Sep 1, 1996

Relative importance of semiochemicals from first and second trophic levels in host foraging behavior ofAphidius ervi

Journal of Chemical Ecology
Y J DuW Powell


The responses of femaleAphidius ervi to odors from a host food plant (Vicia faba), host aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), nonhost aphids (Aphis fabae), and aphid-plant complexes were investigated in a specially designed wind tunnel and a Y-tube olfactometer. In single-target (no-choice) and two-target (dual-choice) experiments, plant volatiles played a crucial role in the host foraging behavior ofA. ervi. The odor from theA. pisum-plant complex elicited the strongest responses byA. ervi females, followed by the odor from plants previously damaged by the feeding ofA. pisum. There was a significantly weaker response to odor fromA. pisum in the absence of the plant and to undamaged plants. Similarly, mechanically damaged plants and plants infested with the nonhost aphidA. fabae did not elicit strong responses. A plant that had been damaged byA. pisum and subsequently washed with distilled water was as attractive as an unwashed, previously infested plant.Aphidius ervi probably overcomes the reliability-detectability problem by selectively responding to herbivore-induced, volatile, semiochemical cues emitted by the first trophic level and by distinguishing between the volatiles induced by host and nonhost aphids.

Mentioned in this Paper

Aphis chenopodii glauci preparation
Complex (molecular entity)
Distilled water
Aphidius ervi
Aphis fabae
Vicia faba

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