Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 191, Issue 2, pp 147–155

Behavioral and chemosensory responses to a host recognition cue by larvae of Pieris rapae

  • Carol I. Miles
  • Marta L. del Campo
  • J. Alan A. Renwick
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-004-0580-x

Cite this article as:
Miles, C.I., Campo, M.L.. & Renwick, J.A.A. J Comp Physiol A (2005) 191: 147. doi:10.1007/s00359-004-0580-x

Abstract

Larvae of the cabbage white Pieris rapae are specialists on plants belonging to the family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae). Adult females have been shown to use the glucosinolate gluconasturtiin (phenylethylglucosinolate) as a recognition cue for cruciferous plants, so they can identify an appropriate host for oviposition (Huang and Renwick in J Chem Ecol 20:1025–1037, 1994). Here, we report our results from a study of the role of this glucosinolate in feeding preferences of P. rapae larvae. The larvae were allowed to choose between leaf disks from the non-host cowpea Vigna sinensis (Fabaceae) that were treated with pure gluconasturtiin in solvent, or solvent alone. Our results showed that gluconasturtiin is a feeding stimulant for P. rapae larvae. A series of chemosensory ablations revealed that this response is mediated by one set of taste sensilla, the sensilla styloconica. Electrophysiological tip recordings revealed two neurons in the lateral sensillum styloconicum that are sensitive to gluconasturtiin. These neurons show significantly higher firing frequencies with 4 mM gluconasturtiin added to the recording pipette than for recording solution alone. We propose that the sensitivity to gluconasturtiin shown by these two taste neurons is an important contributor to the animals’ behavioral preference for this compound.

Keywords

Insect Taste receptors Host recognition Glucosinolate Brassicacaeae 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

KCl

Potassium chloride

L1

lateral-1

L2

lateral-2

L3

lateral-3

L4

lateral-4

LSD

Least significant difference

M1

medial-1

M2

medial-2

M3

medial-3

M4

medial-4

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol I. Miles
    • 1
  • Marta L. del Campo
    • 1
  • J. Alan A. Renwick
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBinghamton UniversityBinghamtonUSA
  2. 2.Boyce Thompson InstituteIthacaUSA

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