Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 2229–2247

Induction of parasitoid attracting synomone in brussels sprouts plants by feeding ofPieris brassicae larvae: Role of mechanical damage and herbivore elicitor


  • Letizia Mattiacci
    • Department of EntomologyAgricultural University
  • Marcel Dicke
    • Department of EntomologyAgricultural University
  • Maarten A. Posthumus
    • Department of Organic ChemistryAgricultural University

DOI: 10.1007/BF02033199

Cite this article as:
Mattiacci, L., Dicke, M. & Posthumus, M.A. J Chem Ecol (1994) 20: 2229. doi:10.1007/BF02033199


Induction of plant defense in response to herbivory includes the emission of synomones that attract the natural enemies of herbivores. We investigated whether mechanical damage to Brussels sprouts leaves (Brassica oleracea var.gemmifera) is sufficient to obtain attraction of the parasitoidCotesia glomerata or whether feeding byPieris brassicae caterpillars elicits the release of synomones not produced by mechanically damaged leaves. The response of the parasitoidCotesia glomerata to different types of simulated herbivory was observed. Flight-chamber dual-choice tests showed that mechanically damaged cabbage leaves were less attractive than herbivore-damaged leaves and mechanically damaged leaves treated with larval regurgitant. Chemical analysis of the headspace of undamaged, artificially damaged, caterpillar-infested, and caterpillar regurgitant-treated leaves showed that the plant responds to damage with an increased release of volatiles. Greenleaf volatiles and several terpenoids are the major components of cabbage leaf headspace. Terpenoids are emitted in analogous amounts in all treatments, including undamaged leaves. On the other hand, if the plant is infested by caterpillars or if caterpillar regurgitant is applied to damaged leaves, the emission of green-leaf volatiles is highly enhanced. Our data are in contrast with the induction of more specific synomones in other plant species, such as Lima bean and corn.

Key Words

Lepidoptera Pieridae Hymenoptera Braconidae cabbage Brussels sprouts behavior tritrophic interactions green-leaf volatiles herbivore-induced synomones elicitor caterpillar regurgitant Brassica oleracea Pieris brassicae Cotesia glomerata parasitoid wasp

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994