on performance and density of insect herbivores have been reported in previous studies. We have conducted a meta-analysis of 34 published and unpublished studies on this topic in order to find out the sources of variation in mycorrhizae effects on insect herbivores. Effects of mycorrhizae on chewing insects depended upon the parameter measured and the degree of herbivore feeding specialization. Density and consumption of chewing insects were higher on mycorrhizal plants, but this did not lead to greater plant damage, presumably because herbivore survival tended to be lower on mycorrhizal plants. Mono- and oligophagous chewers benefited from mycorrhizal colonization of their host plants, whereas performance of polyphagous chewers was reduced on mycorrhizal plants. Among sucking insects, phloem feeders benefited from mycorrhizal infection, but performance of mesophyll feeders was lower on mycorrhizal plants. The type of mycorrhiza was not important for chewing insects, but performance of sucking insects was increased more by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) than by ectomycorrhizae (ECM). Among AM inoculation studies, the most commonly used fungal species, Glomus intraradices, tended to have a negative effect on chewer performance, whereas all other fungal species tended to have a positive effect. There was no significant difference in results between studies using inoculation and fungicides, field and laboratory studies, and published and unpublished studies. Mycorrhizal status of the host plant thus influences insect herbivore performance, but the magnitude and direction of the effect depend upon

  19. 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. PMID:22017142

  20. 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.

  1. Sequestration of plant secondary metabolites by insect herbivores: molecular mechanisms and ecological consequences.

    PubMed

    Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle Am

    2016-04-01

    Numerous insect herbivores can take up and store plant toxins as self-defense against their own natural enemies. Plant toxin sequestration is tightly linked with tolerance strategies that keep the toxins functional. Specific transporters have been identified that likely allow the herbivore to control the spatiotemporal dynamics of toxin accumulation. Certain herbivores furthermore possess specific enzymes to boost the bioactivity of the sequestered toxins. Ecologists have studied plant toxin sequestration for decades. The recently uncovered molecular mechanisms in combination with transient, non-transgenic systems to manipulate insect gene expression will help to understand the importance of toxin sequestration for food-web dynamics in nature.

  2. Sequestration of plant secondary metabolites by insect herbivores: molecular mechanisms and ecological consequences.

    PubMed

    Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle Am

    2016-04-01

    Numerous insect herbivores can take up and store plant toxins as self-defense against their own natural enemies. Plant toxin sequestration is tightly linked with tolerance strategies that keep the toxins functional. Specific transporters have been identified that likely allow the herbivore to control the spatiotemporal dynamics of toxin accumulation. Certain herbivores furthermore possess specific enzymes to boost the bioactivity of the sequestered toxins. Ecologists have studied plant toxin sequestration for decades. The recently uncovered molecular mechanisms in combination with transient, non-transgenic systems to manipulate insect gene expression will help to understand the importance of toxin sequestration for food-web dynamics in nature. PMID:27436640

  3. Forest age influences oak insect herbivore community structure, richness, and density.

    PubMed

    Jeffries, June M; Marquis, Robert J; Forkner, Rebecca E

    2006-06-01

    Plant succession is one of many factors that may affect the composition and structure of herbivorous insect communities. However, few studies have examined the effect of forest age on the diversity and abundance of insect communities. If forest age influences insect diversity, then the schedule of timber harvest rotation may have consequent effects on biodiversity. The insect herbivore community on Quercus alba (white oak) in the Missouri Ozarks was sampled in a chronoseries, from recently harvested (2 yr) to old-growth (approximately 313 yr) forests. A total of nine sites and 39 stands within those sites were sampled in May and August 2003. Unique communities of plants and insects were found in the oldest forests (122-313 yr). Density and species richness of herbivores were positively correlated with increasing forest age in August but not in May. August insect density was negatively correlated with heat load index; in addition, insect density and richness increased over the chronoseries, but not on the sunniest slopes. Forest structural diversity (number of size classes) was positively correlated with forest age, but woody plant species richness was not. In sum, richness, density, and community structure of white oak insect herbivores are influenced by variation in forest age, forest structure, relative abundance of plant species, and abiotic conditions. These results suggest that time between harvests of large, long-lived, tree species such as white oak should be longer than current practice in order to maintain insect community diversity. PMID:16826990

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:24015519

  6. 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

  7. Plant systemic induced responses mediate interactions between root parasitic nematodes and aboveground herbivorous insects

    PubMed Central

    Wondafrash, Mesfin; Van Dam, Nicole M.; Tytgat, Tom O. G.

    2013-01-01

    Insects and nematodes are the most diverse and abundant groups of multicellular animals feeding on plants on either side of the soil–air interface. Several herbivore-induced responses are systemic, and hence can influence the preference and performance of organisms in other plant organs. Recent studies show that plants mediate interactions between belowground plant parasitic nematodes (PPNs) and aboveground herbivorous insects. Based on the knowledge of plant responses to pathogens, we review the emerging insights on plant systemic responses against root-feeding nematodes and shoot-feeding insects. We discuss the potential mechanisms of plant-mediated indirect interactions between both groups of organisms and point to gaps in our knowledge. Root-feeding nematodes can positively or negatively affect shoot herbivorous insects, and vice versa. The outcomes of the interactions between these spatially separated herbivore communities appear to be influenced by the feeding strategy of the nematodes and the insects, as well as by host plant susceptibility to both herbivores. The potential mechanisms for these interactions include systemic induced plant defense, interference with the translocation and dynamics of locally induced secondary metabolites, and reallocation of plant nutritional reserves. During evolution, PPNs as well as herbivorous insects have acquired effectors that modify plant defense responses and resource allocation patterns to their advantage. However, it is also known that plants under herbivore attack change the allocation of their resources, e.g., for compensatory growth responses, which may affect the performance of other organisms feeding on the plant. Studying the chemical and molecular basis of these interactions will reveal the molecular mechanisms that are involved. Moreover, it will lead to a better understanding of the ecological relevance of aboveground–belowground interactions, as well as support the development of sustainable pest

  8. Same host-plant, different sterols: variation in sterol metabolism in an insect herbivore community.

    PubMed

    Janson, Eric M; Grebenok, Robert J; Behmer, Spencer T; Abbot, Patrick

    2009-11-01

    Insects lack the ability to synthesize sterols de novo, which are required as cell membrane inserts and as precursors for steroid hormones. Herbivorous insects typically utilize cholesterol as their primary sterol. However, plants rarely contain cholesterol, and herbivorous insects must, therefore, produce cholesterol by metabolizing plant sterols. Previous studies have shown that insects generally display diversity in phytosterol metabolism. Despite the biological importance of sterols, there has been no investigation of their metabolism in a naturally occurring herbivorous insect community. Therefore, we determined the neutral sterol profile of Solidago altissima L., six taxonomically and ecologically diverse herbivorous insect associates, and the fungal symbiont of one herbivore. Our results demonstrated that S. altissima contained Delta(7)-sterols (spinasterol, 22-dihydrospinasterol, avenasterol, and 24-epifungisterol), and that 85% of the sterol pool existed in a conjugated form. Despite feeding on a shared host plant, we observed significant variation among herbivores in terms of their qualitative tissue sterol profiles and significant variation in the cholesterol content. Cholesterol was absent in two dipteran gall-formers and present at extremely low levels in a beetle. Cholesterol content was highly variable in three hemipteran phloem feeders; even species of the same genus showed substantial differences in their cholesterol contents. The fungal ectosymbiont of a dipteran gall former contained primarily ergosterol and two ergosterol precursors. The larvae and pupae of the symbiotic gall-former lacked phytosterols, phytosterol metabolites, or cholesterol, instead containing an ergosterol metabolite in addition to unmetabolized ergosterol and erogsterol precursors, thus demonstrating the crucial role that a fungal symbiont plays in their nutritional ecology. These data are discussed in the context of sterol physiology and metabolism in insects, and the

  9. Interactions between willows and insect herbivores under enhanced ultraviolet-B radiation.

    PubMed

    Veteli, T O; Tegelberg, R; Pusenius, J; Sipura, M; Julkunen-Tiitto, R; Aphalo, P J; Tahvanainen, J

    2003-10-01

    We studied the effects of elevated ultraviolet-B radiation on interactions between insect herbivores and their host plants by exposing two species of phytochemically different willows, Salix myrsinifolia and S. phylicifolia, to a modulated increase in ultraviolet radiation in an outdoor experiment and monitoring the colonisation of insect herbivores on these willows. We examined the effect of increased ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation on (1) the quality of willow leaves, (2) the distribution and abundance of insect herbivores feeding on these willows, (3) the resulting amount of damage, and (4) the performance of insect larvae feeding on the exposed plant tissue. Six clones of each of the two willow species were grown in eight blocks for 12 weeks in the UV-B irradiation field. The clones were exposed to a constant 50% increase in UV-B radiation (simulating 20-25% ozone depletion), to a small increase in UV-A radiation or to ambient solar irradiation. We allowed colonisation on the willows by naturally occurring insects, but also introduced adults of a leaf beetle, Phratora vitellinae, a specialist herbivore on S. myrsinifolia. Increased UV-B radiation did not affect any of the measured indices of plant quality. However, numbers of P. vitellinae on S. myrsinifolia were higher in plants with UV-B treatment compared with UV-A and shade controls. In laboratory tests, growth of the second-instar larva of P. vitellinae was not affected by UV-B treatment of S. myrsinifolia, but was retarded on UV-B treated leaves of S. phylicifolia. In addition, naturally occurring insect herbivores were more abundant on willows exposed to elevated UV-B radiation compared to those grown under control treatments. In spite of the increased abundance of insect herbivores, willows treated with elevated UV-B did not suffer more herbivore damage than willows exposed to ambient solar radiation (shade control). The observed effects of UV-B on herbivore abundance, feeding and growth varied

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:25080178

  13. 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. PMID:25902509

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Genetic and environmental determinants of insect herbivore community structure in a Betula pendula population

    PubMed Central

    Silfver, Tarja

    2014-01-01

    A number of recent studies have shown that intraspecific genetic variation of plants may have a profound effect on the herbivorous communities which depend on them. However less is known about the relative importance of intraspecific variation compared to other ecological factors, for example environmental variation or the effects of herbivore damage. We randomly selected 22 Betula pendula genotypes from a local population (< 0.9 ha), cloned them and planted cloned seedlings on two study sites separated at a regional scale (distance between sites about 30 km) to examine an insect community of 23-27 species on these genotypes. B. pendula genotypes did not differ in their species richness, but the total mean abundance and the structure of the insect herbivore community was significantly affected by the genotype, which could account for up to 27% of the total variation in community structure. B. pendula genotype accounted for two to four times more variation in the arthropod community structure than did environmental (block) variation on a local scale, while on a regional scale, genotypic and environmental (site) variation accounted for 4-14% of the arthropod community structure. The genetic effects were modified by environmental variation on both a local and regional scale over one study year, and locally, the largest part of the variation (38%) could be explained by the genotype × environment (block) interactions. Suppression of insect herbivores during one growing season led to changed arthropod community structure in the following growing season, but this effect was minimal and could explain only 4% of the total variation in insect community structure. Our results suggest that both genetic and environmental factors are important determinants of the community structure of herbivorous insects. Together these mechanisms appear to maintain the high diversity of insects in B. pendula forest ecosystems. PMID:24715977

  18. 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.

  19. Plant-mediated and nonadditive effects of two global change drivers on an insect herbivore community.

    PubMed

    de Sassi, Claudio; Lewis, Owen T; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2012-08-01

    Warmer temperatures can alter the phenology and distribution of individual species. However, differences across species may blur community-level phenological responses to climate or cause biotic homogenization by consistently favoring certain taxa. Additionally, the response of insect communities to climate will be subject to plant-mediated effects, which may or may not overshadow the direct effect of rising temperatures on insects. Finally, recent evidence for the importance of interaction effects between global change drivers suggests that phenological responses of communities to climate may be altered by other drivers. We used a natural temperature gradient (generated by elevation and topology), combined with experimental nitrogen fertilization, to investigate the effects of elevated temperature and globally increasing anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on the structure and phenology of a seminatural grassland herbivore assemblage (lepidopteran insects). We found that both drivers, alone and in combination, severely altered how the relative abundance and composition of species changed through time. Importantly, warmer temperatures were associated with biotic homogenization, such that herbivore assemblages in the warmest plots had more similar species composition than those in intermediate or cool plots. Changes in herbivore composition and abundance were largely mediated by changes in the plant community, with increased nonnative grass cover under high treatment levels being the strongest determinant of herbivore abundance. In addition to compositional changes, total herbivore biomass more than doubled under elevated nitrogen and increased more than fourfold with temperature, bearing important functional implications for herbivores as consumers and as a prey resource. The crucial role of nonnative plant dominance in mediating responses of herbivores to change, combined with the frequent nonadditive (positive and negative) effects of the two drivers, and the

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

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhijie; Pan, Xiaoyun; 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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)

  3. Oak-insect herbivore interactions along a temperature and precipitation gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leckey, Erin H.; Smith, Dena M.; Nufio, César R.; Fornash, Katherine F.

    2014-11-01

    The interactions between herbivorous insects and their host plants are expected to be influenced by changing climates. Modern oaks provide an excellent system to examine this assumption because their interactions with herbivores occur over broad climatic and spatial scales, they vary in their defensive and nutritional investment in leaves by being deciduous or evergreen, and their insect herbivores range from generalists to highly specialized feeders. In this study, we surveyed leaf-litter samples of four oak species along an elevation gradient, from coastal northern California, USA, to the upper montane woodlands of the Sierra Nevada, to examine the relationship between climatic factors (mean annual temperature and precipitation) and oak herbivory levels at multiple scales; across all oak species pooled, between evergreen and deciduous species and within species. Overall, temperature and precipitation did not appear to have a significant effect on most measures of total herbivore damage (percent leaves damaged per tree, percent leaf area removed and average number of feeding damage marks per leaf) and the strongest predictor of herbivore damage overall was the identity of the host species. However, increases in precipitation were correlated with an increase in the actual leaf area removed, and specialized insects, such as those that make leaf mines and galls, were the most sensitive to differences in precipitation levels. This suggests that the effects of changing climate on some plant-insect interactions is less likely to result in broad scale increases in damage with increasing temperatures or changing precipitation levels, but is rather more likely to be dependent on the type of herbivore (specialist vs. generalist) and the scale (species vs. community) over which the effect is examined.

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed

    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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:24904081

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Odor Uniformity among Tomato Individuals in Response to Herbivore Depends on Insect Species

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24130855

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-03-03

    Little is known about the effects of enriched CO{sub 2} atmospheres, which may exist in the next century, on natural plant-insect herbivore interactions. Larvae of a specialist insect herbivore, Junonia coenia (Kepidoptera: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{sub 2} environments. Those larvae raised on high-CO{sub 2} foliage grew more slowly and experienced greater mortality, especially in early instars, than those raised on low-CO{sub 2} foliage. Poor larval performance on high-CO{sub 2} filiage 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{sub 2} environment of the host plant. These results indicate that interactions between plants and herbivorous insects will be modified under the predicted CO{sub 2} conditions of the 21st century. 19 refs., 1 fig., 1 tab.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26395768

  15. 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 Central

    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. PMID:24752069

  16. 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.

  17. Parasitism by Cuscuta pentagona Attenuates Host Plant Defenses against Insect Herbivores1

    PubMed Central

    Runyon, Justin B.; Mescher, Mark C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M.

    2008-01-01

    Considerable research has examined plant responses to concurrent attack by herbivores and pathogens, but the effects of attack by parasitic plants, another important class of plant-feeding organisms, on plant defenses against other enemies has not been explored. We investigated how attack by the parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona impacted tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) defenses against the chewing insect beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua; BAW). In response to insect feeding, C. pentagona-infested (parasitized) tomato plants produced only one-third of the antiherbivore phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) produced by unparasitized plants. Similarly, parasitized tomato, in contrast to unparasitized plants, failed to emit herbivore-induced volatiles after 3 d of BAW feeding. Although parasitism impaired antiherbivore defenses, BAW growth was slower on parasitized tomato leaves. Vines of C. pentagona did not translocate JA from BAW-infested plants: amounts of JA in parasite vines grown on caterpillar-fed and control plants were similar. Parasitized plants generally contained more salicylic acid (SA), which can inhibit JA in some systems. Parasitized mutant (NahG) tomato plants deficient in SA produced more JA in response to insect feeding than parasitized wild-type plants, further suggesting cross talk between the SA and JA defense signaling pathways. However, JA induction by BAW was still reduced in parasitized compared to unparasitized NahG, implying that other factors must be involved. We found that parasitized plants were capable of producing induced volatiles when experimentally treated with JA, indicating that resource depletion by the parasite does not fully explain the observed attenuation of volatile response to herbivore feeding. Collectively, these findings show that parasitic plants can have important consequences for host plant defense against herbivores. PMID:18165323

  18. Herbivorous and parasitic insect guilds associated with Great Basin wild rye (Elymus cinereus) in southern Idaho

    SciTech Connect

    Youtie, B.A.; Stafford, M.; Johnson, J.B.

    1987-10-31

    Insects inhabiting Great Basin wild rye (elymus cinereus Scribn. and Merr.) were surveyed at two sites on the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho during 1982 and 1983. Forty-six species of phytophagous insects were observed. In addition, eight parasitoid species were reared from insect hosts in the plant culms and identified. Life stage, abundance, plant part utilized, and study site were recorded for each insect species collected. Insect guilds at the two sites were compared based on species presence utilizing Sorensen's similarity index. Overall, 26 insect species were common to both sites, yielding a moderate similarity index of 0.62. The majority of the species that constitute the wild rye herbivore guilds were oligophagous (restricted to grasses). Many of these insects feed on grain crops as well as other native and introduced grasses. The relatively high diversity of phytophages on wild rye may be due to its tall, bunchgrass growth form, its abundance within its habitat, its broad geographic range, and the large number of related species of grasses in the region.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:26241962

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. PMID:24889969

  4. 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. PMID:24788720

  5. Differential effects of foliar endophytic fungi on insect herbivores attacking a herbaceous plant.

    PubMed

    Gange, Alan C; Eschen, René; Wearn, James A; Thawer, Alim; Sutton, Brian C

    2012-04-01

    Foliar endophytic fungi appear to be ubiquitous in nature, occurring in a very wide range of herbaceous plants. However, their ecological role within forbs is very poorly known and interactions with foliar-feeding insects virtually unexplored. In this study, leaves of Cirsium arvense were infected with different combinations of endophyte fungi that had been previously isolated from this plant species. Two months later, leaf material was fed to larvae of a generalist insect, Mamestra brassicae, and adults of a specialist feeder, Cassida rubiginosa. Endophytes had different effects on the two insects; one species, Chaetomium cochliodes, reduced growth of M. brassicae but increased feeding by C. rubiginosa. Another species, Cladosporium cladosporioides, increased beetle feeding also, but had no effect on M. brassicae. Interactions were also seen between fungal species and dual infection with C. cladosporioides and Trichoderma viride greatly reduced beetle feeding. It is concluded that endophytes have significant effects on foliar feeding insects that differ with degree of specialism of the herbivore. We suggest that these effects are due to chemical changes in the host, brought about by fungal infection. These fungi have received remarkably little attention in the study of insect-plant interactions and yet could be important determinants of insect growth and even population dynamics.

  6. 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

  7. The direct and indirect effects of fire on the assembly of insect herbivore communities: examples from the Florida scrub habitat.

    PubMed

    Kim, Tania N; Holt, Robert D

    2012-04-01

    Disturbance is a major source of spatial and temporal heterogeneity. In fire-maintained systems, disturbance by fire is often used as a management tool to increase biological diversity, restore degraded habitats, and reduce pest outbreaks. Much attention has been given to how plant communities recover from fire, but relatively few studies have examined post-fire responses of higher order species, such as insect herbivores. Because dynamic feedbacks occur between plants and their consumers, which can in turn influence the response of the entire ecosystem, incorporating higher trophic level responses into our understanding of the effects of fire is essential. In this study, we used structural equation modeling (SEM) to tease apart the direct and indirect effects of fire on insect herbivore assemblages found on three common oak species in the Florida scrub (Quercus inopina, Q. chapmanii, and Q. geminata). We investigated how fire affected herbivore abundance, richness, and community composition both directly and indirectly through environmental heterogeneity at different spatial scales (e.g., leaf quality, plant architecture, and habitat structure). We also investigated how seasonality and landscape heterogeneity influenced post-fire responses of insect herbivores and whether fire effects on herbivore assemblages varied among different host plants. Our general findings were that fire effects were (1) largely indirect, mediated through habitat structure (although direct fire effects were observed on Q. inopina herbivores), (2) non-linear through time due to self-thinning processes occurring in the scrub habitat, and (3) varied according to herbivore assemblage as a result of differences in the composition of species in each herbivore community. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive study to examine how fire influences the assembly of insect herbivore communities through both direct and indirect pathways and at multiple spatial scales. PMID

  8. 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.

  9. Nutrition as a neglected factor in insect herbivore susceptibility to Bt toxins.

    PubMed

    Deans, C A; Sword, G A; Behmer, S T

    2016-06-01

    The widespread global adoption of Bt crops elevates concerns about the evolution of Bt resistance in insect pest species. Current insecticide resistance management (IRM) strategies focus solely on genetic variation as a causal factor in the evolution of resistance, but ignore the role that environmental factors, such as nutrition, may play. In this opinion paper, we discuss the benefits that insect herbivores gain from consuming foods with protein-carbohydrate content that matches their self-selected protein-carbohydrate intake, and show that even within monocultures there is amply opportunity for insect herbivores to regulate their macronutrient intake. Next we review new data that show that dietary protein and carbohydrates can: firstly, have predictably strong effects on the survival and performance of caterpillars challenged with Bt toxins, and secondly, mediate plasticity in susceptibility to Cry1Ac, which can account for large differences in LC50 values. Nutrition-Bt interactions such as these have important implications for IRM, particularly given that diet-incorporated Bt bioassays commonly use artificial diets that vary substantially from their self-selected optimal diets, which likely results in underestimates of resistance in the field. Failing to bioassay larvae on ecologically-relevant diets can seriously confound the results of Bt resistance monitoring bioassays and undermine our ability to detect resistance in the field. PMID:27436738

  10. Evolutionary response of the egg hatching date of a herbivorous insect under climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Asch, Margriet; Salis, Lucia; Holleman, Leonard J. M.; van Lith, Bart; Visser, Marcel E.

    2013-03-01

    Under changing climatic conditions, species need to adapt to their new environment. Genetic adaptation is crucial to prevent population extinction but examples where climate change leads to genetic changes in wild populations have been few. The synchronization between the timing of egg hatching of a herbivorous insect, the winter moth (Operophtera brumata), and the seasonal bud burst of its food plant, oak (Quercus robur), has been disrupted by climate change and a quantitative genetic model predicts that selection will delay the egg hatching date. Here we show, using both long-term observational data and experiments, that the egg hatching date has changed genetically, resulting in closer synchrony with oak bud burst. The observed rate of change matches the predicted rate of change of one day per year. Hence, altered selection pressures, caused by environmental change, result in a rapid adaptive response in insect phenology. These genetic changes in a key life-history trait in this herbivorous insect therefore seem to be fast enough to match the climate-change-induced advancement of their host phenology.

  11. 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. PMID:24112379

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

    2010-09-01

    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.

  17. 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

    2010-09-01

    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

  18. 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.

  19. The iridoid glucoside, antirrhinoside, from Antirrhinum majus L. has differential effects on two generalist insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Beninger, Clifford W; Cloutier, Renée R; Grodzinski, Bernard

    2008-05-01

    The iridoid glucoside, antirrhinoside, is constitutively distributed throughout Antirrhinum majus L. in a manner consistent with its possible role as an allelochemical, but there is no evidence that it has a defensive function with respect to insect herbivory. To address this question, two generalist herbivores, Lymantria dispar L. (gypsy moth) and Trichoplusia ni Hübner (cabbage looper) were chosen for feeding trials on excised whole leaves of A. majus and in artificial diet assays. In leaf excision feeding trials, fourth instar gypsy moth rejected, without sampling, the leaves of A. majus regardless of what node the leaf was excised from. In contrast, fourth instar cabbage looper readily fed on the excised leaves, and antirrhinoside was not found in their bodies or feces (frass) as determined by thin layer and high-pressure liquid chromatography. In the leaf and diet assays, a second major leaf iridoid in A. majus, antirrhide, was found in both cabbage looper and gypsy moth frass. In diet feeding assays, the growth of gypsy moth and cabbage looper were not inhibited by methanol extracts, iridoid fractions, or pure antirrhinoside at concentrations of 0.6% in diet, but cabbage looper growth was enhanced. At an antirrhinoside concentration of 3.3% in diet, gypsy moth growth was reduced, whereas cabbage looper growth again increased significantly relative to the control. It is likely that antirrhinoside functions as defense against herbivory for one generalist insect herbivore but also, at low concentrations, enhances the growth of another. PMID:18414950

  20. 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. PMID:22912893

  1. 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

  2. The iridoid glucoside, antirrhinoside, from Antirrhinum majus L. has differential effects on two generalist insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Beninger, Clifford W; Cloutier, Renée R; Grodzinski, Bernard

    2008-05-01

    The iridoid glucoside, antirrhinoside, is constitutively distributed throughout Antirrhinum majus L. in a manner consistent with its possible role as an allelochemical, but there is no evidence that it has a defensive function with respect to insect herbivory. To address this question, two generalist herbivores, Lymantria dispar L. (gypsy moth) and Trichoplusia ni Hübner (cabbage looper) were chosen for feeding trials on excised whole leaves of A. majus and in artificial diet assays. In leaf excision feeding trials, fourth instar gypsy moth rejected, without sampling, the leaves of A. majus regardless of what node the leaf was excised from. In contrast, fourth instar cabbage looper readily fed on the excised leaves, and antirrhinoside was not found in their bodies or feces (frass) as determined by thin layer and high-pressure liquid chromatography. In the leaf and diet assays, a second major leaf iridoid in A. majus, antirrhide, was found in both cabbage looper and gypsy moth frass. In diet feeding assays, the growth of gypsy moth and cabbage looper were not inhibited by methanol extracts, iridoid fractions, or pure antirrhinoside at concentrations of 0.6% in diet, but cabbage looper growth was enhanced. At an antirrhinoside concentration of 3.3% in diet, gypsy moth growth was reduced, whereas cabbage looper growth again increased significantly relative to the control. It is likely that antirrhinoside functions as defense against herbivory for one generalist insect herbivore but also, at low concentrations, enhances the growth of another.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Host plant-specific remodeling of midgut physiology in the generalist insect herbivore Trichoplusia ni.

    PubMed

    Herde, Marco; Howe, Gregg A

    2014-07-01

    Species diversity in terrestrial ecosystems is influenced by plant defense compounds that alter the behavior, physiology, and host preference of insect herbivores. Although it is established that insects evolved the ability to detoxify specific allelochemicals, the mechanisms by which polyphagous insects cope with toxic compounds in diverse host plants are not well understood. Here, we used defended and non-defended plant genotypes to study how variation in chemical defense affects midgut responses of the lepidopteran herbivore Trichoplusia ni, which is a pest of a wide variety of native and cultivated plants. The genome-wide midgut transcriptional response of T. ni larvae to glucosinolate-based defenses in the crucifer Arabidopsis thaliana was characterized by strong induction of genes encoding Phase I and II detoxification enzymes. In contrast, the response of T. ni to proteinase inhibitors and other jasmonate-regulated defenses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) was dominated by changes in the expression of digestive enzymes and, strikingly, concomitant repression of transcripts encoding detoxification enzymes. Unbiased proteomic analyses of T. ni feces demonstrated that tomato defenses remodel the complement of T.ni digestive enzymes, which was associated with increased amounts of serine proteases and decreased lipase protein abundance upon encountering tomato defense chemistry. These collective results indicate that T. ni adjusts its gut physiology to the presence of host plant-specific chemical defenses, and further suggest that plants may exploit this digestive flexibility as a defensive strategy to suppress the production of enzymes that detoxify allelochemicals. PMID:24727019

  6. Complete Genome Sequences of Four Isolates of Plutella xylostella Granulovirus

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Granuloviruses are widespread pathogens of Plutella xylostella L. (diamondback moth) and potential biopesticides for control of this global insect pest. We report the complete genomes of four Plutella xylostella granulovirus isolates from China, Malaysia, and Taiwan exhibiting pairs of noncoding, homologous repeat regions with significant sequence variation but equivalent length. PMID:27365355

  7. 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

  8. Effects of Fertilizer, Fungal Endophytes and Plant Cultivar on Performance of Insect Herbivores and Their Natural Enemies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1. Endophytic fungi are associates of most species of plants and may modify insect community structures through the production of toxic alkaloids. Fertilization is known to increase food plant quality for herbivores, but it is also conceivable that additional nitrogen could increase the productio...

  9. Gross vs. net income: How plant toughness affects performance of an insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Clissold, Fiona J; Sanson, Gordon D; Read, Jenny; Simpson, Stephen J

    2009-12-01

    Leaf biomechanical properties are thought to impose a significant obstacle to herbivores and as such influence patterns of herbivory more than leaf chemistry. However, evidence for the role of structural traits in influencing herbivore food choice and performance has come from correlative studies, whereas the underlying mechanisms have been given little attention. By manipulating the biomechanical properties of a host grass species through a combination of lyophilization and milling, and providing water separately, we were able to compare behavioral, physiological, and developmental responses of the Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera, to the biomechanical properties of plant food (exemplified by toughness) independently of the food's macronutrient content and the insect's demand for water. Increasing leaf toughness was associated with reduced rates of locust growth and prolonged development, with potential ecological consequences. Poorer performance on the tougher foods was primarily a consequence of a reduced rate of nutrient supply, which occurred as a result of (1) smaller meals being eaten more slowly, (2) slowed gut passage rates, which limited how quickly the next meal could be taken, and (3) reduced efficiency of assimilation of nutrients from food in the gut. In addition, there were deleterious changes in the ratio of protein to carbohydrate assimilated from the gut. Prolonged development time was associated with increased total nutrient demands throughout the extended developmental period. Because these demands could not be met by increased consumption, there was a decreased efficiency of conversion of assimilated nutrients to growth. By disentangling the effects of biomechanical properties from macronutrient and water content we have shown that leaf biomechanical traits can influence chewing herbivores independently of leaf chemical traits.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    PubMed

    Schilthuizen, Menno; 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Isotopic fractionation in a large herbivorous insect, the Auckland tree weta.

    PubMed

    Wehi, Priscilla M; Hicks, Brendan J

    2010-12-01

    Determining diet and trophic position of species with stable isotopes requires appropriate trophic enrichment estimates between an animal and its potential foods. These estimates are particularly important for cryptic foragers where there is little comparative dietary information. Nonetheless, many trophic enrichment estimates are based on related taxa, without confirmation of accuracy using laboratory trials. We used stable isotope analysis to investigate diet and to resolve trophic relationships in a large endemic insect, the Auckland tree weta (Hemideina thoracica White). Comparisons of isotopes in plant foods fed to captive wetas with isotope ratios in their frass provided variable results, so frass isotope values had limited usefulness as a proxy indicator of trophic level. Isotopic values varied between different tissues, with trophic depletion of (15)N highest in body fat and testes. Tissue fractionation was consistent in captive and wild caught wetas, and isotopic values were not significantly different between the two groups, suggesting that this weta species is primarily herbivorous. Whole-body values in captive wetas demonstrated trophic depletion (Δδ) for δ(15)N of about -0.77 ‰ and trophic enrichment of 4.28 ‰ for δ(13)C. These values differ from commonly estimated trophic enrichments for both insects and herbivores and indicate the importance of laboratory trials to determine trophic enrichment. Isotopic values for femur muscles from a number of local wild weta populations did not vary consistently with body weight or size, suggesting that juveniles eat the same foods as adults. Considerable variation among individuals within and between populations suggests that isotopic values are strongly influenced by food availability and individual foraging traits. PMID:20709068

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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. PMID:26313181

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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. PMID:24809533

  2. Looking for a similar partner: host plants shape mating preferences of herbivorous insects by altering their contact pheromones.

    PubMed

    Geiselhardt, Sven; Otte, Tobias; Hilker, Monika

    2012-09-01

    The role of phenotypical plasticity in ecological speciation and the evolution of sexual isolation remains largely unknown. We investigated whether or not divergent host plant use in an herbivorous insect causes assortative mating by phenotypically altering traits involved in mate recognition. We found that males of the mustard leaf beetle Phaedon cochleariae preferred to mate with females that were reared on the same plant species to females provided with a different plant species, based on divergent cuticular hydrocarbon profiles that serve as contact pheromones. The cuticular hydrocarbon phenotypes of the beetles were host plant specific and changed within 2 weeks after a shift to a novel host plant species. We suggest that plant-induced phenotypic divergence in mate recognition cues may act as an early barrier to gene flow between herbivorous insect populations on alternative host species, preceding genetic divergence and thus, promoting ecological speciation.

  3. 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.

  4. Forest insects and climate change: long-term trends in herbivore damage.

    PubMed

    Klapwijk, Maartje J; Csóka, György; Hirka, Anikó; Björkman, Christer

    2013-10-01

    Long-term data sets, covering several decades, could help to reveal the effects of observed climate change on herbivore damage to plants. However, sufficiently long time series in ecology are scarce. The research presented here analyzes a long-term data set collected by the Hungarian Forest Research Institute over the period 1961-2009. The number of hectares with visible defoliation was estimated and documented for several forest insect pest species. This resulted in a unique time series that provides us with the opportunity to compare insect damage trends with trends in weather patterns. Data were analyzed for six lepidopteran species: Thaumetopoea processionea, Tortrix viridana, Rhyacionia buoliana, Malacosoma neustria, Euproctis chrysorrhoea, and Lymantria dispar. All these species exhibit outbreak dynamics in Hungary. Five of these species prefer deciduous tree species as their host plants, whereas R. buoliana is a specialist on Pinus spp. The data were analyzed using general linear models and generalized least squares regression in relation to mean monthly temperature and precipitation. Temperature increased considerably, especially over the last 25 years (+1.6°C), whereas precipitation exhibited no trend over the period. No change in weather variability over time was observed. There was increased damage caused by two species on deciduous trees. The area of damage attributed to R. buoliana decreased over the study period. There was no evidence of increased variability in damage. We conclude that species exhibiting a trend toward outbreak-level damage over a greater geographical area may be positively affected by changes in weather conditions coinciding with important life stages. Strong associations between the geographical extent of severe damage and monthly temperature and precipitation are difficult to confirm, studying the life-history traits of species could help to increase understanding of responses to climate change.

  5. Trophic interactions between two herbivorous insects, Galerucella calmariensis and Myzus lythri, feeding on purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, and two insect predators, Harmonia axyridis and Chrysoperla carnea.

    PubMed

    Matos, Bethzayda; Obrycki, John J

    2007-01-01

    The effects of two herbivorous insects, Galerucella calmariensis Duftschmid and Myzus lythri L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), feeding on purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria L. (Myrtiflorae: Lythraceae), were measured in the presence of two insect predators, Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). A greenhouse cage experiment examined the direct effects of these predators on these herbivores, and indirect effects of predation on aboveground biomass, defoliation, number of leaves, and internode length. Eight treatment combinations with G. calmariensis, M. lythri, H. axyridis and C. carnea were applied to caged L. salicaria. The experiment ended when G. calmariensis adults were observed, 11 to 13 days after release of first instar G. calmariensis. G. calmariensis larvae alone removed significant amounts of leaf tissue and reduced the number of L. salicaria leaves. Predators did not reduce levels of defoliation by G. calmariensis. C. carnea had no effect on G. calmariensis survival, but H. axyridis reduced G. calmariensis survival in the presence of M. lythri. Both predators reduced the survival of M. lythri. This short duration greenhouse study did not demonstrate that predator-prey interactions altered herbivore effects on L. salicaria.

  6. Diet dependent metabolic responses in three generalist insect herbivores Spodoptera spp.

    PubMed

    Roy, A; Walker, W B; Vogel, H; Chattington, S; Larsson, M C; Anderson, P; Heckel, D G; Schlyter, F

    2016-04-01

    Adaption to dietary changes is critical in the evolution of host plant ranges in polyphagous insects. We compared three taxa of lepidopteran herbivores from the predominantly generalist genus Spodoptera showing different degrees of polyphagy: Spodoptera littoralis, with a broad host range including both mono- and dicotyledonous plants, and two Spodoptera frugiperda strains [Corn (i.e. maize) (C) and Rice (R)] adapted primarily to different grass species. When feeding on maize we show a lower performance in the broad generalist taxon compared to the grass adapted taxa. Among these taxa, the maize adapted S. frugiperda C-strain generally performed better than the R-strain on maize leaves. On artificial pinto diet, all taxa performed well. Our RNA-Seq analysis of midgut transcriptomes from 3rd instar larvae feeding on maize showed broader transcriptional readjustments in the generalist S. littoralis compared to grass adapted S. frugiperda strains. Substantial alteration in the expression levels of midgut physiological function related transcripts, such as digestive and detoxifying enzymes, transporters, immunity, and peritrophic membrane associated transcripts, existed in all taxa. We found high background expression of UDP-glucosyl transferases, which are known to neutralize maize leaf toxins, in the maize adapted S. frugiperda C-strain, contributing to its fitness on maize compared to the R-strain. Our findings provide evidence for divergent diet specific response of digestive physiology within these Spodoptera taxa. Unexpectedly, the C- and R-strains of S. frugiperda fed on the same diet showed large differences in expression patterns between these two closely related taxa. PMID:26908076

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:23456243

  9. Induced responses to grazing by an insect herbivore (Acentria ephemerella) in an immature macrophyte (Myriophyllum spicatum): an isotopic study

    PubMed Central

    Rothhaupt, Karl-Otto; Fornoff, Felix; Yohannes, Elizabeth

    2015-01-01

    While the mechanisms by which adult terrestrial plants deploy constitutive and induced responses to grazing pressure are well known, the means by which young aquatic plants defend themselves from herbivory are little studied. This study addresses nitrogen transport in the aquatic angiosperm Myriophyllum spicatum in response to herbivore exposure. Nitrogen tracers were used to monitor nitrogen uptake and reallocation in young plants in response to grazing by the generalist insect herbivore Acentria ephemerella. Total nitrogen content (N%) and patterns of nitrogen uptake and allocation (δ15N) were assessed in various plant tissues after 24 and 48 h. Following 24 h exposure to herbivore damage (Experiment 1), nitrogen content of plant apices was significantly elevated. This rapid early reaction may be an adaptation allowing the grazer to be sated as fast as possible, or indicate the accumulation of nitrogenous defense chemicals. After 48 h (Experiment 2), plants' tips showed depletion in nitrogen levels of ca. 60‰ in stem sections vulnerable to grazing. In addition, nitrogen uptake by grazed and grazing-prone upper plant parts was reduced and nutrient allocation into the relatively secure lower parts increased. The results point to three conclusions: (1) exposure to an insect herbivore induces a similar response in immature M. spicatum as previously observed in mature terrestrial species, namely a rapid (within 48 h) reduction in the nutritional value (N%) of vulnerable tissues, (2) high grazing intensity (100% of growing tips affected) did not limit the ability of young plants to induce resistance; and (3) young plants exposed to herbivory exhibit different patterns of nutrient allocation in vulnerable and secure tissues. These results provide evidence of induced defense and resource reallocation in immature aquatic macrophytes which is in line with the responses shown for mature aquatic macrophytes and terrestrial plants. PMID:26380694

  10. Brassica plant responses to mild herbivore stress elicited by two specialist insects from different feeding guilds.

    PubMed

    Sotelo, P; Pérez, E; Najar-Rodriguez, A; Walter, A; Dorn, S

    2014-02-01

    Compensation growth and chemical defense are two components of plant defense strategy against herbivores. In this study, compensation growth and the response of primary and secondary metabolites were investigated in Brassica rapa plants subjected to infestation by two herbivores from contrasting feeding guilds, the phloem-feeding aphid Brevicoryne brassicae and the leaf-feeding caterpillar Pieris brassicae. These specialist herbivores were used at two different densities and allowed to feed for seven days on a young caged leaf. Changes in growth rates were assessed for total leaf area and bulb mass, whereas changes in primary and secondary metabolites were evaluated in young and mature leaves, roots, and bulbs. Mild stress by caterpillars on young plants enhanced mean bulb mass and elicited a contrasting regulation of aliphatic and indolic glucosinolates in the leaves. In contrast, mild stress by aphids enhanced leaf growth and increased glucosinolate concentrations in the bulb, the most important storage organ of B. rapa. A similar mild stress by either herbivore to older plants did not alter plant growth parameters or concentrations of the metabolites analyzed. In conclusion, Brassica plant growth was either maintained or enhanced under mild herbivore stress, and defense patterns differed strongly in response to herbivore type and plant development stage. These results have implications for the understanding of plasticity in plant defenses against herbivores and for the management of Brassica rapa in agroecosystems.

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

    PubMed

    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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Leckie, Brian M; D'Ambrosio, Damon A; 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 exudate

  15. 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

  16. Disentangling the effects of predator hunting mode and habitat domain on the top-down control of insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Woodcock, Ben A; Heard, Matthew S

    2011-03-01

    1. Polyphagous predatory invertebrates play a key role in the top-down control of insect herbivores. However, predicting predation risk for herbivores is not a simple function of predator species richness. Predation risk may be reduced or enhanced depending on the functional characteristics predator species. We predict that where predator species spatially overlap this will reduce predation risk for herbivores by allowing negative inter-specific interaction between predators to occur. Where increased predation risk occurs, we also predict that this will have a cascading effect through the food chain reducing plant growth. 2. We used a substitutive replicated block design to identify the effect of similarity and dissimilarity in predator hunting mode (e.g. 'sit and wait', 'sit and pursue', and 'active') and habitat domain (e.g. canopy or ground) on the top-down control of planthoppers in grasslands. Predators included within the mesocosms were randomly selected from a pool of 17 local species. 3. Predation risk was reduced where predators shared the same habitat domain, independent of whether they shared hunting modes. Where predators shared the same habitat domains, there was some evidence that this had a cascading negative effect on the re-growth of grass biomass. Where predator habitat domains did not overlap, there were substitutable effects on predation risk to planthoppers. Predation risk for planthoppers was affected by taxonomic identity of predator species, i.e. whether they were beetles, spiders or true bugs. 4. Our results indicated that in multi-predator systems, the risk of predation is typically reduced. Consideration of functional characteristics of individual species, in particular aspects of habitat domain and hunting mode, are crucial in predicting the effects of multi-predator systems on the top-down control of herbivores.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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. PMID:27145629

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. The volatile emission of Eurosta solidaginis primes herbivore-induced volatile production in Solidago altissima and does not directly deter insect feeding

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background The induction of plant defenses in response to herbivory is well documented. In addition, many plants prime their anti-herbivore defenses following exposure to environmental cues associated with increased risk of subsequent attack, including induced volatile emissions from herbivore-damaged plant tissues. Recently, we showed in both field and laboratory settings that tall goldenrod plants (Solidago altissima) exposed to the putative sex attractant of a specialist gall-inducing fly (Eurosta solidaginis) experienced less herbivory than unexposed plants. Furthermore, we observed stronger induction of the defense phytohormone jasmonic acid in exposed plants compared to controls. These findings document a novel class of plant-insect interactions mediated by the direct perception, by plants, of insect-derived olfactory cues. However, our previous study did not exclude the possibility that the fly emission (or its residue) might also deter insect feeding via direct effects on the herbivores. Results Here we show that the E. solidaginis emission does not (directly) deter herbivore feeding on Cucurbita pepo or Symphyotrichum lateriflorum plants—which have no co-evolutionary relationship with E. solidaginis and thus are not expected to exhibit priming responses to the fly emission. We also document stronger induction of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPV) in S. altissima plants given previous exposure to the fly emission relative to unexposed controls. No similar effect was observed in maize plants (Zea mays), which have no co-evolutionary relationship with E. solidaginis. Conclusions Together with our previous findings, these results provide compelling evidence that reduced herbivory on S. altissima plants exposed to the emission of male E. solidaginis reflects an evolved plant response to olfactory cues associated with its specialist herbivore and does not involve direct effects of the fly emission on herbivore feeding behavior. We further discuss

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:26313969

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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-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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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

  13. 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. PMID:26678330

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Sequestration, tissue distribution and developmental transmission of cyanogenic glucosides in a specialist insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Zagrobelny, Mika; Olsen, Carl Erik; Pentzold, Stefan; Fürstenberg-Hägg, Joel; Jørgensen, Kirsten; Bak, Søren; Møller, Birger Lindberg; Motawia, Mohammed Saddik

    2014-01-01

    Considering the staggering diversity of bioactive natural products present in plants, insects are only able to sequester a small number of phytochemicals from their food plants. The mechanisms of how only some phytochemicals are sequestered and how the sequestration process takes place remains largely unknown. In this study the model system of Zygaena filipendulae (Lepidoptera) and their food plant Lotus corniculatus is used to advance the knowledge of insect sequestration. Z. filipendulae larvae are dependent on sequestration of the cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and lotaustralin from their food plant, and have a much lower fitness if reared on plants without these compounds. This study investigates the fate of the cyanogenic glucosides during ingestion, sequestration in the larvae, and in the course of insect ontogeny. To this purpose, double-labeled linamarin and lotaustralin were chemically synthesized carrying two stable isotopes, a (2)H labeled aglucone and a (13)C labeled glucose moiety. In addition, a small amount of (14)C was incorporated into the glucose residue. The isotope-labeled compounds were applied onto cyanogenic L. corniculatus leaves that were subsequently presented to the Z. filipendulae larvae. Following ingestion by the larvae, the destiny of the isotope labeled cyanogenic glucosides was monitored in different tissues of larvae and adults at selected time points, using radio-TLC and LC-MS analyses. It was shown that sequestered compounds are taken up intact, contrary to earlier hypotheses where it was suggested that the compounds would have to be hydrolyzed before transport across the gut. The uptake from the larval gut was highly stereo selective as the β-glucosides were retained while the α-glucosides were excreted and recovered in the frass. Sequestered compounds were rapidly distributed into all analyzed tissues of the larval body, partly retained throughout metamorphosis and transferred into the adult insect where they were

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  20. Molecular interactions between an insect predator and its herbivore prey on transgenic potato expressing a cysteine proteinase inhibitor from rice.

    PubMed

    Bouchard, Edith; Michaud, Dominique; Cloutier, Conrad

    2003-09-01

    Transgenic plants expressing resistance to herbivorous insects may represent a safe and sustainable pest control alternative if they do not interfere with the natural enemies of target pests. Here we examined interactions between oryzacystatin I (OCI), a proteinase inhibitor from rice genetically engineered into potato (Solanum tuberosum cv. Kennebec, line K52) to increase resistance to insect herbivory, and the insect predator Perillus bioculatus. This stinkbug is a relatively specialized predator of caterpillars and leaf-beetle larvae, and may also include plant sap in its predominantly carnivorous diet. One of its preferred prey is Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), a major target of insect resistance development for potato field crops. Gelatin/sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) confirmed that a major fraction of proteinase (gelatinase) activity in P. bioculatus extracts is OCI-sensitive. Among five gelatinolytic bands detected, the slowest-moving one (proteinase I) was inhibited strongly by purified OCI expressed in Escherichia coli or by OCI-transgenic potato extracts, while three other proteinases were partly sensitive to these treatments. There was also evidence of slight inhibition of proteinase I by untransformed potato foliage, suggesting the presence of a natural inhibitor related to OCI at low level in potato foliage. Interestingly, only about 50% of the maximum potential activity of proteinase I was recovered in extracts of P. bioculatus feeding on L. decemlineata larval prey on a diet of OCI-potato foliage, indicating that the predator was sensitive to OCI in the midgut of its prey. However, P. bioculatus on OCI-prey survived, grew and developed normally, indicating ability to compensate prey-mediated exposure to the OCI inhibitor. Confinement of P. bioculatus to potato foliage provided no evidence that potato plant-derived nutrition is a viable alternative to predation, restriction to potato foliage

  1. 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. PMID:25501262

  2. 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.

  3. Interactive direct and plant-mediated effects of elevated atmospheric [CO2 ] and temperature on a eucalypt-feeding insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Murray, T J; Ellsworth, D S; Tissue, D T; Riegler, M

    2013-05-01

    Understanding the direct and indirect effects of elevated [CO2 ] and temperature on insect herbivores and how these factors interact are essential to predict ecosystem-level responses to climate change scenarios. In three concurrent glasshouse experiments, we measured both the individual and interactive effects of elevated [CO2 ] and temperature on foliar quality. We also assessed the interactions between their direct and plant-mediated effects on the development of an insect herbivore of eucalypts. Eucalyptus tereticornis saplings were grown at ambient or elevated [CO2 ] (400 and 650 μmol mol(-1) respectively) and ambient or elevated ( + 4 °C) temperature for 10 months. Doratifera quadriguttata (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) larvae were feeding directly on these trees, on their excised leaves in a separate glasshouse, or on excised field-grown leaves within the temperature and [CO2 ] controlled glasshouse. To allow insect gender to be determined and to ensure that any sex-specific developmental differences could be distinguished from treatment effects, insect development time and consumption were measured from egg hatch to pupation. No direct [CO2 ] effects on insects were observed. Elevated temperature accelerated larval development, but did not affect leaf consumption. Elevated [CO2 ] and temperature independently reduced foliar quality, slowing larval development and increasing consumption. Simultaneously increasing both [CO2 ] and temperature reduced these shifts in foliar quality, and negative effects on larval performance were subsequently ameliorated. Negative nutritional effects of elevated [CO2 ] and temperature were also independently outweighed by the direct positive effect of elevated temperature on larvae. Rising [CO2 ] and temperature are thus predicted to have interactive effects on foliar quality that affect eucalypt-feeding insects. However, the ecological consequences of these interactions will depend on the magnitude of concurrent temperature rise

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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. PMID:26876231

  7. Host selection behavior and the fecundity of Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) on multiple host plants.

    PubMed

    Huang, Bin; Shi, Zhanghong; Hou, Youming

    2014-01-01

    Insect herbivores often have higher densities on host plants grown in monocultures than those in diverse environments. The underlying mechanisms are thought to be that polyphagous insects have difficulty in selecting food or oviposition sites when multiple host plants exist. However, this hypothesis needs to be extensively investigated. Our field experiments revealed that the population of the diamondback moths, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), significantly decreased in a mixed cropping field compared with a monoculture. To determine the reasons for the reduction in population in the mixed cropping field, the takeoff behavior and fecundity of females in no-choice and free-choice laboratory environments were compared by video recordings of host selection by P. xylostella. Adults displayed a significantly higher takeoff frequency in free-choice environments than those in no-choice treatments and preferred landing on Brassica campestris (L.) or Brassica juncea (Coss) plants in contrast with Brassica oleracea (L.). Female adults in the free-choice environment also laid fewer eggs compared with the monoculture. Olfaction experiments demonstrated orientation by P. xylostella to host volatiles when presented with a choice between plant odors and clean air, but females showed no preference when odors from three Brassicaceae species were presented simultaneously. We conclude that mixed cropping alters the host-finding behavior of P. xylostella resulting in reduced oviposition. PMID:25527573

  8. Host selection behavior and the fecundity of Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) on multiple host plants.

    PubMed

    Huang, Bin; Shi, Zhanghong; Hou, Youming

    2014-01-01

    Insect herbivores often have higher densities on host plants grown in monocultures than those in diverse environments. The underlying mechanisms are thought to be that polyphagous insects have difficulty in selecting food or oviposition sites when multiple host plants exist. However, this hypothesis needs to be extensively investigated. Our field experiments revealed that the population of the diamondback moths, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), significantly decreased in a mixed cropping field compared with a monoculture. To determine the reasons for the reduction in population in the mixed cropping field, the takeoff behavior and fecundity of females in no-choice and free-choice laboratory environments were compared by video recordings of host selection by P. xylostella. Adults displayed a significantly higher takeoff frequency in free-choice environments than those in no-choice treatments and preferred landing on Brassica campestris (L.) or Brassica juncea (Coss) plants in contrast with Brassica oleracea (L.). Female adults in the free-choice environment also laid fewer eggs compared with the monoculture. Olfaction experiments demonstrated orientation by P. xylostella to host volatiles when presented with a choice between plant odors and clean air, but females showed no preference when odors from three Brassicaceae species were presented simultaneously. We conclude that mixed cropping alters the host-finding behavior of P. xylostella resulting in reduced oviposition.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:22536404

  11. Shelters of leaf-tying herbivores decompose faster than leaves damaged by free-living insects: Implications for nutrient turnover in polluted habitats.

    PubMed

    Kozlov, Mikhail V; Zverev, Vitali; Zvereva, Elena L

    2016-10-15

    Leaf-eating insects can influence decomposition processes by modifying quality of leaf litter, and this impact can be especially pronounced in habitats where leaf-eating insects reach high densities, for example in heavily polluted areas. We hypothesized that the decomposition rate is faster for shelters of leaf-tying larvae than for leaves damaged by free-living insects, in particular due to the accumulation of larval frass within shelters. We exposed litter bags containing samples of three different compositions (shelters built by moth larvae, leaves damaged by free-living insects and intact leaves of mountain birch, Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii) for one year at two heavily polluted sites near the nickel-copper smelter at Monchegorsk in north-western Russia and at two unpolluted sites. The decomposition rate of leaves damaged by free-living insects was 91% of that of undamaged leaves, whereas the mass loss of leaves composing shelters did not differ of that of undamaged leaves. These differences between leaves damaged by different guilds of herbivorous insects were uniform across the study sites, although the decomposition rate in polluted sites was reduced to 77% of that in unpolluted sites. Addition of larval frass to undamaged leaves had no effect on the subsequent decomposition rate. Therefore we suggest that damaged leaves tied by shelter-building larvae decompose faster than untied damaged leaves due to a looser physical structure of the litter, which creates favourable conditions for detritivores and soil decomposers. Thus, while leaf damage by insects per se reduces litter quality and its decomposition rate, structuring of litter by leaf-tying insects counterbalances these negative effects. We conclude that leaf-tying larvae, in contrast to free-living defoliators, do not impose negative effects on nutrient turnover rate even at their high densities, which are frequently observed in heavily polluted sites. PMID:27288287

  12. Shelters of leaf-tying herbivores decompose faster than leaves damaged by free-living insects: Implications for nutrient turnover in polluted habitats.

    PubMed

    Kozlov, Mikhail V; Zverev, Vitali; Zvereva, Elena L

    2016-10-15

    Leaf-eating insects can influence decomposition processes by modifying quality of leaf litter, and this impact can be especially pronounced in habitats where leaf-eating insects reach high densities, for example in heavily polluted areas. We hypothesized that the decomposition rate is faster for shelters of leaf-tying larvae than for leaves damaged by free-living insects, in particular due to the accumulation of larval frass within shelters. We exposed litter bags containing samples of three different compositions (shelters built by moth larvae, leaves damaged by free-living insects and intact leaves of mountain birch, Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii) for one year at two heavily polluted sites near the nickel-copper smelter at Monchegorsk in north-western Russia and at two unpolluted sites. The decomposition rate of leaves damaged by free-living insects was 91% of that of undamaged leaves, whereas the mass loss of leaves composing shelters did not differ of that of undamaged leaves. These differences between leaves damaged by different guilds of herbivorous insects were uniform across the study sites, although the decomposition rate in polluted sites was reduced to 77% of that in unpolluted sites. Addition of larval frass to undamaged leaves had no effect on the subsequent decomposition rate. Therefore we suggest that damaged leaves tied by shelter-building larvae decompose faster than untied damaged leaves due to a looser physical structure of the litter, which creates favourable conditions for detritivores and soil decomposers. Thus, while leaf damage by insects per se reduces litter quality and its decomposition rate, structuring of litter by leaf-tying insects counterbalances these negative effects. We conclude that leaf-tying larvae, in contrast to free-living defoliators, do not impose negative effects on nutrient turnover rate even at their high densities, which are frequently observed in heavily polluted sites.

  13. Caterpillar-induced plant volatiles remain a reliable signal for foraging wasps during dual attack with a plant pathogen or non-host insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Ponzio, Camille; Gols, Rieta; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Dicke, Marcel

    2014-08-01

    Plants respond to herbivory with the emission of plant volatiles, which can be used by the herbivores' natural enemies to locate their hosts or prey. In nature, plants are often simultaneously confronted with insect herbivores and phytopathogens, potentially interfering with the attraction of the herbivores' enemies as a result of modifications of the induced volatile blend. Here, we investigated parasitoid (Cotesia glomerata) attraction to volatiles of plants challenged by different attackers, either alone or in combination with Pieris brassicae caterpillars, hosts of C. glomerata. We used a natural system consisting of Brassica nigra plants, eggs and larvae of P. brassicae, Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and the bacterial phytopathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris. In all cases, parasitoids successfully located host-infested plants, and wasp foraging behaviour was unaffected by the simultaneous presence of a non-host attacker or host eggs. Analysis of the volatile emissions show that the volatile blends of caterpillar-infested treatments were different from those without caterpillars. Furthermore, dually attacked plants could not be separated from those with only caterpillars, regardless of non-host identity, supporting the behavioural data. Our results suggest that, in this system, indirect plant defences may be more resistant to interference than is generally assumed, with volatiles induced during dual attack remaining reliable indicators of host presence for parasitoids.

  14. Caterpillar-induced plant volatiles remain a reliable signal for foraging wasps during dual attack with a plant pathogen or non-host insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Ponzio, Camille; Gols, Rieta; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Dicke, Marcel

    2014-08-01

    Plants respond to herbivory with the emission of plant volatiles, which can be used by the herbivores' natural enemies to locate their hosts or prey. In nature, plants are often simultaneously confronted with insect herbivores and phytopathogens, potentially interfering with the attraction of the herbivores' enemies as a result of modifications of the induced volatile blend. Here, we investigated parasitoid (Cotesia glomerata) attraction to volatiles of plants challenged by different attackers, either alone or in combination with Pieris brassicae caterpillars, hosts of C. glomerata. We used a natural system consisting of Brassica nigra plants, eggs and larvae of P. brassicae, Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and the bacterial phytopathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris. In all cases, parasitoids successfully located host-infested plants, and wasp foraging behaviour was unaffected by the simultaneous presence of a non-host attacker or host eggs. Analysis of the volatile emissions show that the volatile blends of caterpillar-infested treatments were different from those without caterpillars. Furthermore, dually attacked plants could not be separated from those with only caterpillars, regardless of non-host identity, supporting the behavioural data. Our results suggest that, in this system, indirect plant defences may be more resistant to interference than is generally assumed, with volatiles induced during dual attack remaining reliable indicators of host presence for parasitoids. PMID:24697624

  15. Herbivore induced plant volatiles

    PubMed Central

    War, Abdul Rashid; Sharma, Hari Chand; Paulraj, Michael Gabriel; War, Mohd Yousf; Ignacimuthu, Savarimuthu

    2011-01-01

    Plants respond to herbivory through different defensive mechanisms. The induction of volatile emission is one of the important and immediate response of plants to herbivory. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are involved in plant communication with natural enemies of the insect herbivores, neighboring plants, and different parts of the damaged plant. Release of a wide variety of HIPVs in response to herbivore damage and their role in plant-plant, plant-carnivore and intraplant communications represents a new facet of the complex interactions among different trophic levels. HIPVs are released from leaves, flowers, and fruits into the atmosphere or into the soil from roots in response to herbivore attack. Moreover, HIPVs act as feeding and/or oviposition deterrents to insect pests. HIPVs also mediate the interactions between the plants and the microorganisms. This review presents an overview of HIPVs emitted by plants, their role in plant defense against herbivores and their implications for pest management. PMID:22105032

  16. 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

  17. 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. PMID:27019738

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Failure of tannic acid to inhibit digestion or reduce digestibility of plant protein in gut fluids of insect herbivores : Implications for theories of plant defense.

    PubMed

    Martin, J S; Martin, M M; Bernays, E A

    1987-03-01

    The rate of hydrolysis of the abundant foliar protein, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBPC), in enzymatically active gut fluid ofManduca sexta larvae is very rapid and is unaffected by the presence of tannic acid, even when tannic acid is present in the incubation mixture in amounts in excess of the amount of RuBPC. When this protein is dissolved in the denatured gut fluids ofM. sexta larvae orSchistocerca gregaria nymphs, large amounts of tannic acid must be added to bring about the precipitation of significant quantities of protein. The ability of insect gut fluid to prevent the formation of insoluble tannin-protein complexes is due to the presence of surfactants. On the basis of our results and a review of the findings of other investigators, we argue that there is no evidence that tannins reduce the nutritional value of an insect's food by inhibiting digestive enzymes or by reducing the digestibility of ingested proteins and, further, that the failure of tannins to interfere with digestion is readily explained on the basis of well-documented characteristics of the digestive systems of herbivorous insects. In challenging the currently popular notion that tannins are digestibility-reducing substances, we do not challenge the general utility of either the apparency theory or resource availability theory of plant defense. In debating the merits of these two analyses of plant-herbivore interactions, however, the demise of tannins as all-purpose, dose-dependent, digestibility-reducing defensive substances must be taken into account.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Screening Bacillus thuringiensis strains for toxicity against Manduca sexta and Plutella xylostella

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Screening Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) isolates or strains for toxicity has traditionally been performed with one bacterial isolate at time versus a specific insect. By testing of Bt strains in groups, we identified 28 of 147 Bt isolates as toxic to either diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.),...

  7. Spatiotemporal variation in local adaptation of a specialist insect herbivore to its long-lived host plant.

    PubMed

    Kalske, Aino; Leimu, Roosa; Scheepens, J F; Mutikainen, Pia

    2016-09-01

    Local adaptation of interacting species to one another indicates geographically variable reciprocal selection. This process of adaptation is central in the organization and maintenance of genetic variation across populations. Given that the strength of selection and responses to it often vary in time and space, the strength of local adaptation should in theory vary between generations and among populations. However, such spatiotemporal variation has rarely been explicitly demonstrated in nature and local adaptation is commonly considered to be relatively static. We report persistent local adaptation of the short-lived herbivore Abrostola asclepiadis to its long-lived host plant Vincetoxicum hirundinaria over three successive generations in two studied populations and considerable temporal variation in local adaptation in six populations supporting the geographic mosaic theory. The observed variation in local adaptation among populations was best explained by geographic distance and population isolation, suggesting that gene flow reduces local adaptation. Changes in herbivore population size did not conclusively explain temporal variation in local adaptation. Our results also imply that short-term studies are likely to capture only a part of the existing variation in local adaptation.

  8. Plant diversity effects on insect herbivores and their natural enemies: current thinking, recent findings, and future directions.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Rasmann, Sergio; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Mooney, Kailen A

    2016-04-01

    A rich body of theory has been developed to predict the effects of plant diversity on communities at higher trophic levels and the mechanisms underpinning such effects. However, there are currently a number of key gaps in knowledge that have hindered the development of a predictive framework of plant diversity effects on consumers. For instance, we still know very little about how the magnitude of plant trait variation (e.g. intra-specific vs. inter-specific), as well as the identity and combined effects of plant, herbivore and natural enemy traits, mediate plant diversity effects on consumers. Moreover, the fine-scale mechanisms (e.g. changes in consumer behaviour or recruitment responses) underlying such diversity effects in many cases remain elusive or have been overlooked. In addition, most studies of plant diversity effects on associated consumers have been developed under a static, unidirectional (bottom-up) framework of effects on herbivores and predators without taking into account the potential for dynamic feedbacks across trophic levels. Here we seek to address these key gaps in knowledge as well as to capitalize on recent advances and emerging frameworks in plant biodiversity research. In doing so, we provide new insights as well as recommendations which will stimulate new research and advance this field of study. PMID:27436639

  9. Spatiotemporal variation in local adaptation of a specialist insect herbivore to its long-lived host plant.

    PubMed

    Kalske, Aino; Leimu, Roosa; Scheepens, J F; Mutikainen, Pia

    2016-09-01

    Local adaptation of interacting species to one another indicates geographically variable reciprocal selection. This process of adaptation is central in the organization and maintenance of genetic variation across populations. Given that the strength of selection and responses to it often vary in time and space, the strength of local adaptation should in theory vary between generations and among populations. However, such spatiotemporal variation has rarely been explicitly demonstrated in nature and local adaptation is commonly considered to be relatively static. We report persistent local adaptation of the short-lived herbivore Abrostola asclepiadis to its long-lived host plant Vincetoxicum hirundinaria over three successive generations in two studied populations and considerable temporal variation in local adaptation in six populations supporting the geographic mosaic theory. The observed variation in local adaptation among populations was best explained by geographic distance and population isolation, suggesting that gene flow reduces local adaptation. Changes in herbivore population size did not conclusively explain temporal variation in local adaptation. Our results also imply that short-term studies are likely to capture only a part of the existing variation in local adaptation. PMID:27436540

  10. Plant diversity effects on insect herbivores and their natural enemies: current thinking, recent findings, and future directions.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Rasmann, Sergio; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Mooney, Kailen A

    2016-04-01

    A rich body of theory has been developed to predict the effects of plant diversity on communities at higher trophic levels and the mechanisms underpinning such effects. However, there are currently a number of key gaps in knowledge that have hindered the development of a predictive framework of plant diversity effects on consumers. For instance, we still know very little about how the magnitude of plant trait variation (e.g. intra-specific vs. inter-specific), as well as the identity and combined effects of plant, herbivore and natural enemy traits, mediate plant diversity effects on consumers. Moreover, the fine-scale mechanisms (e.g. changes in consumer behaviour or recruitment responses) underlying such diversity effects in many cases remain elusive or have been overlooked. In addition, most studies of plant diversity effects on associated consumers have been developed under a static, unidirectional (bottom-up) framework of effects on herbivores and predators without taking into account the potential for dynamic feedbacks across trophic levels. Here we seek to address these key gaps in knowledge as well as to capitalize on recent advances and emerging frameworks in plant biodiversity research. In doing so, we provide new insights as well as recommendations which will stimulate new research and advance this field of study.

  11. Different Transcript Patterns in Response to Specialist and Generalist Herbivores in the Wild Arabidopsis Relative Boechera divaricarpa

    PubMed Central

    Vogel, Heiko; Kroymann, Juergen; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2007-01-01

    Background Plants defend themselves against herbivorous insects, utilizing both constitutive and inducible defenses. Induced defenses are controlled by several phytohormone-mediated signaling pathways. Here, we analyze transcriptional changes in the North American Arabidopsis relative Boechera divaricarpa in response to larval herbivory by the crucifer specialist lepidopteran Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth) and by the generalist lepidopteran Trichoplusia ni (cabbage semilooper), and compare them to wounding and exogenous phytohormone application. Methodology/Principal Findings We use a custom macroarray constructed from B. divaricarpa herbivory-regulated cDNAs identified by suppression subtractive hybridization and from known stress-responsive A. thaliana genes for transcript profiling after insect herbivory, wounding and in response to jasmonate, salicylate and ethylene. In addition, we introduce path analysis as a novel approach to analyze transcript profiles. Path analyses reveal that transcriptional responses to the crucifer specialist P. xylostella are primarily determined by direct effects of the ethylene and salicylate pathways, whereas responses to the generalist T. ni are influenced by the ethylene and jasmonate pathways. Wound-induced transcriptional changes are influenced by all three pathways, with jasmonate having the strongest effect. Conclusions/Significance Our results show that insect herbivory is distinct from simple mechanical plant damage, and that different lepidopteran herbivores elicit different transcriptional responses. PMID:17957263

  12. Confirmation bias leads to overestimation of losses of woody plant foliage to insect herbivores in tropical regions.

    PubMed

    Kozlov, Mikhail V; Zverev, Vitali; Zvereva, Elena L

    2014-01-01

    Confirmation bias, i.e., the tendency of humans to seek out evidence in a manner that confirms their hypotheses, is almost overlooked in ecological studies. For decades, insect herbivory was commonly accepted to be highest in tropical regions. By comparing the data collected blindly (when the observer was not aware of the research hypothesis being tested) with the results of non-blind studies (when the observer knew what results could be expected), we tested the hypothesis that the records made in the tropics could have overestimated community-wide losses of plant foliage to insects due to the confirmation bias. The average loss of leaf area of woody plants to defoliating insects in Brazil, when measured by a blind method (1.11%), was significantly lower than the loss measured in non-blind studies, both original (5.14%) and published (6.37%). We attribute the overestimation of the community-wide losses of plant foliage to insects in non-blind studies to the unconsciously preconceived selection of study species with higher-than-average levels of herbivory. Based on our findings, we urge for caution in obtaining community-wide characteristics from the results of multiple single-species studies. Our data suggest that we may need to revise the paradigm of the highest level of background insect herbivory in the tropical regions. More generally, we argue that more attention should be paid by ecologists to the problem of biases occurring at the pre-publication phases of the scientific research and, consequently, to the development and the wide application of methods that avoid biases occurring due to unconscious psychological processes.

  13. 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

  14. (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.

  15. Bacillus thuringiensis resistance in Plutella - too many trees?

    PubMed

    Crickmore, Neil

    2016-06-01

    Plutella xylostella was the first insect for which resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis was reported in the field, yet despite many studies on the nature of this resistance phenotype its genetic and molecular basis remains elusive. Many different factors have been proposed as contributing to resistance, although in many cases it has not been possible to establish a causal link. Indeed, there are so many studies published that it has become very difficult to 'see the wood for the trees'. This article will attempt to clarify our current understanding of Bt resistance in P. xylostella and consider the criteria that are used when validating a particular model. PMID:27436736

  16. Are feeding preferences and insecticide resistance associated with the size of detoxifying enzyme families in insect herbivores?

    PubMed

    Rane, Rahul V; Walsh, Tom K; Pearce, Stephen L; Jermiin, Lars S; Gordon, Karl Hj; Richards, Stephen; Oakeshott, John G

    2016-02-01

    The size of gene families associated with xenobiotic detoxification in insects may be associated with the complexity of their diets and their propensities to develop insecticide resistance. We test these hypotheses by collating the annotations of cytochrome P450, carboxyl/cholinesterase and glutathione S-transferase genes in 65 insect species with data on their host use and history of insecticide resistance. We find 2-4 fold variation across the species in the numbers of these genes and, in some orders, especially the Hymenoptera, there is a clear relationship between the numbers of genes and feeding preferences. However in other orders, in particular the Lepidoptera, no such relationship is apparent. The size of these three gene families also tend to correlate with insecticide resistance propensity but this may not be an independent effect because species with broader host ranges are more likely to be pests that are heavily sprayed with insecticides. PMID:27436555

  17. Silencing defense pathways in Arabidopsis by heterologous gene sequences from Brassica oleracea enhances the performance of a specialist and a generalist herbivorous insect.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Si-Jun; Zhang, Peng-Jun; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel

    2011-08-01

    The jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway and defensive secondary metabolites such as glucosinolates are generally considered to play central roles in the defense of brassicaceous plants against herbivorous insects. To determine the function of specific plant genes in plant-insect interactions, signaling or biosynthetic mutants are needed. However, mutants are not yet available for brassicaceous plants other than Arabidopsis thaliana, e.g., cabbage (Brassica oleracea). We employed virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) by using tobacco rattle virus (TRV) to knock down the endogenous expression of lipoxygenase (LOX), an upstream enzyme of the JA pathway and thioglucoside glucohydrolase: myrosinase (TGG1/TGG2), a hydrolytic enzyme that catalyzes the release of defensive volatile products originating from glucosinolates, in Arabidopsis thaliana. This was done by using the heterologous gene sequences from B. oleracea. Silencing these genes in A. thaliana plants is efficient and specific. Only 18 nucleotides with 100% identity between the trigger (BoMYR) and the target (AtTGG1/2) sequence are sufficient to achieve gene silencing. LOX-silenced plants showed significantly reduced AtLOX2 transcript accumulation after Pieris rapae larval feeding. TGG-silenced plants exhibited significantly lower TGG1/TGG2 transcript levels only after shorter larval feeding. The inhibition of TGG1/TGG2 transcript accumulation via gene silencing may be overruled by longer larval feeding. Specialist P. rapae larvae developed significantly better on both types of silenced plants than on empty vector (EV) control plants, while generalist Mamestra brassicae larvae developed significantly better on the TGG1/TGG2 silenced plants than on EV control plants. This shows that not only the generalist herbivore but also the Brassicaceae-specialist P. rapae is negatively affected by the ability of brassicaceous plants to produce their specific secondary metabolites, i.e., glucosinolates. Our results

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-12-01

    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

  19. 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

  20. Evidence that plant varieties respond differently to NO2 pollution as indicated by resistance to insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Masters, G J; McNeill, S

    1996-01-01

    The effects of NO(2) pollution on the performance of aphids feeding on different bean varieties were investigated by fumigation experiments. The susceptibility of the different genotypes dramatically changed as the concentration of atmospheric pollutant was increased. The direction of change was not constant between varieties. Our data suggest that resistance or susceptibility of a plant variety to insect herbivory can be significantly altered when subjected to pollutant stress, thus indicating that it may be difficult to predict the susceptibility of host plants in a polluted atmosphere.

  1. The effect of plant identity and the level of plant decay on molecular gut content analysis in a herbivorous soil insect

    PubMed Central

    Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Schallhart, Nikolaus; Peter, Eva; Dresch, Philipp; Juen, Anita; Traugott, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Plant roots represent an important food source for soil-dwelling animals, but tracking herbivore food choices below-ground is difficult. Here, we present an optimized PCR assay for the detection of plant DNA in the guts of invertebrates, using general plant primers targeting the trnT-F chloroplast DNA region. Based on this assay, we assessed the influence of plant identity on the detectability of ingested plant DNA in Agriotes click beetle larvae. Six different plant species were fed to the insects, comprising a grass, a legume and four nonlegume forbs. Moreover, we examined whether it is possible to amplify DNA of decaying plants and if DNA of decayed plant food is detectable in the guts of the larvae. DNA of the ingested roots could be detected in the guts of the larvae for up to 72-h post-feeding, the maximum digestion time tested. When fed with living plants, DNA detection rates differed significantly between the plant species. This may be ascribed to differences in the amount of plant tissue consumed, root palatability, root morphology and/or secondary plant components. These findings indicate that plant identity can affect post-feeding DNA detection success, which needs to be considered for the interpretation of molecularly derived feeding rates on plants. Amplification of plant DNA from decaying plants was possible as long as any tissue could be retrieved from the soil. The consumption of decaying plant tissue could also be verified by our assay, but the insects seemed to prefer fresh roots over decaying plant material. PMID:23167731

  2. The effect of plant identity and the level of plant decay on molecular gut content analysis in a herbivorous soil insect.

    PubMed

    Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Schallhart, Nikolaus; Peter, Eva; Dresch, Philipp; Juen, Anita; Traugott, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Plant roots represent an important food source for soil-dwelling animals, but tracking herbivore food choices below-ground is difficult. Here, we present an optimized PCR assay for the detection of plant DNA in the guts of invertebrates, using general plant primers targeting the trnT-F chloroplast DNA region. Based on this assay, we assessed the influence of plant identity on the detectability of ingested plant DNA in Agriotes click beetle larvae. Six different plant species were fed to the insects, comprising a grass, a legume and four nonlegume forbs. Moreover, we examined whether it is possible to amplify DNA of decaying plants and if DNA of decayed plant food is detectable in the guts of the larvae. DNA of the ingested roots could be detected in the guts of the larvae for up to 72-h post-feeding, the maximum digestion time tested. When fed with living plants, DNA detection rates differed significantly between the plant species. This may be ascribed to differences in the amount of plant tissue consumed, root palatability, root morphology and/or secondary plant components. These findings indicate that plant identity can affect post-feeding DNA detection success, which needs to be considered for the interpretation of molecularly derived feeding rates on plants. Amplification of plant DNA from decaying plants was possible as long as any tissue could be retrieved from the soil. The consumption of decaying plant tissue could also be verified by our assay, but the insects seemed to prefer fresh roots over decaying plant material. PMID:23167731

  3. 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%.

  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. 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

    2015-01-01

    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.

  6. [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.

  7. Prey perception of predation risk: volatile chemical cues mediate non-consumptive effects of a predator on a herbivorous insect.

    PubMed

    Hermann, Sara L; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2014-11-01

    Predators can affect prey in two ways-by reducing their density (consumptive effects) or by changing their behavior, physiology or other phenotypic traits (non-consumptive effects). Understanding the cues and sensory modalities prey use to detect predators is critical for predicting the strength of non-consumptive effects and the outcome of predator-prey encounters. While predator-associated cues have been well studied in aquatic systems, less is known about how terrestrial prey, particularly insect larvae, detect their predators. We evaluated how Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, larvae perceive predation risk by isolating cues from its stink bug predator, the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris. When exposed to male "risk" predators that were surgically manipulated so they could hunt but not kill, beetles reduced feeding 29% compared to controls. Exposure to risk females caused an intermediate response. Beetles ate 24% less on leaves pre-exposed to predators compared to leaves never exposed to predators, indicating that tactile and visual cues are not required for the prey's response. Volatile odor cues from predators reduced beetle feeding by 10% overall, although male predators caused a stronger reduction than females. Finally, visual cues from the predator had a weak effect on beetle feeding. Because multiple cues appear to be involved in prey perception of risk, and because male and female predators have differential effects, beetle larvae likely experience tremendous variation in the information about risk from their local environment. PMID:25234373

  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. 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

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

    PubMed

    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 until

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Effects of Bt plants on the development and survival of the parasitoid Cotesia plutellae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in susceptible and Bt-resistant larvae of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Schuler, Tanja H; Denholm, Ian; Clark, Suzanne J; Stewart, C Neal; Poppy, Guy M

    2004-05-01

    A range of crops have been transformed with delta-endotoxin genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to produce transgenic plants with high levels of resistance to lepidopteran pests. Parasitoids are important natural enemies of lepidopteran larvae and the effects of Bt plants on these non-target insects have to be investigated to avoid unnecessary disruption of biological control. This study investigated the effects of Cry1Ac-expressing transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) on the solitary braconid endoparasitoid Cotesia plutellae in small-scale laboratory experiments. C. plutellae is an important natural enemy of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), the most important pest of brassica crops world-wide. Bt oilseed rape caused 100% mortality of a Bt-susceptible P. xylostella strain but no mortality of the Bt-resistant P. xylostella strain NO-QA. C. plutellae eggs laid in Bt-susceptible hosts feeding on Bt leaves hatched but premature host mortality did not allow C. plutellae larvae to complete their development. In contrast, C. plutellae developed to maturity in Bt-resistant hosts fed on Bt oilseed rape leaves and there was no effect of Bt plants on percentage parasitism, time to emergence from hosts, time to adult emergence and percentage adult emergence from cocoons. Weights of female progeny after development in Bt-resistant hosts did not differ between plant types but male progeny was significantly heavier on wildtype plants in one of two experiments. The proportion of female progeny was significantly higher on Bt plants in the first experiment with Bt-resistant hosts but this effect was not observed again when the experiment was repeated.

  15. Effects of Bt plants on the development and survival of the parasitoid Cotesia plutellae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in susceptible and Bt-resistant larvae of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Schuler, Tanja H; Denholm, Ian; Clark, Suzanne J; Stewart, C Neal; Poppy, Guy M

    2004-05-01

    A range of crops have been transformed with delta-endotoxin genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to produce transgenic plants with high levels of resistance to lepidopteran pests. Parasitoids are important natural enemies of lepidopteran larvae and the effects of Bt plants on these non-target insects have to be investigated to avoid unnecessary disruption of biological control. This study investigated the effects of Cry1Ac-expressing transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) on the solitary braconid endoparasitoid Cotesia plutellae in small-scale laboratory experiments. C. plutellae is an important natural enemy of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), the most important pest of brassica crops world-wide. Bt oilseed rape caused 100% mortality of a Bt-susceptible P. xylostella strain but no mortality of the Bt-resistant P. xylostella strain NO-QA. C. plutellae eggs laid in Bt-susceptible hosts feeding on Bt leaves hatched but premature host mortality did not allow C. plutellae larvae to complete their development. In contrast, C. plutellae developed to maturity in Bt-resistant hosts fed on Bt oilseed rape leaves and there was no effect of Bt plants on percentage parasitism, time to emergence from hosts, time to adult emergence and percentage adult emergence from cocoons. Weights of female progeny after development in Bt-resistant hosts did not differ between plant types but male progeny was significantly heavier on wildtype plants in one of two experiments. The proportion of female progeny was significantly higher on Bt plants in the first experiment with Bt-resistant hosts but this effect was not observed again when the experiment was repeated. PMID:15121457

  16. Parasitoid-specific induction of plant responses to parasitized herbivores affects colonization by subsequent herbivores.

    PubMed

    Poelman, Erik H; Zheng, Si-Jun; Zhang, Zhao; Heemskerk, Nanda M; Cortesero, Anne-Marie; Dicke, Marcel

    2011-12-01

    Plants are exposed to a suite of herbivorous attackers that often arrive sequentially. Herbivory affects interactions between the host plants and subsequently attacking herbivores. Moreover, plants may respond to herbivory by emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that attract carnivorous natural enemies of the herbivores. However, information borne by VOCs is ubiquitous and may attract carnivores, such as parasitoids, that differ in their effectiveness at releasing the plant from its herbivorous attackers. Furthermore, the development of parasitoids within their herbivorous hosts, attacking a given host plant, may influence the elicitation of defensive reactions in the host plant. This may, in turn, affect the behavior of subsequent herbivores attacking the host plant. Here, we show that the species identity of a parasitoid had a more significant effect on defense responses of Brassica oleracea plants than the species identity of the herbivorous hosts of the parasitoids. Consequently, B. oleracea plants that were damaged by caterpillars (Pieris spp.) parasitized by different parasitoid species varied in the degree to which diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella) selected the plants for oviposition. Attracting parasitoids in general benefitted the plants by reducing diamondback moth colonization. However, the species of parasitoid that parasitized the herbivore significantly affected the magnitude of this benefit by its species-specific effect on herbivore-plant interactions mediated by caterpillar regurgitant. Our findings show that information-mediated indirect defense may lead to unpredictable consequences for plants when considering trait-mediated effects of parasitized caterpillars on the host plant and their consequences because of community-wide responses to induced plants. PMID:22084113

  17. Parasitoid-specific induction of plant responses to parasitized herbivores affects colonization by subsequent herbivores.

    PubMed

    Poelman, Erik H; Zheng, Si-Jun; Zhang, Zhao; Heemskerk, Nanda M; Cortesero, Anne-Marie; Dicke, Marcel

    2011-12-01

    Plants are exposed to a suite of herbivorous attackers that often arrive sequentially. Herbivory affects interactions between the host plants and subsequently attacking herbivores. Moreover, plants may respond to herbivory by emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that attract carnivorous natural enemies of the herbivores. However, information borne by VOCs is ubiquitous and may attract carnivores, such as parasitoids, that differ in their effectiveness at releasing the plant from its herbivorous attackers. Furthermore, the development of parasitoids within their herbivorous hosts, attacking a given host plant, may influence the elicitation of defensive reactions in the host plant. This may, in turn, affect the behavior of subsequent herbivores attacking the host plant. Here, we show that the species identity of a parasitoid had a more significant effect on defense responses of Brassica oleracea plants than the species identity of the herbivorous hosts of the parasitoids. Consequently, B. oleracea plants that were damaged by caterpillars (Pieris spp.) parasitized by different parasitoid species varied in the degree to which diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella) selected the plants for oviposition. Attracting parasitoids in general benefitted the plants by reducing diamondback moth colonization. However, the species of parasitoid that parasitized the herbivore significantly affected the magnitude of this benefit by its species-specific effect on herbivore-plant interactions mediated by caterpillar regurgitant. Our findings show that information-mediated indirect defense may lead to unpredictable consequences for plants when considering trait-mediated effects of parasitized caterpillars on the host plant and their consequences because of community-wide responses to induced plants.

  18. 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 ...

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Elevated atmospheric CO(2) affects the chemical quality of brassica plants and the growth rate of the specialist, Plutella xylostella, but not the generalist, Spodoptera littoralis.

    PubMed

    Reddy, Gadi V P; Tossavainen, Paula; Nerg, Anne-Marja; Holopainen, Jarmo K

    2004-06-30

    Cabbage, Brassica oleracea subsp. capitata (cv. Lennox and Rinda), and oilseed rape, Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera (cv. Valo and Tuli), plants were grown under ambient CO(2) (360 ppm) or elevated CO(2) (720 ppm) at 23/18 degrees C and under a photoperiod of 22/2 h light (250 micromol m(-)(2) s(-)(1))/dark regime for up to 5 weeks. Afterward, the performance of the crucifer specialist Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) and the generalist Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on those plants was studied. The mean relative growth rate (RGR) of P. xylostella larvae, feeding on both cultivars of oilseed rape or on the Lennox cultivar of cabbage leaves grown at an elevated CO(2) concentration, was significantly reduced as compared to ambient CO(2). A negative larval growth rate at elevated CO(2) was observed for P. xylostella on both oilseed rape cultivars, but the growth rate was reduced but positive on cabbage. Conversely, the RGR of S. littoralis on either plant species was not affected by CO(2) treatment but was lower on cabbage cv. Rinda than on cv. Lennox. The mortality of the larvae was not affected by CO(2) treatment either. At the same time, elevated CO(2) significantly decreased the concentrations of leaf phytochemical constituents in oilseed rape, i.e., total phenolics and total nitrogen, but not in cabbage. The effect of elevated CO(2) on the leaf glucosinolate concentrations of both plant species was marginal. In addition, the observed significant changes in individual glucosinolate concentrations of oilseed rape leaves were not consistent among cultivars. However, our results demonstrate for the first time quite strong effects of CO(2) enrichment on the larval performance of P. xylostella, which is an important pest of Brassica plants around the world. Further studies are still required to increase our understanding of why elevated CO(2) differently affects the performance of specialist and generalist insect herbivores on Brassica

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23883576

  6. [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%. PMID:15228000

  7. 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…

  8. 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

  9. The specificity of herbivore-induced plant volatiles in attracting herbivore enemies.

    PubMed

    Clavijo McCormick, Andrea; Unsicker, Sybille B; Gershenzon, Jonathan

    2012-05-01

    Plants respond to herbivore attack by emitting complex mixtures of volatile compounds that attract herbivore enemies, both predators and parasitoids. Here, we explore whether these mixtures provide significant value as information cues in herbivore enemy attraction. Our survey indicates that blends of volatiles released from damaged plants are frequently specific depending on the type of herbivore and its age, abundance and feeding guild. The sensory perception of plant volatiles by herbivore enemies is also specific, according to the latest evidence from studies of insect olfaction. Thus, enemies do exploit the detailed information provided by plant volatile mixtures in searching for their prey or hosts, but this varies with the diet breadth of the enemy.

  10. 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. PMID:19689887

  11. Tritrophic choice experiments with bt plants, the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and the parasitoid Cotesia plutellae.

    PubMed

    Schuler, Tanja H; Potting, Roel P J; Denholm, Ian; Clark, Suzanne J; Clark, Alison J; Stewart, C Neal; Poppy, Guy M

    2003-06-01

    Parasitoids are important natural enemies of many pest species and are used extensively in biological and integrated control programmes. Crop plants transformed to express toxin genes derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) provide high levels of resistance to certain pest species, which is likely to have consequent effects on parasitoids specialising on such pests. A better understanding of the interaction between transgenic plants, pests and parasitoids is important to limit disruption of biological control and to provide background knowledge essential for implementing measures for the conservation of parasitoid populations. It is also essential for investigations into the potential role of parasitoids in delaying the build-up of Bt-resistant pest populations. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a major pest of brassica crops, is normally highly susceptible to a range of Bt toxins. However, extensive use of microbial Bt sprays has led to the selection of resistance to Bt toxins in P. xylostella. Cotesia plutellae is an important endoparasitoid of P. xylostella larvae. Although unable to survive in Bt-susceptible P. xylostella larvae on highly resistant Bt oilseed rape plants due to premature host mortality, C. plutellae is able to complete its larval development in Bt-resistant P. xylostella larvae. Experiments of parasitoid flight and foraging behaviour presented in this paper showed that adult C. plutellae females do not distinguish between Bt and wildtype oilseed rape plants, and are more attracted to Bt plants damaged by Bt-resistant hosts than by susceptible hosts. This stronger attraction to Bt plants damaged by resistant hosts was due to more extensive feeding damage. Population scale experiments with mixtures of Bt and wildtype plants demonstrated that the parasitoid is as effective in controlling Bt-resistant P. xylostella larvae on Bt plants as on wildtype plants. In these experiments equal or higher numbers of parasitoid adults emerged per

  12. Tritrophic choice experiments with bt plants, the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and the parasitoid Cotesia plutellae.

    PubMed

    Schuler, Tanja H; Potting, Roel P J; Denholm, Ian; Clark, Suzanne J; Clark, Alison J; Stewart, C Neal; Poppy, Guy M

    2003-06-01

    Parasitoids are important natural enemies of many pest species and are used extensively in biological and integrated control programmes. Crop plants transformed to express toxin genes derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) provide high levels of resistance to certain pest species, which is likely to have consequent effects on parasitoids specialising on such pests. A better understanding of the interaction between transgenic plants, pests and parasitoids is important to limit disruption of biological control and to provide background knowledge essential for implementing measures for the conservation of parasitoid populations. It is also essential for investigations into the potential role of parasitoids in delaying the build-up of Bt-resistant pest populations. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a major pest of brassica crops, is normally highly susceptible to a range of Bt toxins. However, extensive use of microbial Bt sprays has led to the selection of resistance to Bt toxins in P. xylostella. Cotesia plutellae is an important endoparasitoid of P. xylostella larvae. Although unable to survive in Bt-susceptible P. xylostella larvae on highly resistant Bt oilseed rape plants due to premature host mortality, C. plutellae is able to complete its larval development in Bt-resistant P. xylostella larvae. Experiments of parasitoid flight and foraging behaviour presented in this paper showed that adult C. plutellae females do not distinguish between Bt and wildtype oilseed rape plants, and are more attracted to Bt plants damaged by Bt-resistant hosts than by susceptible hosts. This stronger attraction to Bt plants damaged by resistant hosts was due to more extensive feeding damage. Population scale experiments with mixtures of Bt and wildtype plants demonstrated that the parasitoid is as effective in controlling Bt-resistant P. xylostella larvae on Bt plants as on wildtype plants. In these experiments equal or higher numbers of parasitoid adults emerged per

  13. Transgenic Bt-producing Brassica napus: Plutella xylostella selection pressure and fitness of weedy relatives.

    PubMed

    Mason, Peter; Braun, Lorraine; Warwick, Suzanne I; Zhu, Bin; Stewart, C Neal

    2003-01-01

    Release of transgenic insect-resistant crops creates the potential not only for the insect pest to evolve resistance but for the escape of transgenes that may confer novel or enhanced fitness-related traits through hybridization with their wild relatives. The differential response of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) populations in eastern and western Canada to Bt-producing (GT) Brassica napus and the potential for enhanced fitness of GT B. napus and weedy GT Brassica rapa x B. napus hybrid populations (F1, BC1, BC2) were studied. Comparative bioassays using neonates and 4th instars showed that GT B. napus and GT B. rapa x B. napus hybrids are lethal to larvae from both populations. No measurable plant fitness advantage (reproductive dry weight) was observed for GT B. napus (crop) and GT B. rapa x B. napus hybrid populations at low insect pressure (1 larva per leaf). At high insect densities (>10 larvae per leaf), vegetative plant weight was not significantly different for GT B. napus and non-GT B. napus, whereas reproductive plant weight and proportion of reproductive material were significantly higher in GT B. napus. Establishment of the Bt trait in wild B. rapa populations may also increase its competitive advantage under high insect pressure.

  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. Are exotic herbivores better competitors? A meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Radville, Laura; Gonda-King, Liahna; Gómez, Sara; Kaplan, Ian; Preisser, Evan L

    2014-01-01

    Competition plays an important role in structuring the community dynamics of phytophagous insects. As the number and impact of biological invasions increase, it has become increasingly important to determine whether competitive differences exist between native and exotic insects. We conducted a meta-analysis to test the hypothesis that native/ exotic status affects the outcome of herbivore competition. Specifically, we used data from 160 published studies to assess plant-mediated competition in phytophagous insects. For each pair of competing herbivores, we determined the native range and coevolutionary history of each herbivore and host plant. Plant-mediated competition occurred frequently, but neither native nor exotic insects were consistently better competitors. Spatial separation reduced competition in native insects but showed little effect on exotics. Temporal separation negatively impacted native insects but did not affect competition in exotics. Insects that coevolved with their host plant were more affected by interspecific competition than herbivores that lacked a coevolutionary history. Insects that have not coevolved with their host plant may be at a competitive advantage if they overcome plant defenses. As native/exotic status does not consistently predict outcomes of competitive interactions, plant-insect coevolutionary history should be considered in studies of competition.

  16. 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

  17. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-herbivore communities: incorporating plant phenotypic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Ohgushi, Takayuki

    2016-04-01

    The interplay between evolution and ecological communities is critical for the integration of different levels of biological organization. Recent work has begun to unveil the importance of plant phenotypic plasticity and plant-herbivore (co)evolution to link plant evolution and associated insect communities. Specifically, herbivore-induced plant traits (i.e., plastic phenotypes) have significant effects on the structure and diversity of herbivore communities, which can in turn promote the evolution of not only the focal plant but also insect community members. Here, I will provide a conceptual framework on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-herbivore communities to understand how biological organizations are integrated in plant-insect interactions. Research on eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-herbivore communities will undoubtedly enrich understanding of a wide range of plant-insect interactions. PMID:27436645

  3. Ecology of herbivorous arthropods in urban landscapes.

    PubMed

    Raupp, Michael J; Shrewsbury, Paula M; Herms, Daniel A

    2010-01-01

    Urbanization affects communities of herbivorous arthropods and provides opportunities for dramatic changes in their abundance and richness. Underlying these changes are creation of impervious surfaces; variation in the density, diversity, and complexity of vegetation; and maintenance practices including pulsed inputs of fertilizers, water, and pesticides. A rich body of knowledge provides theoretical underpinnings for predicting and understanding impacts of urbanization on arthropods. However, relatively few studies have elucidated mechanisms that explain patterns of insect and mite abundance and diversity across urbanization gradients. Published accounts suggest that responses to urbanization are often taxon specific, highly variable, and linked to properties of urbanization that weaken top-down and/or bottom-up processes, thereby destabilizing populations of herbivores and their natural enemies. In addition to revealing patterns in diversity and abundance of herbivores across urbanization gradients, a primary objective of this review is to examine mechanisms underlying these patterns and to identify potential hypotheses for future testing.

  4. 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 ...

  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. An analytical model assessing the potential threat to natural habitats from insect resistance transgenes: continuous transgene input.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Colleen K; Bowler, Michael; Breden, Felix

    2006-06-22

    The potential effects of 'escape' of genetically modified material (transgenes) into natural communities is a major concern in their use. These effects may be limited in the first instance by limiting the proportion of transgene-carrying plants in the natural community. We previously presented an analytical model of the ecological processes governing the relative abundance and persistence of insect resistance (IR) transgenes in a natural community. In that paper, we illustrated the case in which the transgene is input into the community in a single season using data from oilseed rape (OSR) and its known herbivore, Plutella macropennis. We found that the transgene is unlikely to have a great impact on the natural community. Here, we extend the model for repeated input of crop pollen carrying the transgene. We show the model output, again using OSR, for continuous input of the transgene over 10 years, the projected commercial lifetime of a transgene without associated undesirable agronomic effects. Our results do not change our original conclusion that the IR transgene need not have a large impact on the natural community and our suggestions for assessing and mitigating any threat still stand.

  7. Response of native insect communities to invasive plants.

    PubMed

    Bezemer, T Martijn; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Cronin, James T

    2014-01-01

    Invasive plants can disrupt a range of trophic interactions in native communities. As a novel resource they can affect the performance of native insect herbivores and their natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators, and this can lead to host shifts of these herbivores and natural enemies. Through the release of volatile compounds, and by changing the chemical complexity of the habitat, invasive plants can also affect the behavior of native insects such as herbivores, parasitoids, and pollinators. Studies that compare insects on related native and invasive plants in invaded habitats show that the abundance of insect herbivores is often lower on invasive plants, but that damage levels are similar. The impact of invasive plants on the population dynamics of resident insect species has been rarely examined, but invasive plants can influence the spatial and temporal dynamics of native insect (meta)populations and communities, ultimately leading to changes at the landscape level.

  8. 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. PMID:25824261

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Identification of microRNAs from Plutella xylostella larvae associated with parasitization by Diadegma semiclausum.

    PubMed

    Etebari, Kayvan; Hussain, Mazhar; Asgari, Sassan

    2013-04-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) as small non-coding RNAs play important roles in many biological processes such as development, cell signaling and immune response. Small RNA deep sequencing technology provided an opportunity for a thorough survey of miRNAs in a global key pest Plutella xylostella as well as comparative analysis of miRNA expression profile of the insect in association with parasitization by Diadegma semiclausum. Combining the deep sequencing data and bioinformatics, 235 miRNAs were identified from P. xylostella. Differential expression of host cellular miRNAs in response to parasitism was examined by making small RNA libraries from parasitized and naive second instar larvae of P. xylostella. Bantam, miR-276*, miR-10, miR-31 and miR-184 were detected as five most abundant miRNAs in both libraries and 96 miRNAs were identified that were differentially expressed after parasitization. Bantam*, miR-184 and miR-281* were significantly down-regulated and two miRNAs miR-279b and miR-2944b* were highly induced in parasitized larvae. Interestingly, high copy numbers and differential expression of several miRNA passenger strands (miRNA*) suggest their potential roles in host-parasitoid interaction. In conclusion, expression profiling of miRNAs provided insights into their possible involvement in insect immune response to parasitism and offer an important resource for further studies.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. Nitrogen in insects: implications for trophic complexity and species diversification.

    PubMed

    Fagan, William F; Siemann, Evan; Mitter, Charles; Denno, Robert F; Huberty, Andrea F; Woods, H Arthur; Elser, James J

    2002-12-01

    Disparities in nutrient content (nitrogen and phosphorus) between herbivores and their plant resources have lately proven to have major consequences for herbivore success, consumer-driven nutrient cycling, and the fate of primary production in ecosystems. Here we extend these findings by examining patterns of nutrient content between animals at higher trophic levels, specifically between insect herbivores and predators. Using a recently compiled database on insect nutrient content, we found that predators exhibit on average 15% greater nitrogen content than herbivores. This difference persists after accounting for variation from phylogeny and allometry. Among herbivorous insects, we also found evidence that recently derived lineages (e.g., herbivorous Diptera and Lepidoptera) have, on a relative basis, 15%-25% less body nitrogen than more ancient herbivore lineages (e.g., herbivorous Orthoptera and Hemiptera). We elaborate several testable hypotheses for the origin of differences in nitrogen content between trophic levels and among phylogenetic lineages. For example, interspecific variation in insect nitrogen content may be directly traceable to differences in dietary nitrogen (including dilution by gut contents), selected for directly in response to the differential scarcity of dietary nitrogen, or an indirect consequence of adaptation to different feeding habits. From some functional perspectives, the magnitude rather than the source of the interspecific differences in nitrogen content may be most critical. We conclude by discussing the implications of the observed patterns for both the trophic complexity of food webs and the evolutionary radiation of herbivorous insects. PMID:18707465

  15. Herbivores mediate different competitive and facilitative responses of native and invader populations of Brassica nigra.

    PubMed

    Oduor, Ayub M O; Strauss, Sharon Y; García, Yedra; Cascales, Modesto Berbel; Gómez, José M

    2013-10-01

    Differences in plant and herbivore community assemblages between exotic and native ranges may select for different levels of plant traits in invasive and native populations of plant species. Little is currently known of how herbivores may mediate competitive and facilitative interactions between invasive and native populations of plant species and their plant neighbors. Here, we conducted a common-garden field experiment to test whether invasive and native populations of Brassica nigra differ in phenotypic expressions of growth (biomass and plant height) and reproductive (seed yield) traits under different plant neighbor treatments and ambient vs. reduced level of insect herbivore damage on the B. nigra plants. We found significant interactive effects of plant neighbor treatments, level of insect herbivore damage on B. nigra plants, and invasive status of B. nigra on the phenotypic trait expressions. Plant neighbor treatments had minimal effects on phenotypic trait expressions by invasive populations of B. nigra under either level of insect herbivore damage. In contrast, for native populations of B. nigra, ambient level of insect herbivore damage resulted in plant neighbors facilitating expression of the traits above, while reduced damage resulted in plant neighbors competitively suppressing trait expression. Our results suggest that insect herbivores and plant neighbors interactively shape expression of plant traits in native and exotic ranges of invasive plants. Such interactions could potentially lead to different selection pressures on traits that determine antiherbivore defenses and plant-plant interactions. PMID:24358714

  16. Turnabout Is Fair Play: Herbivory-Induced Plant Chitinases Excreted in Fall Armyworm Frass Suppress Herbivore Defenses in Maize.

    PubMed

    Ray, Swayamjit; Alves, Patrick C M S; Ahmad, Imtiaz; Gaffoor, Iffa; Acevedo, Flor E; Peiffer, Michelle; Jin, Shan; Han, Yang; Shakeel, Samina; Felton, Gary W; Luthe, Dawn S

    2016-05-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Does plant trait diversity reduce the ability of herbivores to defend against predators? The plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, William C; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2016-04-01

    Variability in plant chemistry has long been believed to suppress populations of insect herbivores by constraining herbivore resource selection behavior in ways that make herbivores more vulnerable to predation. The focus on behavior, however, overlooks the pervasive physiological effects of plant variability on herbivores. Here we propose the plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis, which posits that plant chemical variability constrains herbivore anti-predator defenses by frequently requiring herbivores to acclimate their guts to changing plant defenses and nutrients. Gut acclimation, including changes to morphology and detoxification enzymes, requires time and nutrients, and we argue these costs will constrain how and when herbivores can mount anti-predator defenses. A consequence of this hypothesis is stronger top-down control of herbivores in heterogeneous plant populations. PMID:27436643

  19. Does plant trait diversity reduce the ability of herbivores to defend against predators? The plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, William C; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2016-04-01

    Variability in plant chemistry has long been believed to suppress populations of insect herbivores by constraining herbivore resource selection behavior in ways that make herbivores more vulnerable to predation. The focus on behavior, however, overlooks the pervasive physiological effects of plant variability on herbivores. Here we propose the plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis, which posits that plant chemical variability constrains herbivore anti-predator defenses by frequently requiring herbivores to acclimate their guts to changing plant defenses and nutrients. Gut acclimation, including changes to morphology and detoxification enzymes, requires time and nutrients, and we argue these costs will constrain how and when herbivores can mount anti-predator defenses. A consequence of this hypothesis is stronger top-down control of herbivores in heterogeneous plant populations.

  20. Genomic sequence analysis of a nucleopolyhedrovirus isolated from the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The CL3 plaque isolate of Plutella xylostella multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (PlxyMNPV-CL3) is a variant of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) but exhibits a much higher degree of virulence against the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. To identify genetic differences ...

  1. 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

  2. Deep sequencing-based transcriptome analysis of Plutella xylostella larvae parasitized by Diadegma semiclausum

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Parasitoid insects manipulate their hosts' physiology by injecting various factors into their host upon parasitization. Transcriptomic approaches provide a powerful approach to study insect host-parasitoid interactions at the molecular level. In order to investigate the effects of parasitization by an ichneumonid wasp (Diadegma semiclausum) on the host (Plutella xylostella), the larval transcriptome profile was analyzed using a short-read deep sequencing method (Illumina). Symbiotic polydnaviruses (PDVs) associated with ichneumonid parasitoids, known as ichnoviruses, play significant roles in host immune suppression and developmental regulation. In the current study, D. semiclausum ichnovirus (DsIV) genes expressed in P. xylostella were identified and their sequences compared with other reported PDVs. Five of these genes encode proteins of unknown identity, that have not previously been reported. Results De novo assembly of cDNA sequence data generated 172,660 contigs between 100 and 10000 bp in length; with 35% of > 200 bp in length. Parasitization had significant impacts on expression levels of 928 identified insect host transcripts. Gene ontology data illustrated that the majority of the differentially expressed genes are involved in binding, catalytic activity, and metabolic and cellular processes. In addition, the results show that transcription levels of antimicrobial peptides, such as gloverin, cecropin E and lysozyme, were up-regulated after parasitism. Expression of ichnovirus genes were detected in parasitized larvae with 19 unique sequences identified from five PDV gene families including vankyrin, viral innexin, repeat elements, a cysteine-rich motif, and polar residue rich protein. Vankyrin 1 and repeat element 1 genes showed the highest transcription levels among the DsIV genes. Conclusion This study provides detailed information on differential expression of P. xylostella larval genes following parasitization, DsIV genes expressed in the

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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.

  6. Marine-terrestrial contrasts in the ecology of plant chemical defenses against herbivores.

    PubMed

    Hay, M E

    1991-11-01

    Small marine herbivores that live on the plants they consume often selectively eat seaweeds that are chemically defended from fishes. Their feeding is unaffected or stimulated by the plant metabolites that deter fishes, and these small herbivores dramatically reduce their susceptibility to predation by associating with host plants that are noxious to fishes. Ecological similarities between these small marine herbivores and numerous terrestrial insects suggest that herbivorous insects also may have evolved a preference for toxic plants because this diminishes their losses to predators, parasites and pathogens. Although marine and terrestrial plants and herbivores evolved in strikingly different environments, the ease of experimentation in some marine systems makes them ideal for addressing certain questions of fundamental importance to both terrestrial and marine workers.

  7. 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

  8. Herbivore-Specific, Density-Dependent Induction of Plant Volatiles: Honest or “Cry Wolf” Signals?

    PubMed Central

    Shiojiri, Kaori; Ozawa, Rika; Kugimiya, Soichi; Uefune, Masayoshi; van Wijk, Michiel; Sabelis, Maurice W.; Takabayashi, Junji

    2010-01-01

    Plants release volatile chemicals upon attack by herbivorous arthropods. They do so commonly in a dose-dependent manner: the more herbivores, the more volatiles released. The volatiles attract predatory arthropods and the amount determines the probability of predator response. We show that seedlings of a cabbage variety (Brassica oleracea var. capitata, cv Shikidori) also show such a response to the density of cabbage white (Pieris rapae) larvae and attract more (naive) parasitoids (Cotesia glomerata) when there are more herbivores on the plant. However, when attacked by diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) larvae, seedlings of the same variety (cv Shikidori) release volatiles, the total amount of which is high and constant and thus independent of caterpillar density, and naive parasitoids (Cotesia vestalis) of diamondback moth larvae fail to discriminate herbivore-rich from herbivore-poor plants. In contrast, seedlings of another cabbage variety of B. oleracea (var. acephala: kale) respond in a dose-dependent manner to the density of diamondback moth larvae and attract more parasitoids when there are more herbivores. Assuming these responses of the cabbage cultivars reflect behaviour of at least some genotypes of wild plants, we provide arguments why the behaviour of kale (B. oleracea var acephala) is best interpreted as an honest signaling strategy and that of cabbage cv Shikidori (B. oleracea var capitata) as a “cry wolf” signaling strategy, implying a conflict of interest between the plant and the enemies of its herbivores: the plant profits from being visited by the herbivore's enemies, but the latter would be better off by visiting other plants with more herbivores. If so, evolutionary theory on alarm signaling predicts consequences of major interest to students of plant protection, tritrophic systems and communication alike. PMID:20808961

  9. Changes in fitness-associated traits due to the stacking of transgenic glyphosate resistance and insect resistance in Brassica napus L.

    PubMed

    Londo, J P; Bollman, M A; Sagers, C L; Lee, E H; Watrud, L S

    2011-10-01

    Increasingly, genetically modified crops are being developed to express multiple 'stacked' traits for different types of transgenes, for example, herbicide resistance, insect resistance, crop quality and tolerance to environmental stresses. The release of crops that express multiple traits could result in ecological changes in weedy environments if feral crop plants or hybrids formed with compatible weeds results in more competitive plants outside of agriculture. To examine the effects of combining transgenes, we developed a stacked line of canola (Brassica napus L.) from a segregating F(2) population that expresses both transgenic glyphosate resistance (CP4 EPSPS) and lepidopteran insect resistance (Cry1Ac). Fitness-associated traits were evaluated between this stacked genotype and five other Brassica genotypes in constructed mesocosm plant communities exposed to insect herbivores (Plutella xylostella L.) or glyphosate-drift. Vegetative biomass, seed production and relative fecundity were all reduced in stacked trait plants when compared with non-transgenic plants in control treatments, indicating potential costs of expressing multiple transgenes without selection pressure. Although costs of the transgenes were offset by selective treatment, the stacked genotype continued to produce fewer seeds than either single transgenic line. However, the increase in fitness of the stacked genotype under selective pressure contributed to an increased number of seeds within the mesocosm community carrying unselected, hitchhiking transgenes. These results demonstrate that the stacking of these transgenes in canola results in fitness costs and benefits that are dependent on the type and strength of selection pressure, and could also contribute to changes in plant communities through hitchhiking of unselected traits.

  10. Toxicological study of Wedelia trilobata (Asteraceae) extracts as alternative control strategies for Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Junhirun, P; Pluempanupat, W; Bullangpoti, V

    2012-01-01

    The Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella (L)) is an economically important pest in Thailand and the indiscriminant use of chemical pesticides against this pest has been responsible for environmental hazards. Present research, therefore, is trying to develop alternative strategies by using plant based-products for the control of this pest. Wedelia trilobata (L) Hitchc extracts prepared in hexane, dichloroethane, ethyl acetate and ethanol were used initially against the second instars of P. xylostella by topical application to determine the dose dependent toxicity. The highest yield of the extracts was obtained with EtOH extract followed by hexane, EtOAc and dichloroethane. However, the EtOAc extract exhibited the highest toxicity (24h-LC50 = 442.8 ppm) that became more prominent after 48 h (LC50 = 376.71 ppm). This suggests there was an increase in toxicity with the duration of exposure to the treatment. With the exception of the hexane extract, all other treatments were significantly correlated, which suggests that W. trolobata contains a varied profile of anti-insect allelochemicals that can be exploited in any integrated pest management strategy. The identification of the active ingredients is in progress. PMID:23885442

  11. Herbivore exploits orally secreted bacteria to suppress plant defenses.

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

    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

  12. 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

  13. Herbivore exploits orally secreted bacteria to suppress plant defenses.

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

    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.

  14. Asymmetric competition via induced resistance: specialist herbivores indirectly suppress generalist preference and populations.

    PubMed

    Long, Jeremy D; Hamilton, Rebecca S; Mitchell, Jocelyn L

    2007-05-01

    Species may compete indirectly by altering the traits of a shared resource. For example, herbivore-induced responses in plants may make plants more resistant or susceptible to additional herbivorous insect species. Herbivore-induced plant responses can significantly affect interspecific competition and herbivore population dynamics. These herbivore-herbivore indirect interactions have been overlooked in aquatic ecosystems where previous studies used the same herbivore species to induce changes and to assess the effects of these changes. We asked whether seaweed grazing by one of two herbivorous, congeneric snail species (Littorina obtusata or Littorina littorea) with different feeding strategies and preferences would affect subsequent feeding preferences of three herbivore species (both snails and the isopod Idotea baltica) and population densities of three herbivore species (both snails and a third periwinkle snail, Lacuna vincta). In addition, we measured phlorotannin concentrations to test the hypothesis that these metabolites function as induced defenses in the Phaeophyceae. Snail herbivory induced cue-specific responses in apical tissues of the seaweed Fucus vesiculosus that affected the three herbivore species similarly. When compared to ungrazed controls, direct grazing by Littorina obtusata reduced seaweed palatability by at least 52% for both snail species and the isopod species. In contrast, direct grazing by L. littorea did not decrease seaweed palatability for any herbivore, indicating herbivore-specific responses. Previous grazing by L. obtusata reduced populations of L. littorea on outplanted seaweeds by 46% but had no effect on L. obtusata populations. Phlorotannins, a potential class of inducible chemicals in brown algae, were not more concentrated in grazed seaweed tissues, suggesting that some other trait was responsible for the induced resistance. Our results indicate that marine herbivores may compete via inducible responses in shared seaweeds

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed

    Sobral, Mar; 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.

  18. 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

  19. Macroevolution and the biological diversity of plants and herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Futuyma, Douglas J.; Agrawal, Anurag A.

    2009-01-01

    Terrestrial biodiversity is dominated by plants and the herbivores that consume them, and they are one of the major conduits of energy flow up to higher trophic levels. Here, we address the processes that have generated the spectacular diversity of flowering plants (>300,000 species) and insect herbivores (likely >1 million species). Long-standing macroevolutionary hypotheses have postulated that reciprocal evolution of adaptations and subsequent bursts of speciation have given rise to much of this biodiversity. We critically evaluate various predictions based on this coevolutionary theory. Phylogenetic reconstruction of ancestral states has revealed evidence for escalation in the potency or variety of plant lineages' chemical defenses; however, escalation of defense has been moderated by tradeoffs and alternative strategies (e.g., tolerance or defense by biotic agents). There is still surprisingly scant evidence that novel defense traits reduce herbivory and that such evolutionary novelty spurs diversification. Consistent with the coevolutionary hypothesis, there is some evidence that diversification of herbivores has lagged behind, but has nevertheless been temporally correlated with that of their host-plant clades, indicating colonization and radiation of insects on diversifying plants. However, there is still limited support for the role of host-plant shifts in insect diversification. Finally, a frontier area of research, and a general conclusion of our review, is that community ecology and the long-term evolutionary history of plant and insect diversification are inexorably intertwined. PMID:19815508

  20. Plutella xylostella (L.) infestations at varying temperatures induce the emission of specific volatile blends by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh

    PubMed Central

    Truong, Dieu-Hien; Delory, Benjamin M; Brostaux, Yves; Heuskin, Stéphanie; Delaplace, Pierre; Francis, Frédéric; Lognay, Georges

    2014-01-01

    The effect of combined abiotic and biotic factors on plant volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is poorly understood. This study evaluated the VOC emissions produced by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Col-0 subjected to 3 temperature regimes (17, 22, and 27°C) in the presence and absence of Plutella xylostella larvae over 2 time intervals (0–4 and 4–8 h), in comparison to control plants. The analyses of VOCs emitted by Arabidopsis plants were made by headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). It was found that certain volatile groups (e.g., alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, and terpenes) are induced by both single factors (temperature or larval infestation) and combined factors (temperature and larvae interactions), whereas other volatile groups (e.g., isothiocyanates [ITCs] and nitrile) were specific to the experimental conditions. ITCs (mainly 4-methylpentyl isothiocyanate) were emitted from plants subjected to larval infestation at 17 and 27°C after the 2 time intervals. The proportions of sulfides (mainly dimethyl disulfide) and 4-(methylthio) butanenitrile were significantly higher on herbivore-infested plants at 22°C compared to the other treatments. Overall, our findings indicate that changes in all experimental conditions caused significant changes to the VOC emissions of Arabidopsis plants. Therefore, the interaction between temperature and larval feeding may represent an important factor determining the variability of volatile emissions by plants subjected to multiple simultaneous factors. PMID:25482777

  1. 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...

  2. Associational resistance and associational susceptibility: specialist herbivores show contrasting responses to tree stand diversification.

    PubMed

    Plath, Mirco; Dorn, Silvia; Riedel, Judith; Barrios, Hector; Mody, Karsten

    2012-06-01

    Heterospecific neighbors may reduce damage to a focal plant by lowering specialist herbivore loads (associational resistance hypothesis), or enhance damage by increasing generalist herbivore loads (associational susceptibility hypothesis). We tested the associational effects of tree diversity on herbivory patterns of the tropical focal tree Tabebuia rosea in an experimental plantation setup, which contained tree monocultures and mixed stands. We found higher herbivore damage to T. rosea at higher tree diversity, indicating that T. rosea did not benefit from associational resistance but rather experienced associational susceptibility. The specific consideration of the two dominant insect herbivore species of T. rosea, the specialist chrysomelid Walterianella inscripta and the specialist pyralid Eulepte gastralis, facilitated understanding of the detected damage patterns. Tree diversity exerted opposite effects on tree infestation by the two herbivores. These findings point to resource concentration effects for the chrysomelid beetle (favored by tree monoculture) and to resource dilution effects for the pyralid caterpillar (favored by tree mixture) as underlying mechanisms of herbivore distribution. A strong contribution of the pyralid to overall damage patterns in diversified stands suggests that associational susceptibility may not necessarily be related to higher abundances of generalist herbivores but may also result from specialized herbivores affected by resource dilution effects. Thus, the identity and biology of herbivore species has to be taken into account when attempting to predict damage patterns in forest ecosystems.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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. PMID:27457978

  8. 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

  9. [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

  10. DNA Sequencing Reveals the Midgut Microbiota of Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) and a Possible Relationship with Insecticide Resistance

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Xiaofeng; Zheng, Dandan; Zhong, Huanzi; Qin, Bingcai; Gurr, Geoff M.; Vasseur, Liette; Lin, Hailan; Bai, Jianlin; He, Weiyi; You, Minsheng

    2013-01-01

    Background Insect midgut microbiota is important in host nutrition, development and immune response. Recent studies indicate possible links between insect gut microbiota and resistance to biological and chemical toxins. Studies of this phenomenon and symbionts in general have been hampered by difficulties in culture-based approach. In the present study, DNA sequencing was used to examine the midgut microbiota of diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (L.), a destructive pest that attacks cruciferous crops worldwide. Its ability to develop resistance to many types of synthetic insecticide and even Bacillus thuringiensis toxins makes it an important species to study. Methodology/Principal Findings Bacteria of the DBM larval midgut in a susceptible and two insecticide (chlorpyrifos and fipronil) resistant lines were examined by Illumina sequencing sampled from an insect generation that was not exposed to insecticide. This revealed that more than 97% of the bacteria were from three orders: Enterobacteriales, Vibrionales and Lactobacillales. Both insecticide-resistant lines had more Lactobacillales and the much scarcer taxa Pseudomonadales and Xanthomonadales with fewer Enterobacteriales compared with the susceptible strain. Consistent with this, a second study observed an increase in the proportion of Lactobacillales in the midgut of DBM individuals from a generation treated with insecticides. Conclusions/Significance This is the first report of high-throughput DNA sequencing of the entire microbiota of DBM. It reveals differences related to inter- and intra-generational exposure to insecticides. Differences in the midgut microbiota among susceptible and insecticide-resistant lines are independent of insecticide exposure in the sampled generations. While this is consistent with the hypothesis that Lactobacillales or other scarcer taxa play a role in conferring DBM insecticide resistance, further studies are necessary to rule out other possibilities. Findings

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. How herbivores coopt plant defenses: natural selection, specialization, and sequestration.

    PubMed

    Petschenka, Georg; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2016-04-01

    We review progress in understanding sequestration by herbivorous insects, the use of plant chemical defenses for their own defense. We incorporate sequestration into the framework of plant-insect coevolution by integrating three hierarchical issues: (1) the relationship between dietary specialization and sequestration of plant defenses, (2) the physiological mechanisms involved in sequestration, and (3) how sequestration evolves via interactions between trophic levels. Sequestration is often associated with specialization, but even specialized sequestration is not an evolutionary dead-end. Despite considerable progress in understanding physiological mechanisms, detailed knowledge of how plant toxins cross the insect gut epithelium is still largely lacking. Sequestration is likely a major vehicle for coevolutionary escalation in speciose plant-insect-predator interactions, suggesting that a strictly bitrophic view is untenable. PMID:27436642

  15. Resistance of some cultivated Brassicaceae to infestations by Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Sarfraz, M; Dosdall, L M; Keddie, B A

    2007-02-01

    Selecting insect-resistant plant varieties is a key component of integrated management programs of oligophagous pests such as diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), but rigorous research on important life history parameters of P. xylostella in relation to host plant resistance is rare. We evaluated six conventional brassicaceous species, namely, Brassica napus L. 'Q2', B. rapa L., B. juncea (L.) Czern., B. carinata L., B. oleracea L., and Sinapis alba L., and two herbicide-tolerant cultivars, namely, B. napus 'Liberty' and B. napus 'Conquest' for their resistance against P. xylostella. Brassicaceae species and cultivars varied considerably in their susceptibilities as hosts for P. xylostella. Sinapis alba and B. rapa plants were highly preferred by ovipositing females and trichome density on adaxial and abaxial leaf surfaces had nonsignificant effects on P. xylostella oviposition. Larval survival was similar on the genotypes we tested, but host plants significantly affected larval and pupal developmental time, herbivory, pupal weight, silk weight, adult body weight, forewing area and longevity (without food) of both male and female P. xylostella. Larval and pupal development of females was fastest on B. juncea and S. alba, respectively. Specimens reared on B. napus Liberty and B. oleracea, respectively, produced the lightest female and male pupae. Defoliation by both female and male larvae was highest on B. rapa, whereas least herbivory occurred on S. alba. Females reared on S. alba were heavier and lived longer in the absence of food than their counterparts raised on other tested host plants. Brassica oleracea could not compensate for larval feeding to the level of the other species we evaluated. B. napus Conquest, B. napus Q2, B. carinata, B. rapa, and S. alba produced, respectively, 1.6-, 1.8-, 1.8-, 3.9-, and 5.5-fold heavier root systems when infested than their uninfested counterparts, suggesting that these species were better

  16. Cloning, ligand-binding, and temporal expression of ecdysteroid receptors in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), is a devastating pest of cruciferous crops worldwide, and has developed resistance to a wide range of insecticides, including diacylhydrazine-based ecdysone agonists, a highly selective group of molt-accelerating biopesticides targeting the ecdysone receptors. Result In this study, we cloned and characterized the ecdysone receptors from P. xylostella, including the two isoforms of EcR and a USP. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis showed striking conservations among insect ecdysone receptors, especially between P. xylostella and other lepidopterans. The binding affinity of ecdysteroids to in vitro-translated receptor proteins indicated that PxEcRB isoform bound specifically to ponasterone A, and the binding affinity was enhanced by co-incubation with PxUSP (Kd =3.0±1.7 nM). In contrast, PxEcRA did not bind to ponasterone A, even in the presence of PxUSP. The expression of PxEcRB were consistently higher than that of PxEcRA across each and every developmental stage, while the pattern of PxUSP expression is more or less ubiquitous. Conclusions Target site insensitivity, in which the altered binding of insecticides (ecdysone agonists) to their targets (ecdysone receptors) leads to an adaptive response (resistance), is one of the underlying mechanisms of diacylhydrazine resistance. Given the distinct differences at expression level and the ligand-binding capacity, we hypothesis that PxEcRB is the ecdysone receptor that controls the remodeling events during metamorphosis. More importantly, PxEcRB is the potential target site which is modified in the ecdysone agonist-resistant P. xylostella. PMID:23078528

  17. Screening of high toxic Metarhizium strain against Plutella xylostella and its marking with green fluorescent protein.

    PubMed

    Cui, Qianqian; Zhang, Yi; Zang, Yanchao; Nong, Xiangqun; Wang, Guangjun; Zhang, Zehua

    2014-10-01

    Entomopathogenic fungus is proposed to be one of the best biocontrol agents against the destructive insect pest Plutella xylostella. In this study, we tested the virulence of 11 Metarhizium strain isolates against P. xylostella using a leaf dipping method, and found one strain, named 609, which had displayed the highest pathogenicity. Bioassay results showed that the accumulated corrected mortality rate was 86.7 % on the eighth day after inoculation with a spore concentration 1 × 10(8) conidia/mL, and that the time to 50 % lethality was 5.7-day. The strain was identified as Metarhizium anisopliae var. acridum by internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region sequencing. A green fluorescent protein (GFP) marker containing vector, camben-gfp, was constructed and delivered into strain 609 by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Six positive clones expressing GFP were selected and tested for toxicity against P. xylostella, all of which displayed the same toxicity as the parental wild type strain. The survival rate of transformant T1 was investigated by monitoring GFP levels at 4-day intervals after inoculation into soil. We found that the concentration of Metarhizium spores decreased sharply from 1 × 10(7) conidia/g to 1 × 10(6) conidia/g in the first 5 days after inoculation. The decreasing trend then stabilized and the spore count declined to approximately 1 × 10(4)-10(5) conidia/g after 1 month. The results of this study indicate that the expression of gfp gene in strain 609 does not alter the virulence capability of Metarhizium. This strain will therefore be useful for the control of P. xylostella and as a tool to study molecular biology properties and monitor colonization of M. anisopliae in the field. PMID:25037866

  18. Tissue-specific transcriptome profiling of Plutella xylostella third instar larval midgut.

    PubMed

    Xie, Wen; Lei, Yanyuan; Fu, Wei; Yang, Zhongxia; Zhu, Xun; Guo, Zhaojiang; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Xu, Baoyun; Zhou, Xuguo; Zhang, Youjun

    2012-01-01

    The larval midgut of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, is a dynamic tissue that interfaces with a diverse array of physiological and toxicological processes, including nutrient digestion and allocation, xenobiotic detoxification, innate and adaptive immune response, and pathogen defense. Despite its enormous agricultural importance, the genomic resources for P. xylostella are surprisingly scarce. In this study, a Bt resistant P. xylostella strain was subjected to the in-depth transcriptome analysis to identify genes and gene networks putatively involved in various physiological and toxicological processes in the P. xylostella larval midgut. Using Illumina deep sequencing, we obtained roughly 40 million reads containing approximately 3.6 gigabases of sequence data. De novo assembly generated 63,312 ESTs with an average read length of 416 bp, and approximately half of the P. xylostella sequences (45.4%, 28,768) showed similarity to the non-redundant database in GenBank with a cut-off E-value below 10(-5). Among them, 11,092 unigenes were assigned to one or multiple GO terms and 16,732 unigenes were assigned to 226 specific pathways. In-depth analysis identified genes putatively involved in insecticide resistance, nutrient digestion, and innate immune defense. Besides conventional detoxification enzymes and insecticide targets, novel genes, including 28 chymotrypsins and 53 ABC transporters, have been uncovered in the P. xylostella larval midgut transcriptome; which are potentially linked to the Bt toxicity and resistance. Furthermore, an unexpectedly high number of ESTs, including 46 serpins and 7 lysozymes, were predicted to be involved in the immune defense.As the first tissue-specific transcriptome analysis of P. xylostella, this study sheds light on the molecular understanding of insecticide resistance, especially Bt resistance in an agriculturally important insect pest, and lays the foundation for future functional genomics research. In addition, current

  19. Observing Insects.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Arbel, Ilil

    1991-01-01

    Describes how to observe and study the fascinating world of insects in public parks, backyards, and gardens. Discusses the activities and habits of several common insects. Includes addresses for sources of beneficial insects, seeds, and plants. (nine references) (JJK)

  20. Parasitism overrides herbivore identity allowing hyperparasitoids to locate their parasitoid host using herbivore-induced plant volatiles.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Feng; Broekgaarden, Colette; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Vosman, Ben; Dicke, Marcel; Poelman, Erik H

    2015-06-01

    Foraging success of predators profoundly depends on reliable and detectable cues indicating the presence of their often inconspicuous prey. Carnivorous insects rely on chemical cues to optimize foraging efficiency. Hyperparasitoids that lay their eggs in the larvae or pupae of parasitic wasps may find their parasitoid hosts developing in different herbivores. They can use herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) to locate parasitized caterpillars. Because different herbivore species induce different HIPV emission from plants, hyperparasitoids may have to deal with large variation in volatile information that indicates host presence. In this study, we used an ecogenomics approach to first address whether parasitized caterpillars of two herbivore species (Pieris rapae and P. brassicae) induce similar transcriptional and metabolomic responses in wild Brassica oleracea plants and, second, whether hyperparasitoids Lysibia nana are able to discriminate between these induced plant responses to locate their parasitoid host in different herbivores under both laboratory and field conditions. Our study revealed that both herbivore identity and parasitism affect plant transcriptional and metabolic responses to herbivory. We also found that hyperparasitoids are able to respond to HIPVs released by wild B. oleracea under both laboratory and field conditions. In addition, we observed stronger attraction of hyperparasitoids to HIPVs when plants were infested with parasitized caterpillars. However, hyperparasitoids were equally attracted to plants infested by either herbivore species. Our results indicate that parasitism plays a major role in HIPV-mediated plant-hyperparasitoid interactions. Furthermore, these findings also indicate that plant trait-mediated indirect interaction networks play important roles in community-wide species interactions.

  1. Parasitism overrides herbivore identity allowing hyperparasitoids to locate their parasitoid host using herbivore-induced plant volatiles.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Feng; Broekgaarden, Colette; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Vosman, Ben; Dicke, Marcel; Poelman, Erik H

    2015-06-01

    Foraging success of predators profoundly depends on reliable and detectable cues indicating the presence of their often inconspicuous prey. Carnivorous insects rely on chemical cues to optimize foraging efficiency. Hyperparasitoids that lay their eggs in the larvae or pupae of parasitic wasps may find their parasitoid hosts developing in different herbivores. They can use herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) to locate parasitized caterpillars. Because different herbivore species induce different HIPV emission from plants, hyperparasitoids may have to deal with large variation in volatile information that indicates host presence. In this study, we used an ecogenomics approach to first address whether parasitized caterpillars of two herbivore species (Pieris rapae and P. brassicae) induce similar transcriptional and metabolomic responses in wild Brassica oleracea plants and, second, whether hyperparasitoids Lysibia nana are able to discriminate between these induced plant responses to locate their parasitoid host in different herbivores under both laboratory and field conditions. Our study revealed that both herbivore identity and parasitism affect plant transcriptional and metabolic responses to herbivory. We also found that hyperparasitoids are able to respond to HIPVs released by wild B. oleracea under both laboratory and field conditions. In addition, we observed stronger attraction of hyperparasitoids to HIPVs when plants were infested with parasitized caterpillars. However, hyperparasitoids were equally attracted to plants infested by either herbivore species. Our results indicate that parasitism plays a major role in HIPV-mediated plant-hyperparasitoid interactions. Furthermore, these findings also indicate that plant trait-mediated indirect interaction networks play important roles in community-wide species interactions. PMID:25789566

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  4. 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

  5. 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…

  6. KONAGAbase: a genomic and transcriptomic database for the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, is one of the most harmful insect pests for crucifer crops worldwide. DBM has rapidly evolved high resistance to most conventional insecticides such as pyrethroids, organophosphates, fipronil, spinosad, Bacillus thuringiensis, and diamides. Therefore, it is important to develop genomic and transcriptomic DBM resources for analysis of genes related to insecticide resistance, both to clarify the mechanism of resistance of DBM and to facilitate the development of insecticides with a novel mode of action for more effective and environmentally less harmful insecticide rotation. To contribute to this goal, we developed KONAGAbase, a genomic and transcriptomic database for DBM (KONAGA is the Japanese word for DBM). Description KONAGAbase provides (1) transcriptomic sequences of 37,340 ESTs/mRNAs and 147,370 RNA-seq contigs which were clustered and assembled into 84,570 unigenes (30,695 contigs, 50,548 pseudo singletons, and 3,327 singletons); and (2) genomic sequences of 88,530 WGS contigs with 246,244 degenerate contigs and 106,455 singletons from which 6,310 de novo identified repeat sequences and 34,890 predicted gene-coding sequences were extracted. The unigenes and predicted gene-coding sequences were clustered and 32,800 representative sequences were extracted as a comprehensive putative gene set. These sequences were annotated with BLAST descriptions, Gene Ontology (GO) terms, and Pfam descriptions, respectively. KONAGAbase contains rich graphical user interface (GUI)-based web interfaces for easy and efficient searching, browsing, and downloading sequences and annotation data. Five useful search interfaces consisting of BLAST search, keyword search, BLAST result-based search, GO tree-based search, and genome browser are provided. KONAGAbase is publicly available from our website (http://dbm.dna.affrc.go.jp/px/) through standard web browsers. Conclusions KONAGAbase provides DBM comprehensive transcriptomic

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Positive selection of digestive Cys proteases in herbivorous Coleoptera.

    PubMed

    Vorster, Juan; Rasoolizadeh, Asieh; Goulet, Marie-Claire; Cloutier, Conrad; Sainsbury, Frank; Michaud, Dominique

    2015-10-01

    Positive selection is thought to contribute to the functional diversification of insect-inducible protease inhibitors in plants in response to selective pressures exerted by the digestive proteases of their herbivorous enemies. Here we assessed whether a reciprocal evolutionary process takes place on the insect side, and whether ingestion of a positively selected plant inhibitor may translate into a measurable rebalancing of midgut proteases in vivo. Midgut Cys proteases of herbivorous Coleoptera, including the major pest Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), were first compared using a codon-based evolutionary model to look for the occurrence of hypervariable, positively selected amino acid sites among the tested sequences. Hypervariable sites were found, distributed within -or close to- amino acid regions interacting with Cys-type inhibitors of the plant cystatin protein family. A close examination of L. decemlineata sequences indicated a link between their assignment to protease functional families and amino acid identity at positively selected sites. A function-diversifying role for positive selection was further suggested empirically by in vitro protease assays and a shotgun proteomic analysis of L. decemlineata Cys proteases showing a differential rebalancing of protease functional family complements in larvae fed single variants of a model cystatin mutated at positively selected amino acid sites. These data confirm overall the occurrence of hypervariable, positively selected amino acid sites in herbivorous Coleoptera digestive Cys proteases. They also support the idea of an adaptive role for positive selection, useful to generate functionally diverse proteases in insect herbivores ingesting functionally diverse, rapidly evolving dietary cystatins. PMID:26264818

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Effects of Local Tree Diversity on Herbivore Communities Diminish with Increasing Forest Fragmentation on the Landscape Scale

    PubMed Central

    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

  16. 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

  17. Characterizing Herbivore Resistance Mechanisms: Spittlebugs on Brachiaria spp. as an Example

    PubMed Central

    Parsa, Soroush; Sotelo, Guillermo; Cardona, Cesar

    2011-01-01

    Plants can resist herbivore damage through three broad mechanisms: antixenosis, antibiosis and tolerance1. Antixenosis is the degree to which the plant is avoided when the herbivore is able to select other plants2. Antibiosis is the degree to which the plant affects the fitness of the herbivore feeding on it1.Tolerance is the degree to which the plant can withstand or repair damage caused by the herbivore, without compromising the herbivore's growth and reproduction1. The durability of herbivore resistance in an agricultural setting depends to a great extent on the resistance mechanism favored during crop breeding efforts3. We demonstrate a no-choice experiment designed to estimate the relative contributions of antibiosis and tolerance to spittlebug resistance in Brachiaria spp. Several species of African grasses of the genus Brachiaria are valuable forage and pasture plants in the Neotropics, but they can be severely challenged by several native species of spittlebugs (Hemiptera: Cercopidae)4.To assess their resistance to spittlebugs, plants are vegetatively-propagated by stem cuttings and allowed to grow for approximately one month, allowing the growth of superficial roots on which spittlebugs can feed. At that point, each test plant is individually challenged with six spittlebug eggs near hatching. Infestations are allowed to progress for one month before evaluating plant damage and insect survival. Scoring plant damage provides an estimate of tolerance while scoring insect survival provides an estimate of antibiosis. This protocol has facilitated our plant breeding objective to enhance spittlebug resistance in commercial brachiariagrases5. PMID:21712800

  18. Proteinase inhibitor gene families: strategies for transformation to improve plant defenses against herbivores.

    PubMed

    Ryan, C A

    1989-01-01

    Recent evidence indicates that the presence of serine proteinase inhibitors in plant leaves can reduce predation by insects. Plants can now be transformed with proteinase inhibitor genes with strong promoters to express the inhibitor proteins in relatively high levels at specific times. Inhibitors having variable specificities against digestive proteinases of insects and pathogens can now be assessed for their possible role(s) in natural plant defense and for their potential usefulness in protecting crop plants against herbivores.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Cahenzli, Fabian; Erhardt, Andreas

    2013-04-01

    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.

  1. miRNAs regulated overexpression of ryanodine receptor is involved in chlorantraniliprole resistance in Plutella xylostella (L.)

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiuxia; Guo, Lei; Zhou, Xuguo; Gao, Xiwu; Liang, Pei

    2015-01-01

    The amino acid mutations in ryanodine receptor (RyR) and elevated activity of detoxification enzymes have been associated with the diamide insecticide resistance in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.). The up-regulation of P. xylostella RyR mRNA (PxRyR) expression has also been reported in field populations of different graphical origin. However, whether the up-regulation of PxRyR is involved in diamide resistance remains unknown. In this paper, 2.28- to 4.14-fold higher expression of PxRyR was detected in five field collected resistant populations, compared to that in a susceptible population. The expression of PxRyR was up-regulated 5.0- and 7.2-fold, respectively, after P. xylostella was treated with LC50 and LC75 of chlorantraniliprole for 12 h. Suppression of PxRyR using RNA interference restored the toxicity of chlorantraniliprole against the fourth instar larvae from the resistant population. More importantly, the expression of PxRyR is regulated by two miRNAs, miR-7a and miR-8519. These findings provide an empirical evidence of the involvement of miRNAs in the regulation of insecticide resistance, and shed light on the novel targets for the sustainable management of this devastating insect pest. PMID:26370154

  2. Large-scale detection and analysis of adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing during development in Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    He, Tao; Lei, Wenjie; Ge, Chang; Du, Peng; Wang, Li; Li, Fei

    2015-06-01

    Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing is site-specific modification of RNAs that increases the diversity of the transcriptome and proteome. Most insects undergo complete metamorphosis, including four life cycle stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Many previous studies have confirmed that RNA-editing events occur in a development-specific manner; in other words, RNA-editing levels change during metamorphosis. Here, we describe an effort to identify the developmental specificity of RNA-editing events using a large-scale computational analysis of RNA-seq data derived from four developmental stages of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. One thousand one hundred and eighty-seven A-to-I RNA-editing sites were predicted to be developmental stage specific (false-discovery rate <0.01) and 1,094 of these sites were located in protein-coding regions. Editing of 152 sites resulted in an altered amino acid residue. A putative adult-specific A-to-I RNA-editing site was verified by comparing cDNA sequences with its corresponding genomic locus at different stages of the P. xylostella life cycle. Our findings will help elucidate the role of A-to-I RNA editing in the regulation of metamorphosis. Further studies detailing changes in the extent of editing are needed to establish how as yet unknown regulatory factors are involved in the editing mechanism and what biological functions' editing serves. PMID:25492222

  3. 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. PMID:27306978

  4. New records of natural enemies of Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) in Pernambuco, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Silva-Torres, Christian S A; Pontes, Itillio V A F; Torres, Jorge B; Barros, Reginaldo

    2010-01-01

    We report the occurrence of natural enemies of Plutella xylostela (L.) in organically farmed kale in Pernambuco, Brazil. Seven natural enemies were observed parasitizing or preying on larvae and pupae of P. xylostella--three parasitoids: Cotesia plutellae Kurdjumov (Hym.: Braconidae), Conura pseudofulvovariegata (Becker) (Hym.: Chalcididae) and Tetrastichus howardi (Olliff) (Hym.: Eulophidae), and four predators: Cheiracanthium inclusum (Hentz) (Araneae: Miturgidae), Pheidole sp.Westwood (Hym.: Formicidae), nymphs and adults of Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Hem.: Pentatomidae), and one unidentified species of solitary wasp. Beyond recording these natural enemies, data on predation of P. xylostella larvae in the field and laboratory by C. inclusum are presented.

  5. Urban Land Use Decouples Plant-Herbivore-Parasitoid Interactions at Multiple Spatial Scales

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Amanda E.; Forbes, Andrew A.

    2014-01-01

    Intense urban and agricultural development alters habitats, increases fragmentation, and may decouple trophic interactions if plants or animals cannot disperse to needed resources. Specialist insects represent a substantial proportion of global biodiversity and their fidelity to discrete microhabitats provides a powerful framework for investigating organismal responses to human land use. We sampled site occupancy and densities for two plant-herbivore-parasitoid systems from 250 sites across a 360 km2 urban/agricultural landscape to ask whether and how human development decouples interactions between trophic levels. We compared patterns of site occupancy, host plant density, herbivory and parasitism rates of insects at two trophic levels with respect to landcover at multiple spatial scales. Geospatial analyses were used to identify landcover characters predictive of insect distributions. We found that herbivorous insect densities were decoupled from host tree densities in urban landcover types at several spatial scales. This effect was amplified for the third trophic level in one of the two insect systems: despite being abundant regionally, a parasitoid species was absent from all urban/suburban landcover even where its herbivore host was common. Our results indicate that human land use patterns limit distributions of specialist insects. Dispersal constraints associated with urban built development are specifically implicated as a limiting factor. PMID:25019962

  6. Insects as alternative hosts for phytopathogenic bacteria.

    PubMed

    Nadarasah, Geetanchaly; Stavrinides, John

    2011-05-01

    Phytopathogens have evolved specialized pathogenicity determinants that enable them to colonize their specific plant hosts and cause disease, but their intimate associations with plants also predispose them to frequent encounters with herbivorous insects, providing these phytopathogens with ample opportunity to colonize and eventually evolve alternative associations with insects. Decades of research have revealed that these associations have resulted in the formation of bacterial-vector relationships, in which the insect mediates dissemination of the plant pathogen. Emerging research, however, has highlighted the ability of plant pathogenic bacteria to use insects as alternative hosts, exploiting them as they would their primary plant host. The identification of specific bacterial genetic determinants that mediate the interaction between bacterium and insect suggests that these interactions are not incidental, but have likely arisen following the repeated association of microorganisms with particular insects over evolutionary time. This review will address the biology and ecology of phytopathogenic bacteria that interact with insects, including the traditional role of insects as vectors, as well as the newly emerging paradigm of insects serving as alternative primary hosts. Also discussed is one case where an insect serves as both host and vector, which may represent a transitionary stage in the evolution of insect-phytopathogen associations.

  7. Insects as alternative hosts for phytopathogenic bacteria.

    PubMed

    Nadarasah, Geetanchaly; Stavrinides, John

    2011-05-01

    Phytopathogens have evolved specialized pathogenicity determinants that enable them to colonize their specific plant hosts and cause disease, but their intimate associations with plants also predispose them to frequent encounters with herbivorous insects, providing these phytopathogens with ample opportunity to colonize and eventually evolve alternative associations with insects. Decades of research have revealed that these associations have resulted in the formation of bacterial-vector relationships, in which the insect mediates dissemination of the plant pathogen. Emerging research, however, has highlighted the ability of plant pathogenic bacteria to use insects as alternative hosts, exploiting them as they would their primary plant host. The identification of specific bacterial genetic determinants that mediate the interaction between bacterium and insect suggests that these interactions are not incidental, but have likely arisen following the repeated association of microorganisms with particular insects over evolutionary time. This review will address the biology and ecology of phytopathogenic bacteria that interact with insects, including the traditional role of insects as vectors, as well as the newly emerging paradigm of insects serving as alternative primary hosts. Also discussed is one case where an insect serves as both host and vector, which may represent a transitionary stage in the evolution of insect-phytopathogen associations. PMID:21251027

  8. Tomato spotted wilt virus infection reduces the fitness of a nonvector herbivore on pepper.

    PubMed

    Pan, Huipeng; Chen, Gong; Li, Fei; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Xie, Wen; Liu, Baiming; Xu, Baoyun; Zhang, Youjun

    2013-04-01

    Plant pathogens and insect herbivores often share hosts under natural conditions. Hence, pathogen-induced changes in a host plant can affect the herbivore and vice versa. Even though plant viruses are ubiquitous in the field, little is known about plant-mediated interactions between viruses and nonvector herbivores. Here we tested whether the performance of the sweet potato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) biotype Q, was altered when raised on pepper infected with Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). TSWV infection reduced B. tabaci fecundity and longevity and increased B. tabaci developmental time but did not affect the insect's survival or female body lengths. Our results demonstrate that TSWV infection can decrease the fitness of B. tabaci biotype Q on pepper plants.

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. [Evaluation of plant protectants against pest insects].

    PubMed

    Pang, X; Zhang, M; Hou, Y; Jiao, Y; Cen, Y

    2000-02-01

    An interference index of population control (IIPC) was constructed for investigating the complex effects of plant protectants, including the effects of repelling insect pests away from the plant, deterring the egg laying of adults and the continuation of feeding, and causing death by toxicity. At the same time, indicated by IIPC, the alcohol extracts of some common plants, such as Eucalytus rubusta, Wedelia chinensis etc. and the neem oil gave very good results to protect the plant against Plutella xylostella. The D-C-Tron NR Petroleum Spray Oil (CALTEX) also gave an excellent effect to protect citrus against red mite. All the experiments show the important role of the repellent effect on the pests. PMID:11766564

  19. Characterization of plant growth-promoting traits of bacteria isolated from larval guts of diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (lepidoptera: plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Indiragandhi, P; Anandham, R; Madhaiyan, M; Sa, T M

    2008-04-01

    Eight bacterial isolates from the larval guts of Diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella) were tested for their plant growth-promoting (PGP) traits and effects on early plant growth. All of the strains tested positive for nitrogen fixation and indole 3-acetic acid (IAA) and salicylic acid production but negative for hydrogen cyanide and pectinase production. In addition, five of the isolates exhibited significant levels of tricalcium phosphate and zinc oxide solubilization; six isolates were able to oxidize sulfur in growth media; and four isolates tested positive for chitinase and beta-1,3-glucanase activities. Based on their IAA production, six strains including four that were 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase positive and two that were ACC deaminase negative were tested for PGP activity on the early growth of canola and tomato seeds under gnotobiotic conditions. Acinetobacter sp. PSGB04 significantly increased root length (41%), seedling vigor, and dry biomass (30%) of the canola test plants, whereas Pseudomonas sp. PRGB06 inhibited the mycelial growth of Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum coccodes, C. gleospoiroides, Rhizoctonia solani, and Sclerotia sclerotiorum under in vitro conditions. A significant increase, greater than that of the control, was also noted for growth parameters of the tomato test plants when the seeds were treated with PRGB06. Therefore, the results of the present study suggest that bacteria associated with insect larval guts possess PGP traits and positively influence plant growth. Therefore, insect gut bacteria as effective PGP agents represent an unexplored niche and may broaden the spectrum of beneficial bacteria available for crop production. PMID:18172718

  20. Characterization of plant growth-promoting traits of bacteria isolated from larval guts of diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (lepidoptera: plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Indiragandhi, P; Anandham, R; Madhaiyan, M; Sa, T M

    2008-04-01

    Eight bacterial isolates from the larval guts of Diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella) were tested for their plant growth-promoting (PGP) traits and effects on early plant growth. All of the strains tested positive for nitrogen fixation and indole 3-acetic acid (IAA) and salicylic acid production but negative for hydrogen cyanide and pectinase production. In addition, five of the isolates exhibited significant levels of tricalcium phosphate and zinc oxide solubilization; six isolates were able to oxidize sulfur in growth media; and four isolates tested positive for chitinase and beta-1,3-glucanase activities. Based on their IAA production, six strains including four that were 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase positive and two that were ACC deaminase negative were tested for PGP activity on the early growth of canola and tomato seeds under gnotobiotic conditions. Acinetobacter sp. PSGB04 significantly increased root length (41%), seedling vigor, and dry biomass (30%) of the canola test plants, whereas Pseudomonas sp. PRGB06 inhibited the mycelial growth of Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum coccodes, C. gleospoiroides, Rhizoctonia solani, and Sclerotia sclerotiorum under in vitro conditions. A significant increase, greater than that of the control, was also noted for growth parameters of the tomato test plants when the seeds were treated with PRGB06. Therefore, the results of the present study suggest that bacteria associated with insect larval guts possess PGP traits and positively influence plant growth. Therefore, insect gut bacteria as effective PGP agents represent an unexplored niche and may broaden the spectrum of beneficial bacteria available for crop production.

  1. Transient transcription of a putative RNase containing BEN domain encoded in Cotesia plutellae bracovirus induces an immunosuppression of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Park, Bokri; Kim, Yonggyun

    2010-10-01

    A polydnavirus, Cotesia plutellae bracovirus (CpBV), possesses segmented genome located on chromosome(s) of an endoparasitoid wasp, C. plutellae. An episomal viral segment (CpBV-S3) consists of 11,017 bp and encodes two putative open reading frames (ORFs). ORF301 shows amino acid sequence homologies (28-50%) with RNase T2s of various organisms. It also contains BEN domain in C-terminal region. ORF302 is a hypothetical gene, which is also found in other bracoviruses. Both genes were expressed in larvae of Plutella xylostella parasitized by C. plutellae. Their expressions were detected in all tested tissues including hemocyte, fat body, gut, and epidermis. To analyze effects of these genes on the parasitism, the segment of CpBV-S3 was injected to nonparasitized larvae of P. xylostella, in which the two genes were expressed at least for 4 days post-injection. The larvae injected with CpBV-S3 exhibited significant immunosuppression, such as reduction in total hemocyte population and impairment in nodule formation behavior of hemocytes in response to bacterial challenge. Each gene expression in the treated larvae was inhibited by co-injecting respective double strand RNA (dsRNA) specific to each ORF. Injection of dsRNA of ORF301 could rescue the immunosuppression of the viral segment-treated larvae, while dsRNA specific to ORF302 did not. These results suggest that a putative RNase fused with a BEN domain encoded in CpBV-S3 plays a parasitic role in inducing host immunosuppression in the parasitism.

  2. Diversity protects plant communities against generalist molluscan herbivores.

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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. PMID:27147449

  6. 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

  7. Convergence of trophic interaction strengths in grassland food webs through metabolic scaling of herbivore biomass.

    PubMed

    Schmitz, Oswald J; Price, Jessica R

    2011-11-01

    1. Food web theory hypothesizes that trophic interaction strengths of consumers should vary with consumer metabolic body mass (mass(0·75) ) rather than simply with consumer body mass (mass(1·0) ) owing to constraints on consumption imposed by metabolic demand for and metabolic capacity to process nutrients and energy. Accordingly, species with similar metabolic body masses should have similar trophic interaction strengths. 2. We experimentally tested this hypothesis by assembling food webs comprised of species of arthropod predators, small sap-feeding and large leaf-chewing insect herbivores and herbaceous plants in a New England, USA meadow grassland. The experiment comprised of a density-matching treatment where herbivore species were stocked into field mesocosms at equal densities to quantify baseline species identity and metabolic body mass effects. The experiment also comprised of a metabolic biomass-matching treatment where smaller sap-feeding herbivore (SH) species were stocked into mesocosms such that the product of their density and metabolic body mass (metabolic biomass) was equal to the large herbivore (LH) species. We compared the magnitude of the direct effects of herbivore species on plants in the different treatments. We also compared the magnitude of indirect effects between predators and plants mediated by herbivores in the different treatments. 3. Consistent with the hypothesis, we found that increasing metabolic biomass translated into a 9-14-fold increase in magnitude of herbivore direct effects and up to a fivefold increase in indirect effects on plants. Moreover, metabolic biomass matching caused interaction strengths among herbivore species to converge. This result came about through increases in the herbivore mean effects as well as decreases in variation in effects among treatment replicates as herbivore metabolic biomass increased. 4. We found, however, that herbivore feeding mode rather than herbivore metabolic biomass explained

  8. 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.

  9. Plant genotypic diversity increases population size of a herbivorous insect

    PubMed Central

    Utsumi, Shunsuke; Ando, Yoshino; Craig, Timothy P.; Ohgushi, Takayuki

    2011-01-01

    It is critical to incorporate the process of population dynamics into community genetics studies to identify the mechanisms of the linkage between host plant genetics and associated communities. We studied the effects of plant genotypic diversity of tall goldenrod Solidago altissima on the population dynamics of the aphid Uroleucon nigrotuberculatum. We found genotypic variation in plant resistance to the aphid in our experiments. To determine the impact of plant genotypic diversity on aphid population dynamics, we compared aphid densities under conditions of three treatments: single-genotype plots, mixed-genotype plots and mixed-genotype-with-cages plots. In the latter treatment plants were individually caged to prevent natural enemy attack and aphid movement among plants. The synergistic effects of genotypes on population size were demonstrated by the greater aphid population size in the mixed-genotype treatment than expected from additive effects alone. Two non-exclusive hypotheses are proposed to explain this pattern. First, there is a source–sink relationship among plant genotypes: aphids move from plant genotypes where their reproduction is high to genotypes where their reproduction is low. Second, natural enemy mortality is reduced in mixed plots in a matrix of diverse plant genotypes. PMID:21378084

  10. Nickel hyperaccumulation as an elemental defense of Streptanthus polygaloides (Brassicaceae): influence of herbivore feeding mode.

    PubMed

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

    2005-11-01

    No study of a single nickel (Ni) hyperaccumulator species has investigated the impact of hyperaccumulation on herbivores representing a variety of feeding modes. Streptanthus polygaloides plants were grown on high- or low-Ni soils and a series of no-choice and choice feeding experiments was conducted using eight arthropod herbivores. Herbivores used were two leaf-chewing folivores (the grasshopper Melanoplus femurrubrum and the lepidopteran Evergestis rimosalis), a dipteran rhizovore (the cabbage maggot Delia radicum), a xylem-feeder (the spittlebug Philaenus spumarius), two phloem-feeders (the aphid, Lipaphis erysimi and the spidermite Trialeurodes vaporariorum) and two cell-disruptors (the bug Lygus lineolaris and the whitefly Tetranychus urticae). Hyperaccumulated Ni significantly decreased survival of the leaf-chewers and rhizovore, and significantly reduced population growth of the whitefly cell-disruptor. However, vascular tissue-feeding insects were unaffected by hyperaccumulated Ni, as was the bug cell-disruptor. We conclude that Ni can defend against tissue-chewing herbivores but is ineffective against vascular tissue-feeding herbivores. The effects of Ni on cell-disruptors varies, as a result of either variation of insect Ni sensitivity or the location of Ni in S. polygaloides cells and tissues.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:27242374

  13. 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.

  14. Genetic Diversity Increases Insect Herbivory on Oak Saplings

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:22937168

  15. 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.

  16. Jasmonic acid-induced volatiles of Brassica oleracea attract parasitoids: effects of time and dose, and comparison with induction by herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Bruinsma, Maaike; Posthumus, Maarten A.; Mumm, Roland; Mueller, Martin J.; van Loon, Joop J. A.; Dicke, Marcel

    2009-01-01

    Caterpillar feeding induces direct and indirect defences in brassicaceous plants. This study focused on the role of the octadecanoid pathway in induced indirect defence in Brassica oleracea. The effect of induction by exogenous application of jasmonic acid (JA) on the responses of Brussels sprouts plants and on host-location behaviour of associated parasitoid wasps was studied. Feeding by the biting–chewing herbivores Pieris rapae and Plutella xylostella resulted in significantly increased endogenous levels of JA, a central component in the octadecanoid signalling pathway that mediates induced plant defence. The levels of the intermediate 12-oxophyto-dienoic acid (OPDA) were significantly induced only after P. rapae feeding. Three species of parasitoid wasps, Cotesia glomerata, C. rubecula, and Diadegma semiclausum, differing in host range and host specificity, were tested for their behavioural responses to volatiles from herbivore-induced, JA-induced, and non-induced plants. All three species were attracted to volatiles from JA-induced plants compared with control plants; however, they preferred volatiles from herbivore-induced plants over volatiles from JA-induced plants. Attraction of C. glomerata depended on both timing and dose of JA application. JA-induced plants produced larger quantities of volatiles than herbivore-induced and control plants, indicating that not only quantity, but also quality of the volatile blend is important in the host-location behaviour of the wasps. PMID:19451186

  17. 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. PMID:25078062

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:27545732

  1. Attraction of egg-killing parasitoids toward induced plant volatiles in a multi-herbivore context.

    PubMed

    Cusumano, Antonino; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Colazza, Stefano; Dicke, Marcel; Fatouros, Nina E

    2015-09-01

    In response to insect herbivory, plants emit volatile organic compounds which may act as indirect plant defenses by attracting natural enemies of the attacking herbivore. In nature, plants are often attacked by multiple herbivores, but the majority of studies which have investigated indirect plant defenses to date have focused on the recruitment of different parasitoid species in a single-herbivore context. Here, we report our investigation on the attraction of egg parasitoids of lepidopteran hosts (Trichogramma brassicae and T. evanescens) toward plant volatiles induced by different insect herbivores in olfactometer bioassays. We used a system consisting of a native crucifer, Brassica nigra, two naturally associated herbivores [the butterfly Pieris brassicae (eggs and caterpillars) and the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae] and an alien invasive herbivore (eggs and caterpillars of the moth Spodoptera exigua). We found that Trichogramma wasps were attracted by volatiles induced in the plants by P. brassicae eggs, but not by those induced in the plants by S. exigua eggs, indicating the specificity of the plant responses toward lepidopteran herbivores. The results of the chemical analysis revealed significant differences between the volatile blends emitted by plants in response to attack by P. brassicae and S. exigua eggs which were in agreement with the behavioural observations. We investigated the attraction of Trichogramma wasps toward P. brassicae egg-induced volatiles in plants simultaneously attacked by larvae and nymphs of different non-hosts. The two chewing caterpillars P. brassicae and S. exigua, but not the phloem-feeding aphid B. brassicae, can disrupt the attraction of Trichogramma species toward P. brassicae egg-induced volatiles. Indirect plant defenses are discussed in the context of multiple herbivory by evaluating the importance of origin, dietary specialization and feeding guild of different attackers on the recruitment of egg-killing parasitoids. PMID

  2. Attraction of egg-killing parasitoids toward induced plant volatiles in a multi-herbivore context.

    PubMed

    Cusumano, Antonino; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Colazza, Stefano; Dicke, Marcel; Fatouros, Nina E

    2015-09-01

    In response to insect herbivory, plants emit volatile organic compounds which may act as indirect plant defenses by attracting natural enemies of the attacking herbivore. In nature, plants are often attacked by multiple herbivores, but the majority of studies which have investigated indirect plant defenses to date have focused on the recruitment of different parasitoid species in a single-herbivore context. Here, we report our investigation on the attraction of egg parasitoids of lepidopteran hosts (Trichogramma brassicae and T. evanescens) toward plant volatiles induced by different insect herbivores in olfactometer bioassays. We used a system consisting of a native crucifer, Brassica nigra, two naturally associated herbivores [the butterfly Pieris brassicae (eggs and caterpillars) and the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae] and an alien invasive herbivore (eggs and caterpillars of the moth Spodoptera exigua). We found that Trichogramma wasps were attracted by volatiles induced in the plants by P. brassicae eggs, but not by those induced in the plants by S. exigua eggs, indicating the specificity of the plant responses toward lepidopteran herbivores. The results of the chemical analysis revealed significant differences between the volatile blends emitted by plants in response to attack by P. brassicae and S. exigua eggs which were in agreement with the behavioural observations. We investigated the attraction of Trichogramma wasps toward P. brassicae egg-induced volatiles in plants simultaneously attacked by larvae and nymphs of different non-hosts. The two chewing caterpillars P. brassicae and S. exigua, but not the phloem-feeding aphid B. brassicae, can disrupt the attraction of Trichogramma species toward P. brassicae egg-induced volatiles. Indirect plant defenses are discussed in the context of multiple herbivory by evaluating the importance of origin, dietary specialization and feeding guild of different attackers on the recruitment of egg-killing parasitoids.

  3. 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

  4. Inter-varietal interactions among plants in genotypically diverse mixtures tend to decrease herbivore performance.

    PubMed

    Grettenberger, Ian M; Tooker, John F

    2016-09-01

    Much research has explored the effects of plant species diversity on herbivore populations, but far less has considered effects of plant genotypic diversity, or how abiotic stressors, like drought, can modify effects. Mechanisms by which plant genotypic diversity affects herbivore populations remain largely unresolved. We used greenhouse studies with a model system of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi L.) to determine whether the genotypic diversity of a plant's neighborhood influences performance and fitness of herbivores on a focal plant and if drought changes the influence of neighborhood diversity. Taken across all varieties we tested, plant-plant interactions in diverse neighborhoods reduced aphid performance and generated associational resistance, although effects on aphids depended on variety identity. In diverse mixtures, drought stress greatly diminished the genotypic diversity-driven reduction in aphid performance. Neighborhood diversity influenced mother aphid size, and appeared to partially explain how plant-plant interactions reduced the number of offspring produced in mixtures. Plant size did not mediate effects on aphid performance, although neighborhood diversity reduced plant mass across varieties and watering treatments. Our results suggest inter-varietal interactions in genotypic mixtures can affect herbivore performance in the absence of herbivore movement and that abiotic stress may diminish any effects. Accounting for how neighborhood diversity influences resistance of an individual plant to herbivores will help aid development of mixtures of varieties for managing insect pests and clarify the role of plant genotypic diversity in ecosystems.

  5. 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.

  6. Inter-varietal interactions among plants in genotypically diverse mixtures tend to decrease herbivore performance.

    PubMed

    Grettenberger, Ian M; Tooker, John F

    2016-09-01

    Much research has explored the effects of plant species diversity on herbivore populations, but far less has considered effects of plant genotypic diversity, or how abiotic stressors, like drought, can modify effects. Mechanisms by which plant genotypic diversity affects herbivore populations remain largely unresolved. We used greenhouse studies with a model system of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi L.) to determine whether the genotypic diversity of a plant's neighborhood influences performance and fitness of herbivores on a focal plant and if drought changes the influence of neighborhood diversity. Taken across all varieties we tested, plant-plant interactions in diverse neighborhoods reduced aphid performance and generated associational resistance, although effects on aphids depended on variety identity. In diverse mixtures, drought stress greatly diminished the genotypic diversity-driven reduction in aphid performance. Neighborhood diversity influenced mother aphid size, and appeared to partially explain how plant-plant interactions reduced the number of offspring produced in mixtures. Plant size did not mediate effects on aphid performance, although neighborhood diversity reduced plant mass across varieties and watering treatments. Our results suggest inter-varietal interactions in genotypic mixtures can affect herbivore performance in the absence of herbivore movement and that abiotic stress may diminish any effects. Accounting for how neighborhood diversity influences resistance of an individual plant to herbivores will help aid development of mixtures of varieties for managing insect pests and clarify the role of plant genotypic diversity in ecosystems. PMID:27170329

  7. Influences of Plant Traits on Immune Responses of Specialist and Generalist Herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Lampert, Evan

    2012-01-01

    Specialist and generalist insect herbivore species often differ in how they respond to host plant traits, particularly defensive traits, and these responses can include weakened or strengthened immune responses to pathogens and parasites. Accurate methods to measure immune response in the presence and absence of pathogens and parasites are necessary to determine whether susceptibility to these natural enemies is reduced or increased by host plant traits. Plant chemical traits are particularly important in that host plant metabolites may function as antioxidants beneficial to the immune response, or interfere with the immune response of both specialist and generalist herbivores. Specialist herbivores that are adapted to process and sometimes accumulate specific plant compounds may experience high metabolic demands that may decrease immune response, whereas the metabolic demands of generalist species differ due to more broad-substrate enzyme systems. However, the direct deleterious effects of plant compounds on generalist herbivores may weaken their immune responses. Further research in this area is important given that the ecological relevance of plant traits to herbivore immune responses is equally important in natural systems and agroecosystems, due to potential incompatibility of some host plant species and cultivars with biological control agents of herbivorous pests. PMID:26466545

  8. Identification and characterization of NADPH-dependent cytochrome P450 reductase gene and cytochrome b₅ gene from Plutella xylostella: possible involvement in resistance to beta-cypermethrin.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xi'en; Zhang, Yalin

    2015-03-10

    NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) and cytochrome b5 (b5) are essential for cytochrome P450 mediated biological reactions. CPR and b5 in several insects have been found to be associated with insecticide resistance. However, CPR and b5 in the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, are not characterized and their roles remain undefined. A full-length cDNA of CPR encoding 678 amino acids and a full-length cDNA of b5 encoding 127 amino acids were cloned from DBM. Their deduced amino acid sequences shared high identities with those of other insects and showed characteristics of classical CPRs and b5s, respectively. The mRNAs of both genes were detectable in all developmental stages with the highest expression levels occurring in the 4th instar larvae. Tissue-specific expression analysis showed that their transcripts were most abundant in gut. Transcripts of CPR and b5 in the beta-cypermethrin resistant DBM strain were 13.2- and 2.84-fold higher than those in the beta-cypermethrin susceptible strain, respectively. The expression levels of CPR and b5 were enhanced by beta-cypermethrin at the concentration of 12 mg L(-1) (~LC10). The results indicate that CPR and b5 may play essential roles in the P450 mediated resistance of DBM to beta-cypermethrin or even other insecticides.

  9. The compatibility of a nucleopolyhedrosis virus control with resistance management for Bacillus thuringiensis: co-infection and cross-resistance studies with the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

    PubMed

    Raymond, B; Sayyed, A H; Wright, D J

    2006-10-01

    The use of genetically modified crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins can lead to the reduction in application of broad-spectrum pesticides and an increased opportunity for supplementary biological control. Bt microbial sprays are also used by organic growers or as part of integrated pest management programs that rely on the use of natural enemies. In both applications the evolution of resistance to Bt toxins is a potential problem. Natural enemies (pathogens or insects) acting in combination with toxins can accelerate or decelerate the evolution of resistance to Bt. In the present study we investigated whether the use of a nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) could potentially affect the evolution of resistance to the Bt toxin Cry1Ac in Plutella xylostella. At low toxin doses there was evidence for antagonistic interactions between AcMNPV and Cry1Ac resistant and susceptible insects. However, this antagonism was much stronger and more widespread for susceptible larvae; interactions were generally not distinguishable from additive for resistant larvae. Selection for resistance to Cry1Ac in two populations of P. xylostella with differing resistance mechanisms did not produce any correlated changes in resistance to AcMNPV. Stronger antagonistic interactions between Bt and AcMNPV on susceptible rather than resistant larvae can decrease the relative fitness between Bt-resistant and susceptible larvae. These interactions and the lack of cross-resistance between virus and toxin suggest that the use of NPV is compatible with resistance management to Bt products.

  10. 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.

  11. 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…

  12. Incredible Insects.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braus, Judy, Ed.

    1989-01-01

    Ranger Rick's NatureScope is a creative education series dedicated to inspiring in children an understanding and appreciation of the natural world while developing the skills they will need to make responsible decisions about the environment. Contents are organized into the following sections: (1) "What Makes an Insect an Insect?," including…

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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. PMID:26731567

  16. How generalist herbivores exploit belowground plant diversity in temperate grasslands.

    PubMed

    Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Schallhart, Nikolaus; Mitterrutzner, Evi; Steiner, Eva-Maria; Juen, Anita; Traugott, Michael

    2014-08-01

    Belowground herbivores impact plant performance, thereby inducing changes in plant community composition, which potentially leads to cascading effects onto higher trophic levels and ecosystem processes and productivity. Among soil-living insects, external root-chewing generalist herbivores have the strongest impact on plants. However, the lack of knowledge on their feeding behaviour under field conditions considerably hampers achieving a comprehensive understanding of how they affect plant communities. Here, we address this gap of knowledge by investigating the feeding behaviour of Agriotes click beetle larvae, which are common generalist external root-chewers in temperate grassland soils. Utilizing diagnostic multiplex PCR to assess the larval diet, we examined the seasonal patterns in feeding activity, putative preferences for specific plant taxa, and whether species identity and larval instar affect food choices of the herbivores. Contrary to our hypothesis, most of the larvae were feeding-active throughout the entire vegetation period, indicating that the grassland plants are subjected to constant belowground feeding pressure. Feeding was selective, with members of Plantaginaceae and Asteraceae being preferred; Apiaceae were avoided. Poaceae, although assumed to be most preferred, had an intermediate position. The food preferences exhibited seasonal changes, indicating a fluctuation in plant traits important for wireworm feeding choice. Species- and instar-specific differences in dietary choice of the Agriotes larvae were small, suggesting that species and larval instars occupy the same trophic niche. According to the current findings, the food choice of these larvae is primarily driven by plant identity, exhibiting seasonal changes. This needs to be considered when analysing soil herbivore-plant interactions. PMID:24188592

  17. How generalist herbivores exploit belowground plant diversity in temperate grasslands.

    PubMed

    Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Schallhart, Nikolaus; Mitterrutzner, Evi; Steiner, Eva-Maria; Juen, Anita; Traugott, Michael

    2014-08-01

    Belowground herbivores impact plant performance, thereby inducing changes in plant community composition, which potentially leads to cascading effects onto higher trophic levels and ecosystem processes and productivity. Among soil-living insects, external root-chewing generalist herbivores have the strongest impact on plants. However, the lack of knowledge on their feeding behaviour under field conditions considerably hampers achieving a comprehensive understanding of how they affect plant communities. Here, we address this gap of knowledge by investigating the feeding behaviour of Agriotes click beetle larvae, which are common generalist external root-chewers in temperate grassland soils. Utilizing diagnostic multiplex PCR to assess the larval diet, we examined the seasonal patterns in feeding activity, putative preferences for specific plant taxa, and whether species identity and larval instar affect food choices of the herbivores. Contrary to our hypothesis, most of the larvae were feeding-active throughout the entire vegetation period, indicating that the grassland plants are subjected to constant belowground feeding pressure. Feeding was selective, with members of Plantaginaceae and Asteraceae being preferred; Apiaceae were avoided. Poaceae, although assumed to be most preferred, had an intermediate position. The food preferences exhibited seasonal changes, indicating a fluctuation in plant traits important for wireworm feeding choice. Species- and instar-specific differences in dietary choice of the Agriotes larvae were small, suggesting that species and larval instars occupy the same trophic niche. According to the current findings, the food choice of these larvae is primarily driven by plant identity, exhibiting seasonal changes. This needs to be considered when analysing soil herbivore-plant interactions.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Herbivore and Fungal Pathogen Exclusion Affects the Seed Production of Four Common Grassland Species

    PubMed Central

    Dickson, Timothy L.; Mitchell, Charles E.

    2010-01-01

    Insect herbivores and fungal pathogens can independently affect plant fitness, and may have interactive effects. However, few studies have experimentally quantified the joint effects of insects and fungal pathogens on seed production in non-agricultural populations. We examined the factorial effects of insect herbivore exclusion (via insecticide) and fungal pathogen exclusion (via fungicide) on the population-level seed production of four common graminoid species (Andropogon gerardii, Schizachyrium scoparium, Poa pratensis, and Carex siccata) over two growing seasons in Minnesota, USA. We detected no interactive effects of herbivores and pathogens on seed production. However, the seed production of all four species was affected by either insecticide or fungicide in at least one year of the study. Insecticide consistently doubled the seed production of the historically most common species in the North American tallgrass prairie, A. gerardii (big bluestem). This is the first report of insect removal increasing seed production in this species. Insecticide increased A. gerardii number of seeds per seed head in one year, and mass per seed in both years, suggesting that consumption of flowers and seed embryos contributed to the effect on seed production. One of the primary insect species consuming A. gerardii flowers and seed embryos was likely the Cecidomyiid midge, Contarinia wattsi. Effects on all other plant species varied among years. Herbivores and pathogens likely reduce the dispersal and colonization ability of plants when they reduce seed output. Therefore, impacts on seed production of competitive dominant species may help to explain their relatively poor colonization abilities. Reduced seed output by dominant graminoids may thereby promote coexistence with subdominant species through competition-colonization tradeoffs. PMID:20711408

  1. Floral scent of Canada thistle, and its potential as a generic insect attractant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The flowers of Canada thistles, Cirsium arvense (L.)attract a wide range of insects including pollinators and herbivorous species. This attraction is primarily mediated by floral odor, which offers potential for developing generic insect attractants based on odor. In this study we have analyzed the ...

  2. 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...

  3. 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 ...

  4. Reciprocal responses in the interaction between Arabidopsis and the cell-content-feeding chelicerate herbivore spider mite.

    PubMed

    Zhurov, Vladimir; Navarro, Marie; Bruinsma, Kristie A; Arbona, Vicent; Santamaria, M Estrella; Cazaux, Marc; Wybouw, Nicky; Osborne, Edward J; Ens, Cherise; Rioja, Cristina; Vermeirssen, Vanessa; Rubio-Somoza, Ignacio; Krishna, Priti; Diaz, Isabel; Schmid, Markus; Gómez-Cadenas, Aurelio; Van de Peer, Yves; Grbic, Miodrag; Clark, Richard M; Van Leeuwen, Thomas; Grbic, Vojislava

    2014-01-01

    Most molecular-genetic studies of plant defense responses to arthropod herbivores have focused on insects. However, plant-feeding mites are also pests of diverse plants, and mites induce different patterns of damage to plant tissues than do well-studied insects (e.g. lepidopteran larvae or aphids). The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is among the most significant mite pests in agriculture, feeding on a staggering number of plant hosts. To understand the interactions between spider mite and a plant at the molecular level, we examined reciprocal genome-wide responses of mites and its host Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Despite differences in feeding guilds, we found that transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis to mite herbivory resembled those observed for lepidopteran herbivores. Mutant analysis of induced plant defense pathways showed functionally that only a subset of induced programs, including jasmonic acid signaling and biosynthesis of indole glucosinolates, are central to Arabidopsis's defense to mite herbivory. On the herbivore side, indole glucosinolates dramatically increased mite mortality and development times. We identified an indole glucosinolate dose-dependent increase in the number of differentially expressed mite genes belonging to pathways associated with detoxification of xenobiotics. This demonstrates that spider mite is sensitive to Arabidopsis defenses that have also been associated with the deterrence of insect herbivores that are very distantly related to chelicerates. Our findings provide molecular insights into the nature of, and response to, herbivory for a representative of a major class of arthropod herbivores.

  5. Triterpenoid saponins with antifeedant activities from stem bark of Catunaregam spinosa (Rubiaceae) against Plutella xylostella (Plutellidae).

    PubMed

    Gao, Guangchun; Lu, Zhongxian; Tao, Shuhong; Zhang, Si; Wang, Fazuo

    2011-10-18

    Seven triterpenoid saponins, including four new compounds, catunarosides A-D (1-4), and three known compounds, swartziatrioside (5), aralia-saponin V (6), araliasaponin IV (7) were isolated from the stem bark of Catunaregam spinosa, a Chinese mangrove associate. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of their spectral data and hydrolysis experiments. The antifeedant activities of compounds 1-7 against Plutella xylostella were also evaluated.

  6. Alteration of Plant Primary Metabolism in Response to Insect Herbivory.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Shaoqun; Lou, Yann-Ru; Tzin, Vered; Jander, Georg

    2015-11-01

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. A test of genotypic variation in specificity of herbivore-induced responses in Solidago altissima L. (Asteraceae).

    PubMed

    Uesugi, Akane; Poelman, Erik H; Kessler, André

    2013-12-01

    Plant-induced responses to multiple herbivores can mediate ecological interactions among herbivore species, thereby influencing herbivore community composition in nature. Several studies have indicated high specificity of induced responses to different herbivore species. In addition, there may be genetic variation for plant response specificity that can have significant ecological implications, by altering the competitive strength and hierarchical relationships among interacting herbivore species. However, few studies have examined whether plant populations harbor genetic variation for induction specificity. Using three distinct genotypes of Solidago altissima plants, we examined whether specialist herbivore species Dichomeris leuconotella, Microrhopala vittata, and Trirhabda virgata elicit specific induction responses from plants (specificity of elicitation), and whether induction differentially affects these herbivore species (specificity of effect). Results from bioassays and secondary metabolite analyses suggest that there is specificity of both elicitation and effect in the induced responses: D. leuconotella and M. vittata preferred and performed better on leaves damaged by conspecifics than heterospecifics, and induced qualitatively different secondary metabolite profiles. In contrast, T. virgata equally avoided but physiologically tolerated all types of damage. These patterns of specificity suggest that plant-induced responses mediate asymmetric competitive interactions between herbivore species, which potentially intensifies inter-specific relative to intra-specific competition. Plant genotypes widely differed in overall susceptibility to the herbivores and secondary metabolite production, yet we found no genotype-by-treatment interactions in insect performance, preference and plant secondary metabolite production. This lack of genetic variation for induction specificity suggests that competitive interactions between herbivore species on S. altissima are

  9. Genome Scale Transcriptomics of Baculovirus-Insect Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen, Quan; Nielsen, Lars K.; Reid, Steven

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:24226166

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Evolving resistance to obesity in an insect.

    PubMed

    Warbrick-Smith, James; Behmer, Spencer T; Lee, Kwang Pum; Raubenheimer, David; Simpson, Stephen J

    2006-09-19

    Failure to adapt to a changing nutritional environment comes at a cost, as evidenced by the modern human obesity crisis. Consumption of energy-rich diets can lead to obesity and is associated with deleterious consequences not only in humans but also in many other animals, including insects. The question thus arises whether animals restricted over multiple generations to high-energy diets can evolve mechanisms to limit the deposition of adverse levels of body fat. We show that Plutella xylostella caterpillars reared for multiple generations on carbohydrate-rich foods (either a chemically defined artificial diet or a high-starch Arabidopsis mutant) progressively developed the ability to eat excess carbohydrate without laying it down as fat, providing strong evidence that excess fat storage has a fitness cost. In contrast, caterpillars reared in carbohydrate-scarce environments (a chemically defined artificial diet or a low-starch Arabidopsis mutant) had a greater propensity to store ingested carbohydrate as fat. Additionally, insects reared on the low-starch Arabidopsis mutant evolved a preference for laying their eggs on this plant, whereas those selected on the high-starch Arabidopsis mutant showed no preference. Our results provide an experimental example of metabolic adaptation in the face of changes in the nutritional environment and suggest that changes in plant macronutrient profiles may promote host-associated population divergence.

  13. Evolving resistance to obesity in an insect

    PubMed Central

    Warbrick-Smith, James; Behmer, Spencer T.; Lee, Kwang Pum; Raubenheimer, David; Simpson, Stephen J.

    2006-01-01

    Failure to adapt to a changing nutritional environment comes at a cost, as evidenced by the modern human obesity crisis. Consumption of energy-rich diets can lead to obesity and is associated with deleterious consequences not only in humans but also in many other animals, including insects. The question thus arises whether animals restricted over multiple generations to high-energy diets can evolve mechanisms to limit the deposition of adverse levels of body fat. We show that Plutella xylostella caterpillars reared for multiple generations on carbohydrate-rich foods (either a chemically defined artificial diet or a high-starch Arabidopsis mutant) progressively developed the ability to eat excess carbohydrate without laying it down as fat, providing strong evidence that excess fat storage has a fitness cost. In contrast, caterpillars reared in carbohydrate-scarce environments (a chemically defined artificial diet or a low-starch Arabidopsis mutant) had a greater propensity to store ingested carbohydrate as fat. Additionally, insects reared on the low-starch Arabidopsis mutant evolved a preference for laying their eggs on this plant, whereas those selected on the high-starch Arabidopsis mutant showed no preference. Our results provide an experimental example of metabolic adaptation in the face of changes in the nutritional environment and suggest that changes in plant macronutrient profiles may promote host-associated population divergence. PMID:16968774

  14. Dietary phosphate affects food selection, post-ingestive phosphorus fate, and performance of a polyphagous herbivore.

    PubMed

    Cease, Arianne J; Fay, Michelle; Elser, James J; Harrison, Jon F

    2016-01-01

    Comparisons of the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (P) content of plants and insect herbivores suggests that P limitation and herbivore foraging to balance P intake could be common. However, the lack of synthetic diets for testing the effects of lower ranges of dietary P has been a major impediment to experimental assessment of the ecological importance of, and physiological responses to, P limitation for terrestrial herbivores. We manipulated dietary P content (%P) over its observed range in terrestrial foliage using artificial diets containing near-optimal content of other nutrients for the grasshopper Schistocerca americana. Over much of the ecologically relevant range, when consuming single diets over a lifetime, higher P stimulated growth rates and increased survival, with an optimal dietary %P of 0.25-0.50% when measured throughout development. Excessive dietary P (1%) reduced growth and survival. However, with only short-term (3 day) confinement to single diets, dietary P had no effect on food consumption or growth rates. During these short exposures, fifth (but not third) instar hoppers increased the proportion of P excreted relative to P assimilated as dietary P increased. Target experiments demonstrated that, when given a choice, grasshoppers select among foods to attain a P intake target of 0.6%. These data suggest that P limitation could be common for terrestrial insect herbivores and that they can exhibit ingestive and post-ingestive mechanisms to attain sufficient but not excessive P. PMID:26567345

  15. Dietary phosphate affects food selection, post-ingestive phosphorus fate, and performance of a polyphagous herbivore.

    PubMed

    Cease, Arianne J; Fay, Michelle; Elser, James J; Harrison, Jon F

    2016-01-01

    Comparisons of the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (P) content of plants and insect herbivores suggests that P limitation and herbivore foraging to balance P intake could be common. However, the lack of synthetic diets for testing the effects of lower ranges of dietary P has been a major impediment to experimental assessment of the ecological importance of, and physiological responses to, P limitation for terrestrial herbivores. We manipulated dietary P content (%P) over its observed range in terrestrial foliage using artificial diets containing near-optimal content of other nutrients for the grasshopper Schistocerca americana. Over much of the ecologically relevant range, when consuming single diets over a lifetime, higher P stimulated growth rates and increased survival, with an optimal dietary %P of 0.25-0.50% when measured throughout development. Excessive dietary P (1%) reduced growth and survival. However, with only short-term (3 day) confinement to single diets, dietary P had no effect on food consumption or growth rates. During these short exposures, fifth (but not third) instar hoppers increased the proportion of P excreted relative to P assimilated as dietary P increased. Target experiments demonstrated that, when given a choice, grasshoppers select among foods to attain a P intake target of 0.6%. These data suggest that P limitation could be common for terrestrial insect herbivores and that they can exhibit ingestive and post-ingestive mechanisms to attain sufficient but not excessive P.

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:27009228

  18. 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.

  19. Induced resistance in intertidal macroalgae modifies feeding behaviour of herbivorous snails.

    PubMed

    Borell, Esther M; Foggo, Andrew; Coleman, Ross A

    2004-07-01

    Herbivory in terrestrial and marine systems can induce changes in plant chemistry affecting the foraging behaviour of herbivores. A model based on terrestrial plant-herbivore interactions predicts herbivory-induced changes in leaf chemistry to be manifested in (1) increased herbivore mobility, (2) increased feeding dispersal and (3) reduced tissue consumption by herbivores. This study is the first to demonstrate that herbivory-induced changes in the tissue chemistry of the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum elicit the same response in the feeding behaviour of the gastropod Littorina obtusata as predicted for herbivorous insects, providing good evidence for the model's validity across different ecosystems. The potential benefit of increased feeding dispersal to terrestrial plants as suggested by the model is the prevention of concentrated damage to apical tissues thereby preserving the plant's ability to compete for light; A. nodosum does not conform to these predictions. Increased dispersal of feeding damage on A. nodosum away from primary frond tissues would reduce the likelihood of frond breakage implying a fitness benefit of induced resistance. PMID:15148602

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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. PMID:21459195

  4. 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. PMID:25627217

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The midgut cadherin-like gene is not associated with resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cry1Ac in Plutella xylostella (L.).

    PubMed

    Guo, Zhaojiang; Kang, Shi; Zhu, Xun; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Xie, Wen; Zhang, Youjun

    2015-03-01

    The Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) produces Cry toxins that have been used to control important agricultural pests. Evolution of resistance in target pests threatens the effectiveness of these toxins when used either in sprayed biopesticides or in Bt transgenic crops. Although alterations of the midgut cadherin-like receptor can lead to Bt Cry toxin resistance in many insects, whether the cadherin gene is involved in Cry1Ac resistance of Plutella xylostella (L.) remains unclear. Here, we present experimental evidence that resistance to Cry1Ac or Bt var. kurstaki (Btk) in P. xylostella is not due to alterations of the cadherin gene. The bona fide P. xylostella cadherin cDNA sequence was cloned and analyzed, and comparisons of the cadherin cDNA sequence among susceptible and resistant P. xylostella strains confirmed that Cry1Ac resistance was independent of mutations in this gene. In addition, real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) indicated that cadherin transcript levels did not significantly differ among susceptible and resistant P. xylostella strains. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated suppression of cadherin gene expression did not affect larval susceptibility to Cry1Ac toxin. Furthermore, genetic linkage assays using four cadherin gDNA allelic biomarkers confirmed that the cadherin gene is not linked to resistance against Cry1Ac in P. xylostella. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Cry1Ac resistance of P. xylostella is independent of the cadherin gene. PMID:25595643

  9. 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.

  10. Genome wide discovery of long intergenic non-coding RNAs in Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and their expression in insecticide resistant strains

    PubMed Central

    Etebari, Kayvan; Furlong, Michael J.; Asgari, Sassan

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26411386

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:27008782

  13. Root-feeding insects and their interactions with organisms in the rhizosphere.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Scott N; Rasmann, Sergio

    2015-01-01

    Root-feeding insects are an increasingly studied group of herbivores whose impacts on plant productivity and ecosystem processes are widely recognized. Their belowground habitat has hitherto hindered our understanding of how they interact with other organisms that share the rhizosphere. A surge in research in this area has now shed light on these interactions. We review key interactions between root-feeding insects and other rhizospheric organisms, including beneficial plant microbes (mycorrhizal fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria), antagonists/pathogens of root herbivores (arthropod predators, entomopathogenic nematodes/fungi, and bacterial pathogens), competitors, symbiotic microbes, and detritivores. Patterns for these interactions are emerging. The negative impacts of mycorrhizal fungi on root herbivores, for instance, raise the intriguing prospect that these fungi could be used for pest management. Moreover, a better understanding of symbiotic microbes in root herbivores, especially those underpinning digestion, could prove useful in industries such as biofuel production.

  14. 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. PMID:19796082

  15. Herbivore preference drives plant community composition.

    PubMed

    Kempel, Anne; Razanajatovo, Mialy; Stein, Claudia; Unsicker, Sybille B; Auge, Harald; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Fischer, Markus; Prati, Daniel

    2015-11-01

    Herbivores are important drivers of plant species coexistence and community assembly. However, detailed mechanistic information on how herbivores affect dominance hierarchies between plant species is scarce. Here, we used data of a multi-site herbivore exclusion experiment in grasslands to assess changes in the cover of 28 plant species in response to aboveground pesticide. application. Moreover, we assessed species-specific values of plant defense of these 28 species measured as the performance of a generalist caterpillar, and the preference of the caterpillar and a slug species in no-choice and choice feeding experiments, respectively. We show that more preferred species in the feeding experiments were those that increased in cover after herbivore exclusion in the field, whereas less preferred ones decreased. Herbivore performance and several measured leaf traits were not related to the change in plant cover in the field in response to herbivore removal. Additionally, the generalist slug and the generalist caterpillar preferred and disliked the same plant species, indicating that they perceive the balance between defense and nutritional value similarly. We conclude that the growth-defense trade-off in grassland species acts via the preference of herbivores and that among-species variation in plant growth and preference to herbivores drives plant community composition. PMID:27070012

  16. New experimental techniques for studying root herbivores

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Relatively less is known about belowground ground herbivores than their aboveground counterparts . This is largely because root-feeding herbivores live in the soil, an opaque, tri-phasic medium, which makes them harder to study and perhaps less perceptible as key components of many terrestrial ecosy...

  17. 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. PMID:25527580

  18. 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. PMID:26601172

  19. How generalist herbivores exploit belowground plant diversity in temperate grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Schallhart, Nikolaus; Mitterrutzner, Evi; Steiner, Eva-Maria; Juen, Anita; Traugott, Michael

    2014-01-01

    Belowground herbivores impact plant performance, thereby inducing changes in plant community composition, which potentially leads to cascading effects onto higher trophic levels and ecosystem processes and productivity. Among soil-living insects, external root-chewing generalist herbivores have the strongest impact on plants. However, the lack of knowledge on their feeding behaviour under field conditions considerably hampers achieving a comprehensive understanding of how they affect plant communities. Here, we address this gap of knowledge by investigating the feeding behaviour of Agriotes click beetle larvae, which are common generalist external root-chewers in temperate grassland soils. Utilizing diagnostic multiplex PCR to assess the larval diet, we examined the seasonal patterns in feeding activity, putative preferences for specific plant taxa, and whether species identity and larval instar affect food choices of the herbivores. Contrary to our hypothesis, most of the larvae were feeding-active throughout the entire vegetation period, indicating that the grassland plants are subjected to constant belowground feeding pressure. Feeding was selective, with members of Plantaginaceae and Asteraceae being preferred; Apiaceae were avoided. Poaceae, although assumed to be most preferred, had an intermediate position. The food preferences exhibited seasonal changes, indicating a fluctuation in plant traits important for wireworm feeding choice. Species- and instar-specific differences in dietary choice of the Agriotes larvae were small, suggesting that species and larval instars occupy the same trophic niche. According to the current findings, the food choice of these larvae is primarily driven by plant identity, exhibiting seasonal changes. This needs to be considered when analysing soil herbivore–plant interactions. PMID:24188592

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Plant-mediated interactions between whiteflies, herbivores, and natural enemies.

    PubMed

    Inbar, Moshe; Gerling, Dan

    2008-01-01

    Whiteflies (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) comprise tiny phloem-sucking insects. The sessile development of their immatures and their phloem-feeding habits (with minimal physical plant damage) often lead to plant-mediated interactions with other organisms. The main data come from the polyphagous pest species Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) and Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood), which are intricately associated with their host plants. Although these associations might not represent aleyrodids in general, we rely on them to highlight the fundamental role of host plants in numerous ecological interactions between whiteflies, other herbivores, and their natural enemies. Plant traits often affect the activity, preference, and performance of the whiteflies, as well as their entomopathogens, predators, and parasitoids. Leaf structure (primarily pubescence) and constitutive and induced chemical profiles (defensive and nutritional elements) are critically important determinants of whitefly fitness. Pest management-related and evolutionary biology studies could benefit from future research that will consider whiteflies in a multitrophic-level framework.

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:23565158

  10. 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. PMID:26991291

  11. Fungal infection reduces herbivore-induced plant volatiles of maize but does not affect naïve parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Rostás, Michael; Ton, Jurriaan; Mauch-Mani, Brigitte; Turlings, Ted C J

    2006-09-01

    Plants attacked by insects release volatile compounds that attract the herbivores' natural enemies. This so-called indirect defense is plastic and may be affected by an array of biotic and abiotic factors. We investigated the effect of fungal infection as a biotic stress agent on the emission of herbivore-induced volatiles and the possible consequences for the attraction of two parasitoid species. Maize seedlings that were simultaneously attacked by the fungus Setosphaeria turcica and larvae of Spodoptera littoralis emitted a blend of volatiles that was qualitatively similar to the blend emitted by maize that was damaged by only the herbivore, but there was a clear quantitative difference. When simultaneously challenged by fungus and herbivore, the maize plants emitted in total 47% less of the volatiles. Emissions of green leaf volatiles were unaffected. In a six-arm olfactometer, the parasitoids Cotesia marginiventris and Microplitis rufiventris responded equally well to odors of herbivore-damaged and fungus- and herbivore-damaged maize plants. Healthy and fungus-infected plants were not attractive. An additional experiment showed that the performance of S. littoralis caterpillars was not affected by the presence of the pathogen, nor was there an effect on larvae of M. rufiventris developing inside the caterpillars. Our results confirm previous indications that naïve wasps may respond primarily to the green leaf volatiles.

  12. 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.

  13. Integrating temperature and nutrition--environmental impacts on an insect immune system.

    PubMed

    Bauerfeind, Stephanie S; Fischer, Klaus

    2014-05-01

    Globally increasing temperatures may strongly affect insect herbivore performance. 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 the herbivores' performance. Part of this performance is the organisms' immune system which may be of pivotal importance for local survival. 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 immune function of the temperate-zone butterfly Pieris napi. At the higher rearing temperature haemocyte numbers and prophenoloxidase activity were reduced. Plant temperature, in contrast, did not affect immune competence despite clear effects on insect growth patterns. Overall, thermal and dietary impacts on the insects' immune responses were weak and trait-specific.

  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. 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

  16. Integrative model for binding of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins in susceptible and resistant larvae of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella).

    PubMed

    Ballester, V; Granero, F; Tabashnik, B E; Malvar, T; Ferré, J

    1999-04-01

    Insecticidal crystal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis in sprays and transgenic crops are extremely useful for environmentally sound pest management, but their long-term efficacy is threatened by evolution of resistance by target pests. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is the first insect to evolve resistance to B. thuringiensis in open-field populations. The only known mechanism of resistance to B. thuringiensis in the diamondback moth is reduced binding of toxin to midgut binding sites. In the present work we analyzed competitive binding of B. thuringiensis toxins Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F to brush border membrane vesicles from larval midguts in a susceptible strain and in resistant strains from the Philippines, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Based on the results, we propose a model for binding of B. thuringiensis crystal proteins in susceptible larvae with two binding sites for Cry1Aa, one of which is shared with Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F. Our results show that the common binding site is altered in each of the three resistant strains. In the strain from the Philippines, the alteration reduced binding of Cry1Ab but did not affect binding of the other crystal proteins. In the resistant strains from Hawaii and Pennsylvania, the alteration affected binding of Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F. Previously reported evidence that a single mutation can confer resistance to Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F corresponds to expectations based on the binding model. However, the following two other observations do not: the mutation in the Philippines strain affected binding of only Cry1Ab, and one mutation was sufficient for resistance to Cry1Aa. The imperfect correspondence between the model and observations suggests that reduced binding is not the only mechanism of resistance in the diamondback moth and that some, but not all, patterns of resistance and cross-resistance can be predicted correctly from the results of competitive binding analyses of susceptible

  17. Integrative Model for Binding of Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins in Susceptible and Resistant Larvae of the Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella)

    PubMed Central

    Ballester, Victoria; Granero, Francisco; Tabashnik, Bruce E.; Malvar, Thomas; Ferré, Juan

    1999-01-01

    Insecticidal crystal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis in sprays and transgenic crops are extremely useful for environmentally sound pest management, but their long-term efficacy is threatened by evolution of resistance by target pests. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is the first insect to evolve resistance to B. thuringiensis in open-field populations. The only known mechanism of resistance to B. thuringiensis in the diamondback moth is reduced binding of toxin to midgut binding sites. In the present work we analyzed competitive binding of B. thuringiensis toxins Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F to brush border membrane vesicles from larval midguts in a susceptible strain and in resistant strains from the Philippines, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Based on the results, we propose a model for binding of B. thuringiensis crystal proteins in susceptible larvae with two binding sites for Cry1Aa, one of which is shared with Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F. Our results show that the common binding site is altered in each of the three resistant strains. In the strain from the Philippines, the alteration reduced binding of Cry1Ab but did not affect binding of the other crystal proteins. In the resistant strains from Hawaii and Pennsylvania, the alteration affected binding of Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F. Previously reported evidence that a single mutation can confer resistance to Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F corresponds to expectations based on the binding model. However, the following two other observations do not: the mutation in the Philippines strain affected binding of only Cry1Ab, and one mutation was sufficient for resistance to Cry1Aa. The imperfect correspondence between the model and observations suggests that reduced binding is not the only mechanism of resistance in the diamondback moth and that some, but not all, patterns of resistance and cross-resistance can be predicted correctly from the results of competitive binding analyses of susceptible

  18. 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

  19. 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. PMID:27429784

  20. Insect evolution.

    PubMed

    Engel, Michael S

    2015-10-01

    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. PMID:26439349