Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 335-351

First online:

Effect of qualitative and quantitative variation in allelochemicals on a generalist insect: Iridoid glycosides and the southern armyworm

  • Gillian M. PuttickAffiliated withMuseum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
  • , M. Deane BowersAffiliated withMuseum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

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The behavioral and physiological effects of plant allelochemicals have been difficult to demonstrate; it is not often clear whether the compounds are deterrent, toxic, or both. In this study, we compared the qualitative and quantitative effects of several iridoid glycosides on a generalist lepidopteran herbivore,Spodoptera eridania (Noctuidae). Larval growth and survivorship and larval preference or avoidance were measured on artificial diets containing different iridoid glycosides at different concentrations. We also tested the toxicity/deterrence of these compounds. We found that iridoid glycosides retarded larval growth significantly at relatively low concentrations and that they were usually avoided in preference tests. The toxicity/ deterrence test did not always reflect the results of these other tests. The merits of using a variety of methods for determining deterrence and/or toxicity of plant allelochemicals are discussed.

Key words

Iridoid glycosides Spodoptera eridania Lepidoptera Noctuidae allelochemical variation toxicity/deterrence plant-insect interaction