J A Harvey

Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, Gelderland, Netherlands

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Publications (44)69.37 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: It is well known that many parasitic wasps use herbivore-induced plant odours (HIPVs) to locate their inconspicuous host insects, and are often able to distinguish between slight differences in plant odour composition. However, few studies have examined parasitoid foraging behaviour under (semi-)field conditions. In nature, food plants of parasitoid hosts are often embedded in non-host-plant assemblages that confer both structural and chemical complexity. By releasing both naïve and experienced Cotesia glomerata females in outdoor tents, we studied how natural vegetation surrounding Pieris brassicae-infested Sinapis arvensis and Barbarea vulgaris plants influences their foraging efficiency as well as their ability to specifically orient towards the HIPVs of the host plant species on which they previously had a positive oviposition experience. Natural background vegetation reduced the host-encounter rate of naïve C. glomerata females by 47 %. While associative learning of host plant HIPVs 1 day prior to foraging caused a 28 % increase in the overall foraging efficiency of C. glomerata, it did not reduce the negative influence of natural background vegetation. At the same time, however, females foraging in natural vegetation attacked more host patches on host-plant species on which they previously had a positive oviposition experience. We conclude that, even though the presence of natural vegetation reduces the foraging efficiency of C. glomerata, it does not prevent experienced female wasps from specifically orienting towards the host-plant species from which they had learned the HIPVs.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Oecologia
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    ABSTRACT: Co-evolutionary theory underpins our understanding of interactions in nature involving plant-herbivore and host-parasite interactions. However, many studies that are published in the empirical literature that have explored life history and development strategies between endoparasitoid wasps and their hosts are based on species that have no evolutionary history with one another. Here, we investigated novel associations involving two closely related solitary endoparasitoids that originate from Europe and North America and several of their natural and factitious hosts from both continents. The natural hosts of both species are also closely related, all being members of the same family. We compared development and survival of both parasitoids on the four host species and predicted that parasitoid performance is better on their own natural hosts. In contrast with this expectation, survival, adult size and development time of both parasitoids were similar on all (with one exception) hosts, irrespective as to their geographic origin. Our results show that phylogenetic affinity among the natural and factitious hosts plays an important role in their nutritional suitability for related parasitoids. Evolved traits in parasitoids, such as immune suppression and development, thus enable them to successfully develop in novel host species with which they have no evolutionary history. Our results show that host suitability for specialized organisms like endoparasitoids is closely linked with phylogenetic history and macro-evolution as well as local adaptation and micro-evolution. We argue that the importance of novel interactions and 'ecological fitting' based on phylogeny is a greatly underappreciated concept in many resource-consumer studies.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of Evolutionary Biology
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    J. A. Harvey · Fortuna TM
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    ABSTRACT: The introduction and/or spread of exotic organisms into new habitats is considered a major threat to biodiversity. Invasive plants have been shown to negatively affect native communities, competing with and excluding other plants and disrupting a wide range of trophic interactions associated with them. In spite of this, thus far, few studies have explicitly studied the mechanisms underlying the displacement and potential local extinction of native herbivores and their natural enemies up to the third trophic level and even higher. Here, we formulate hypotheses on how structural and chemical characteristics of invasive plants may affect the plant-finding abilities of herbivores and the host- or prey-finding behavior of predators and parasitoids. The sudden incursion of an invasive plant into a native plant community may fragment native habitats and thus create structural barriers that impede dispersal and plant-finding ability for herbivores and prey- or host-finding ability for predators and parasitoids. At the same time, invasive plants may produce odors that are attractive to native insects and thus interfere with interactions on native plants. If invasive plants are both attractive and toxic to native insects, they may constitute ‘traps’ that are possibly beneficial against insect pests in agro-ecosystems, but have conservation implications for native herbivores and their natural enemies. However, we also suggest that some herbivores, and by association their parasitoids, may benefit from the establishment and spread of exotic plants because they increase the amount of available resources for them to exploit.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Soils are extremely rich in biodiversity, and soil organisms play pivotal roles in supporting terrestrial life, but the role that individual plants and plant communities play in influencing the diversity and functioning of soil food webs remains highly debated. Plants, as primary producers and providers of resources to the soil food web, are of vital importance for the composition, structure, and functioning of soil communities. However, whether natural soil food webs that are completely open to immigration and emigration differ underneath individual plants remains unknown. In a biodiversity restoration experiment we first compared the soil nematode communities of 228 individual plants belonging to eight herbaceous species. We included grass, leguminous, and non-leguminous species. Each individual plant grew intermingled with other species, but all plant species had a different nematode community. Moreover, nematode communities were more similar when plant individuals were growing in the same as compared to different plant communities, and these effects were most apparent for the groups of bacterivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous nematodes. Subsequently, we analyzed the composition, structure, and functioning of the complete soil food webs of 58 individual plants, belonging to two of the plant species, Lotus corniculatus (Fabaceae) and Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae). We isolated and identified more than 150 taxa/groups of soil organisms. The soil community composition and structure of the entire food webs were influenced both by the species identity of the plant individual and the surrounding plant community. Unexpectedly, plant identity had the strongest effects on decomposing soil organisms, widely believed to be generalist feeders. In contrast, quantitative food web modeling showed that the composition of the plant community influenced nitrogen mineralization under individual plants, but that plant species identity did not affect nitrogen or carbon mineralization or food web stability. Hence, the composition and structure of entire soil food webs vary at the scale of individual plants and are strongly influenced by the species identity of the plant. However, the ecosystem functions these food webs provide are determined by the identity of the entire plant community.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Ecology
  • T. Engelkes · B. Wouters · T.M. Bezemer · J A Harvey · Putten · W.H
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    ABSTRACT: Ecosystems worldwide are increasingly being invaded by plants from exotic origins. It has been stressed that these invaders perform better than similar native species in the invaded communities. Although some plant invasions have taken place for more than a century, the mechanisms explaining the success of these invaders are not well understood yet. The release from aboveground natural enemies has been widely stressed as one of the most important factors accounting for the ability of invaders to become successful. Novel biotic interactions, if favorable, enable many invasive plants to become dominant in their new community, thereby displacing native species. Currently, the consequences of climate warming are being noticed in range shifts of plants and animals to higher elevations and latitudes. Although biotic interactions strongly affect responses to warming, they are generally not included in climate studies. Also, top-down effects mediated by natural enemies in the third trophic level have not yet been taken into account in these studies. Hence, when plants spread faster than their natural enemies or than the enemies of their enemies, multi-trophic interactions can become, at least temporarily, disrupted. These changes in relations may create invasion opportunities for species within geographical regions. In order to test whether release from enemies may be applicable to the natural situation of range-expanding plants we studied the arthropod community on 2 range-expanding plant species (exotic to the Netherlands) and their native congeners. All species co-occur in riverine habitat and insects were sampled in 3 different populations in 3 consecutive periods in the growing season (early, mid and late summer). Insects were classified to different herbivorous guilds providing insight on the specificity of enemy release. Furthermore, we discriminated between phytophagous and carnivorous insects to determine the control potential of the third trophic level. As expected, we found higher aggregate loads of herbivorous insects on both range-expanding plants than on the native species. Depending on the species pair, either the chewing and sap-sucking insects or the galling insects showed the strongest differences, which in some cases depended on the temporal context. Surprisingly, we found higher predator pressure for the range-expanding plants, indicating an additional advantage over their native congeners. These results suggest that climate range-expanding plants are, at least partially, released from natural enemies, and that they experienced indirect positive feedback from carnivorous arthropods in the third trophic level
    No preview · Article · Aug 2009
  • R. Soler · T.M. Bezemer · J A Harvey

    No preview · Article · Jan 2009
  • J.A. Harvey · R. Gols · M.R. Strand
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    ABSTRACT: In natural systems, pre-adult stages of some insect herbivores are known to be attacked by several species of parasitoids. Under certain conditions, hosts may be simultaneously parasitized by more than one parasitoid species (= multiparasitism), even though only one parasitoid species can successfully develop in an individual host. Here, we compared development, survival, and intrinsic competitive interactions among three species of solitary larval endoparasitoids, Campoletis sonorensis (Cameron) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), Microplitis demolitor Wilkinson, and Microplitis croceipes (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), in singly parasitized and multiparasitized hosts. The three species differed in certain traits, such as in host usage strategies and adult body size. Campoletis sonorensis and M. demolitor survived equally well to eclosion in two host species that differed profoundly in size, Pseudoplusia includens (Walker) and the larger Heliothis virescens (Fabricius) (both Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Egg-to-adult development time in C. sonorensis and M. demolitor also differed in the two hosts. Moreover, adult body mass in C. sonorensis (and not M. demolitor) was greater when developing in H. virescens larvae. We then monitored the outcome of competitive interactions in host larvae that were parasitized by one parasitoid species and subsequently multiparasitized by another species at various time intervals (0, 6, 24, and 48 h) after the initial parasitism. These experiments revealed that M. croceipes was generally a superior competitor to the other two species, whereas M. demolitor was the poorest competitor, with C. sonorensis being intermediate in this capacity. However, competition sometimes incurred fitness costs in M. croceipes and C. sonorensis, with longer development time and/or smaller adult mass observed in surviving wasps emerging from multiparasitized hosts. Our results suggest that rapid growth and large size relative to competitors of a similar age may be beneficial in aggressive intrinsic competition
    No preview · Article · Jan 2009
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    ABSTRACT: The oviposition choice of an insect herbivore is based on a complex set of stimuli and responses. In this study, we examined the effect of plant secondary chemistry (the iridoid glycosides aucubin and catalpol) and aspects of size of the plant Plantago lanceolata, on the oviposition behavior of the specialist butterfly Melitaea cinxia. Iridoid glycosides are known to deter feeding or decrease the growth rate of generalist insect herbivores, but can act as oviposition cues and feeding stimulants for specialized herbivores. In a previous observational study of M. cinxia in the field, oviposition was associated with high levels of aucubin. However, this association could have been the cause (butterfly choice) or consequence (plant induction) of oviposition. We conducted a set of dual- and multiple-choice experiments in cages and in the field. In the cages, we found a positive association between the pre-oviposition level of aucubin and the number of ovipositions. The association reflects the butterfly oviposition selection rather than plant induction that follows oviposition. Our results also suggest a threshold concentration below which females do not distinguish between levels of iridoid glycosides. In the field, the size of the plant appeared to be a more important stimulus than iridoid glycoside content, with bigger plants receiving more oviposition than smaller plants, regardless of their secondary chemistry. Our results illustrate that the rank of a cue used for oviposition may be dependent on environmental context.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · Journal of Chemical Ecology
  • R. Soler · J. A. Harvey · T. M. Bezemer · J. F. Stuefer

    No preview · Article · Aug 2008 · Plant signaling & behavior
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    ABSTRACT: In nature, individuals of short-lived plant species (e.g. annuals, biennials) may grow at different times during the growing season. These plants are therefore exposed to different season-related conditions such as light and temperature, which in turn may have consequences for primary and secondary chemistry of the plant. Despite this, many studies examining plant–consumer interactions are performed in single replicates, which may thus ignore temporal variation in the expression of phenotypic plant traits that affect multitrophic interactions. In the present study, we demonstrated that even under strictly controlled conditions in a greenhouse, secondary plant chemistry changes dramatically in plants growing at different times in a single year, i.e. July, August and November. Glucosinolate (GS) contents in herbivore-damaged leaves of two different crucifer species, Brassica oleracea and Sinapis alba were higher in the August and November replicates than in the July replicate and GS concentrations were 10–25 times higher in S. alba than in B. oleracea. The development of a specialist herbivore, Plutella xylostella, also varied significantly over the three replicates. Larvae of P. xylostella that had fed upon either S. alba or B. oleracea, attained the largest biomass and had the fastest development rate in the November replicate. Female P. xylostella moths grew larger on S. alba than on B. oleracea, whereas male biomass was not significantly affected by host-plant species. Plant species, but not season also affected performance of the endoparasitoid, Diadegma semiclausum. Similar to the performance of host females, parasitoid males developed faster and attained the highest biomass when attacking P. xylostella larvae feeding on S. alba. Most importantly, the performance of the herbivore and its parasitoid only appeared to partially conform to levels of GS in damaged leaves, indicating that there is a complex of factors involved in determining the effects of plant quality on higher trophic levels.ZusammenfassungIn der Natur können Individuen von kurzlebigen Pflanzenarten (z.B. Annuelle, Bianuelle) zu verschiedenen Zeiten in der Saison wachsen. Diese Pflanzen sind daher unterschiedlichen jahreszeitlichen Bedingungen wie Licht und Temperatur ausgesetzt, was wiederum Konsequenzen für die primäre und sekundäre Chemie der Pflanze haben kann. Trotzdem sind viele Untersuchungen, welche die Pflanzen-Konsumenten-Interaktionen untersuchen, einfache Ansätze, die so die zeitliche Variation in der Expression von Pflanzenmerkmalen ignorieren, die Einfluss auf multitrophische Interaktionen hat. In der vorliegenden Untersuchung zeigten wir, dass sich selbst unter den strikt kontrollierten Bedingungen im Gewächshaus die sekundäre Pflanzenchemie bei Pflanzen, die zu verschiedenen Zeiten in einem einzigen Jahr, d.h. im Juli, August und November, wuchsen, dramatisch ändert. Die Gehalte an Glukosinolat (GS) in den von Herbivoren beschädigten Blättern von zwei Kreuzblütlerarten, Brassica oleracea und Sinapis alba, waren im August- und November-Ansatz höher als im Juli-Ansatz und die GS-Konzentrationen waren bei S. alba zehn bis zwanzigfach höher als bei B. oleracea. Die Entwicklung des spezialisierten Herbivoren Plutella xylostella, variierte ebenfalls signifikant bei den drei Ansätzen. Die Larven von P. xylostella, die sowohl auf S. alba als auch auf B. oleracea fraßen, erreichten beim November-Ansatz die größte Biomasse und hatten die schnellste Entwicklungsrate. Weibliche P. xylostella Falter wuchsen auf S. alba schneller als auf B. oleracea, während sich die Biomasse der Männchen nicht signifikant zwischen den Wirtsarten unterschied. Die Performanz des Endoparasiten Diadegma semiclausum wurde von der Pflanzenart, nicht aber von der Jahreszeit, beeinflusst. Vergleichbar zur Performanz der Wirtsweibchen entwickelten sich die Parasitoidenmännchen schneller und erreichten die höchste Biomasse, wenn sie P. xylostella Larven befielen, die auf S. alba fraßen. Vor allem aber schien die Performanz des Wirtes und seiner Parasitoiden nur teilweise mit den Gehalten von GS in den beschädigten Blättern übereinzustimmen, was darauf hinweist, dass es einen Komplex von Faktoren gibt, die den Einfluss der Pflanzenqualität auf höhere trophische Ebenen bestimmen.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2008 · Basic and Applied Ecology
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    ABSTRACT: Black mustard, Brassica nigra (L.) Koch, is a wild annual species found throughout Europe and fed on by larvae of the large cabbage-white butterfly, Pieris brassicae L. We examined the impact of herbivory from P. brassicae, a gregarious herbivore, on B. nigra grown from wild seed collected locally. In greenhouse studies, the response of B. nigra to four herbivore densities in two developmental stages of the plant was quantified by measuring leaf damage, plant height, days to flowering, silique number, and seed production. Pieris brassicae readily attacked B. nigra leaves, although the timing of the attack did not affect seed production; attacked plants produced as many seeds as as nonattacked plants. Plant height was affected when plants were attacked early, but not later, in development, suggesting a connection between their belowground zone of influence and ability to regain biomass. These results demonstrate that at the herbivore densities and timing of damage studied, B. nigra tolerates folivory from Pieris brassicae through compensation.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Botany
  • S.E. Blatt · R.C. Smallegange · L. Hess · J A Harvey · M. Dicke · Loon · J.J.A
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    ABSTRACT: Black mustard, Brassica nigra (L.) Koch, is a wild annual species found throughout Europe and fed on by larvae of the large cabbage-white butterfly, Pieris brassicae L. We examined the impact of herbivory from P. brassicae, a gregarious herbivore, on B. nigra grown from wild seed collected locally. In greenhouse studies, the response of B. nigra to four herbivore densities in two developmental stages of the plant was quantified by measuring leaf damage, plant height, days to flowering, silique number, and seed production. Pieris brassicae readily attacked B. nigra leaves, although the timing of the attack did not affect seed production; attacked plants produced as many seeds as as nonattacked plants. Plant height was affected when plants were attacked early, but not later, in development, suggesting a connection between their belowground zone of influence and ability to regain biomass. These results demonstrate that at the herbivore densities and timing of damage studied, B. nigra tolerates folivory from Pieris brassicae through compensation.
    No preview · Article · May 2008 · Botany
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    R. Gols · L.M.A. Witjes · Loon · J.J.A · M.A. Posthumus · M. Dicke · J A Harvey
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    ABSTRACT: Most studies on plant defenses against insect herbivores investigate direct and indirect plant defenses independently. However, these defenses are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Plant metabolites can be transmitted through the food chain and can also affect the herbivore's natural enemies. A conflict may arise when a natural enemy is attracted to a plant that is suboptimal in terms of its own fitness. In addition, plant defenses are often studied in cultivated plant species in which artificial selection may have resulted in reduced resistance against insect herbivores. In this study, we investigated both direct and indirect plant defenses in two closely related wild brassicaceous plant species, Brassica nigra L. and Sinapis arvensis L. The herbivore Pieris brassicae L. (Lepidoptera: Pieridae), which is specialized on brassicaceous plant species, developed faster and attained higher pupal mass when reared on B. nigra than on S. arvensis. In contrast, Cotesia glomerata L. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), which is a gregarious endoparasitoid of P. brassicae caterpillars, developed equally well on P. brassicae irrespective of the food plant on which its host had been reared. The feeding strategy of the parasitoid larvae, that is, selectively feeding on hemolymph and fat body, is likely to allow for a much wider host-size range without affecting the size or development time of the emerging parasitoids. In flight chamber experiments, C. glomerata, which had an oviposition experience in a host that fed on Brussels sprout, exhibited significant preference for host-damaged B. nigra over host-damaged S. arvensis plants. Headspace analysis revealed quantitative and qualitative differences in volatile emissions between the two plant species. This parasitoid species may use a range of cues associated with the host and the host's food plant in order to recognize the different plant species on which the host can feed. These results show that there is no conflict between direct and indirect plant defenses for this plant¿host¿parasitoid complex.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2008 · Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
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    ABSTRACT: Interactions between butterflies and caterpillars in the genus Pieris and plants in the family Brassicaceae are among the best explored in the field of insect-plant biology. However, we report here for the first time that Pieris brassicae, commonly assumed to be a typical folivore, actually prefers to feed on flowers of three Brassica nigra genotypes rather than on their leaves. First- and second-instar caterpillars were observed to feed primarily on leaves, whereas late second and early third instars migrated via the small leaves of the flower branches to the flower buds and flowers. Once flower feeding began, no further leaf feeding was observed. We investigated growth rates of caterpillars having access exclusively to either leaves of flowering plants or flowers. In addition, we analyzed glucosinolate concentrations in leaves and flowers. Late-second- and early-third-instar P. brassicae caterpillars moved upward into the inflorescences of B. nigra and fed on buds and flowers until the end of the final (fifth) instar, after which they entered into the wandering stage, leaving the plant in search of a pupation site. Flower feeding sustained a significantly higher growth rate than leaf feeding. Flowers contained levels of glucosinolates up to five times higher than those of leaves. Five glucosinolates were identified: the aliphatic sinigrin, the aromatic phenylethylglucosinolate, and three indole glucosinolates: glucobrassicin, 4-methoxyglucobrassicin, and 4-hydroxyglucobrassicin. Tissue type and genotype were the most important factors affecting levels of identified glucosinolates. Sinigrin was by far the most abundant compound in all three genotypes. Sinigrin, 4-hydroxyglucobrassicin, and phenylethylglucosinolate were present at significantly higher levels in flowers than in leaves. In response to caterpillar feeding, sinigrin levels in both leaves and flowers were significantly higher than in undamaged plants, whereas 4-hydroxyglucobrassicin leaf levels were lower. Our results show that feeding on flower tissues, containing higher concentrations of glucosinolates, provides P. brassicae with a nutritional benefit in terms of higher growth rate. This preference appears to be in contrast to published negative effects of volatile glucosinolate breakdown products on the closely related Pieris rapae.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2007 · Journal of Chemical Ecology
  • J H Reudler Talsma · J A Elzinga · J A Harvey · A Biere
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    ABSTRACT: Host size is considered a reliable indicator of host quality and an important determinant of parasitoid fitness. Koinobiont parasitoids attack hosts that continue feeding and growing during parasitism. In contrast with hemolymph-feeding koinobionts, tissue-feeding koinobionts face not only a minimum host size for successful development but also a maximum host size, because consumption of the entire host is often necessary for successful egression. Here we study interactions between a generalist tissue-feeding larval endoparasitoid, Hyposoter didymator Thunberg (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) and two of its natural hosts, Spodoptera exigua Hübner and Chrysodeixis chalcites Esper (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Larvae of C. chalcites are up to three times larger than corresponding instars of S. exigua and also attain much higher terminal masses before pupation. We hypothesized that the range of host instars suitable for successful parasitism by H. didymator would be much more restricted in the large host C. chalcites than in the smaller S. exigua. To test this hypothesis, we monitored development of H. didymator in all instars of both host species and measured survival, larval development time, and adult body mass of the parasitioid. In contrast with our predictions, C. chalcites was qualitatively superior to S. exigua in terms of the survival of parasitized hosts, the proportion of parasitoids able to complete development, and adult parasitoid size. However, in both hosts, the proportion of mature parasitoid larvae that successfully developed into adults was low at the largest host sizes. Our results suggest that qualitative, as well as quantitative, factors are important in the success of tissue-feeding parasitoids.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2007 · Environmental Entomology
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    R. SOLER · JA Harvey · T. M. BEZEMER
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Root feeding insects can influence foliar quality of the host plant, which can affect the development and behaviour of leaf herbivores and parasitoids. Thus far, such interactions have been reported in situations where root and leaf associated organisms share a host-plant. We tested whether root herbivory influences searching behaviour of an above-ground parasitoid when the foliar feeding host of the parasitoid and the root herbivore are feeding on different plants. 2. We manipulated the proportion of 25 plants (ranging from 0 to 1) exposed to root herbivory by Delia radicum (neighbouring-plants). Five additional plants were infested above-ground with Pieris brassicae larvae (host-infested plants) and were placed in-between the neighbouring plants. We then released females of the parasitoid Cotesia glomerata which attacks P. brassicae and studied foraging efficiency of the parasitoid. 3. Overall, parasitoids located more host-infested plants during the maximum allowed searching time, and found their hosts about three times faster when neighbouring plants were exposed to root herbivory, than when neighbouring plants were not infested with D. radicum. Similar results were found when the host-infested plants were also exposed to root herbivory. 4. Our results show that the interaction between an above-ground foliar feeding insect and its parasitoid can be influenced by the presence of non-host herbivores feeding on the roots of neighbouring conspecific plants.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2007 · Functional Ecology
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to cope with plant defense chemicals differs between specialist and generalist species. In this study, we examined the effects of the concentration of the two main iridoid glycosides (IGs) in Plantago lanceolata, aucubin and catalpol, on the performance of a specialist and two generalist herbivores and their respective endoparasitoids. Development of the specialist herbivore Melitaea cinxia was unaffected by the total leaf IG concentration in its host plant. By contrast, the generalist herbivores Spodoptera exigua and Chrysodeixis chalcites showed delayed larval and pupal development on plant genotypes with high leaf IG concentrations, respectively. This result is in line with the idea that specialist herbivores are better adapted to allelochemicals in host plants on which they are specialized. Melitaea cinxia experienced less post-diapause larval and pupal mortality on its local Finnish P. lanceolata
    No preview · Article · Jan 2007 · Environmental Entomology
  • J. A. Harvey · R. Wagenaar
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    ABSTRACT:   Several studies have reported that flowering herbs, which grow naturally or are sown adjacent to agricultural fields, may be an important source of nutrients for natural enemies. Many parasitoids readily feed on plant exudates such as floral nectar, which contain different types of sugars that enable the insects to optimize their longevity, mobility and reproductive success. However, leaf tissues of plants grown in the margins of agricultural fields may also provide food for immature stages of insect herbivores, such as caterpillars, that are in turn attacked by parasitoids. Herbivores and their parasitoids may later disperse into the crop, so the nutritional quality of surrounding plants, as this affects herbivore and parasitoid fitness, may also influence the success of biological control programmes, especially later in the season. Here, we compare the suitability of three species of cruciferous plants (Brassicaceae) on the development of Pieris rapae L. (Lep., Pieridae) and its solitary endoparasitoid, Cotesia rubecula Marshall (Hym., Bracondiae). Insects were reared on a feral population of cabbage, Brassica oleracea, on radish Raphanus sativus, which is widely sown in agricultural margins, and on hedge mustard, Sisymbrium officinale, a wild crucifer which often grows in medium to large stands along road verges and field edges. Development time in both the herbivore and parasitoid were extended on R. sativus, compared with the other two species, whereas C. rubecula completed its development most rapidly on B. oleracea. Moreover, adult butterflies and parasitoids were significantly smaller when reared on R. sativus plants. Our results reveal that differences in the quality of plants growing adjacent to agricultural fields can affect the development of key herbivores and their parasitoids. This should be borne in mind when establishing criteria for the selection of floral biodiversity.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2006 · Journal of Applied Entomology
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    ABSTRACT: To elucidate the factors that affect the performance of plants in their natural environment, it is essential to study interactions with other neighboring plants, as well as with above- and belowground higher trophic organisms. We used a long-term field experiment to study how local plant community diversity influenced colonization by the biennial composite Senecio jacobaea in its native range in The Netherlands in Europe. We tested the effect of sowing later-succession plant species (0, 4, or 15 species) on plant succession and S. jacobaea performance. Over a period of eight years, the percent cover of S. jacobaea was relatively low in communities sown with 15 or 4 later-succession plant species compared to plots that were not sown, but that were colonized naturally. However, after four years of high abundance, the density of S. jacobaea in unsown plots started to decline, and the size of the individual plants was smaller than in the plots sown with 15 or 4 plant species. In the unsown plots, densities of aboveground leaf-mining, flower-feedin In a greenhouse experiment, we grew S. jacobaea in sterilized soil inoculated with soil from the different sowing treatments of the field experiment. Biomass production was lower when S. jacobaea test plants were grown in soil from the unsown plots than in soil from the sown plots (4 or 15 species). Molecular analysis of the fungal and bacterial communities revealed that the composition of fungal communities in unsown plots differed significantly from those in sown plots, suggesting that soil fu
    No preview · Article · Jan 2006
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    R. Gols · T. Bukovinszky · L. Hemerik · JA Harvey · Lenteren · J.C · L.E.M. Vet
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Habitat complexity may stabilize interactions among species of different trophic levels by providing refuges to organisms of lower trophic levels. 2. Searching behaviour of the parasitoid, Diadegma semiclausum, was followed in different semifield set-ups, a low and high-density monoculture of Brassica oleracea and two intercrops, B. oleracea with Sinapis alba (also a member of the Brassicaceae) and B. oleracea with Hordeum vulgare (Poaceae). 3. When a low-density monocrop of B. oleracea was compared with a high-density monocrop, no differences were found in the ability of the female wasps to locate a host-infested plant, B. oleracea, infested with Plutella xylostella that was placed in the centre of the set-up. 4. The efficiency of the parasitoid to locate the host-infested plant was differentially affected by the species composition of the vegetation. Wasps entered the Sinapis-Brassica set-up faster, but took more time to find the host-infested plant than in the Hordeum-Brassica set-up. 5. The horizontal arrangement, i.e. by mixing S. alba or H. vulgare with, or placing them as rows between B. oleracea, did not affect host-finding efficiency. 6. Plant height did influence host finding. Wasps found the host-infested plants earlier in the set-up with short Sinapis plants compared with tall Sinapis plants. 7. Once the wasps had landed on the host-infested plant, the surrounding vegetation did not affect time needed to parasitize five consecutive hosts on the same infested plant, regardless of the composition or horizontal/vertical arrangement of the set-up. 8. Chemical and structural refuges in complex landscapes may play an important role in the persistence of this system through dampening oscillations of parasitoid and host populations
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2005 · Journal of Animal Ecology