Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 739-757

First online:

Exploitation of the Fecal Shield of the Lily Leaf Beetle, Lilioceris lilii (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), by the Specialist Parasitoid Lemophagus pulcher (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

  • Urs SchaffnerAffiliated withCABI Bioscience Centre, 1 Chemin des Grillons Email author 
  • , Caroline MüllerAffiliated withCABI Bioscience Centre, 1 Chemin des GrillonsInstitute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, Leiden University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


We investigated signal sources used by the parasitoid Lemophagus pulcher in locating and accepting larvae of its host, the lily leaf beetle, Lilioceris lilii. Olfactometer bioassays revealed that larvae with fecal shields, larvae without shields, the shield alone, and lily leaves damaged by L. lilii were all attractive to female parasitoids. In contact bioassays, L. pulcher females were attracted to shields and showed ovipositor probing independently of whether the larva underneath was L. lilii or a nonhost, suggesting that the shield plays a primary role in short-range host location and host acceptance by L. pulcher. The attractiveness of the shield is at least partly of a chemical nature, since shield extracts applied to dummies increased contact duration and induced ovipositor probing by L. pulcher. Another putative defense system of L. lilii, i.e., oral discharge which is emitted by disturbed larvae, was also attractive to experienced, but not to naive, female parasitoids. In all other tests, naive and experienced female L. pulcher responded to the same signal sources tested, suggesting that the host-selection behavior of this biological control candidate is governed largely by innate responses to host-associated cues.

Lemophagus pulcher Lilioceris lilii host selection behavior larval shield feces biological control