Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 29–34

Anti-insect effects of the gall wall of Baizongia pistaciae [L.], a gall-inducing aphid on Pistacia palaestina Boiss

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11829-009-9081-8

Cite this article as:
Martinez, JJ.I. Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2010) 4: 29. doi:10.1007/s11829-009-9081-8


The Enemy hypothesis is a theoretical framework for understanding the adaptive nature of galls induced in host plants by insects. Contrary to other gall inducing insects, like Cynipids or sawflies, this hypothesis has not been studied for the gall aphids on pistachio trees in the Middle East. Galls on plants are supposed to protect their inducers from other organisms, including herbivores feeding on the host plant and possibly feeding on the gall tissue. Assuming that among aphid enemies there are numerous insects which have to perforate the gall wall to access the aphids inside, determining whether the gall wall has anti-insect properties should be one of the first steps in dealing with this hypothesis. In the present research using Baizongia pistaciae [L.], an aphid that creates perfectly closed galls in Pistacia palaestina Boiss, laboratory experiments were first conducted on a herbivore, the stored grain pest, Tribolium castaneum Herbst, to assess chemical anti-insect activities of the gall tissue, and an effort was made to understand why these properties do not harm the aphids inside the gall. Addition of fresh gall tissue to food reduced the population growth of flour beetles. Non-polar organic extracts had contact toxicity for larvae of these insects, and an impact on the feeding preferences of the adults. These results indicate chemical anti-insect activities of the gall tissue. The research also reveals that the permeability of the gall wall to non-polar volatile compounds is important to the survival of the aphids inside the gall cavity. These findings do not allow us to reject the Enemy hypothesis in the gall-inducing aphids/Pistacia trees interactions.


Chemical defenseEnemy hypothesisFordiniHerbivoryIsraelMediterranean vegetationPlant–insect interaction

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, the Faculty of SciencesTel Hai Academic CollegeUpper GalileeIsrael