Herbivore-mediated effects of glucosinolates on different natural enemies of a specialist aphid.

Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Journal of Chemical Ecology (Impact Factor: 2.46). 01/2012; 38(1):100-15. DOI: 10.1007/s10886-012-0065-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae is a specialist herbivore that sequesters glucosinolates from its host plant as a defense against its predators. It is unknown to what extent parasitoids are affected by this sequestration. We investigated herbivore-mediated effects of glucosinolates on the parasitoid wasp Diaeretiella rapae and the predator Episyrphus balteatus. We reared B. brassicae on three ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana that differ in glucosinolate content and on one genetically transformed line with modified concentrations of aliphatic glucosinolates. We tested aphid performance and the performance and behavior of both natural enemies. We correlated this with phloem and aphid glucosinolate concentrations and emission of volatiles. Brevicoryne brassicae performance correlated positively with concentrations of both aliphatic and indole glucosinolates in the phloem. Aphids selectively sequestered glucosinolates. Glucosinolate concentration in B. brassicae correlated negatively with performance of the predator, but positively with performance of the parasitoid, possibly because the aphids with the highest glucosinolate concentrations had a higher body weight. Both natural enemies showed a positive performance-preference correlation. The predator preferred the ecotype with the lowest emission of volatile glucosinolate breakdown products in each test combination, whereas the parasitoid wasp preferred the A. thaliana ecotype with the highest emission of these volatiles. The study shows that there are differential herbivore-mediated effects of glucosinolates on a predator and a parasitoid of a specialist aphid that selectively sequesters glucosinolates from its host plant.

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