, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 265-272

Effects of chlorogenic acid- and tomatine-fed caterpillars on performance of an insect predator

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Two diet experiments addressed the effects of allelochemical-fed prey (Manduca sexta caterpillars), temperature, and gender on performance of the insect predator, Podisus maculiventris. Two of the major allelochemicals in tomato were used: chlorogenic acid and tomatine. Predator performance was negatively affected by both chlorogenic acid-fed and tomatine fed-prey, and there were allelochemical by thermal regime interactions for both. Relative consumption rate and growth rate decreased at the higher levels of tomatine at the warmer thermal regime (summer conditions) but were unaffected at the cooler thermal regime (spring conditions). At the cooler thermal regime, stadium duration was prolonged when the predators were given chlorogenic acid-fed prey, but at the warmer thermal regime there was no such effect. There were several effects of gender: biomass gained, food consumed, relative growth rate and efficiency of conversion of ingested food to biomass were higher for females than males. Furthermore, the effects of thermal regime and tomatine on food consumption and biomass gained differed for females and males. In general, the hypothesis that generalist insect predators may be a selective pressure shaping host plant range of insect herbivores was supported by these results. But the occurrence of allelochemical by thermal regime interactions means that it will be difficult to determine the relative importance of plant chemistry versus predators on patterns of feeding specialization by herbivores without taking into account a third factor, temperature.

Received: 20 March 1995 /Accepted: 2 August 1996