, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 273-287

Developmental stage of herbivorePseudaletia separata affects production of herbivore-induced synomone by corn plants

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The female parasitic waspCotesia kariyai discriminated between the volatiles of corn leaves infested by younger host larvaePseudaletia separata (first to fourth instar) and uninfested leaves in a Y-tube olfactometer; the wasps were attracted to the infested leaves. In contrast, when corn plants were infested by the later stages (fifth and sixth instar) of the armyworm, the wasps did not distinguish between infested corn leaves and uninfested corn leaves in the olfactometer. Mechanically damaged leaves were no more attractive than undamaged leaves, and host larvae or their feces were not attractive to the parasitoid. Through chemical analysis, the herbivore-induced plant volatiles were identified in the headspace of infested corn leaves. The herbivore-induced volatiles (HIVs) constituted a larger proportion of the headspace of corn leaves infested by early instar armyworms than of corn leaves infested by late instar armyworms. Application of third-instar larval regurgitant onto artificially damaged sites of leaves resulted in emission of parasitoid attractants from the leaf, whereas leaves treated with sixth-instar regurgitant did not. The function of this herbivore-stage related specificity of herbivore-induced synomones is discussed in a tritrophic context.