Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1735–1748 | Cite as

Plant-natural enemy association in the tritrophic systemCotesia rubecula-Pieris rapae-brassicaceae (cruciferae): II. Preference ofC. rubecula for landing and searching

  • Nicky G. Agelopoulos
  • Michael A. Keller


The responses of the parasitoidCotesia rubecula to differently damaged cabbages were recorded during a series of choice tests. To determine if flyingC. rubecula can discriminate differences in the blend of volatiles emitted by cabbages damaged by different causes and how plant volatiles released from a distant source affect the searching behavior ofC. rubecula once searching on a plant, wasps were presented with a choice of plants located one behind the other and separated by a distance of 15 cm. The sources of damage were: cabbage damaged by the host (Pieris rapae), by a nonhost lepidopteran herbivore (Plutella xylostella), by a nonhost, noninsect herbivore (snail), and by mechanical means. The results showed that the site of first landing and the time spent searching on the leaves was influenced by the type of damage inflicted on plants. Wasps preferred to land on cabbages damaged by host and nonhost species of Lepidoptera over those damaged by snails and mechanical means. No preference was observed for first landing between cabbages damaged by the two species of Lepidoptera or between cabbages damaged by snails and mechanical means. Cabbage damaged byP. rapae was searched most intensively, followed by cabbage damaged byP. xylostella, cabbage damaged by snails, and cabbage damaged by mechanical means.C. rubecula differentiates between the volatile blends emitted by differently damaged cabbages, and it is attracted to volatiles related to recent lepidopteran damage. Wasps searched longer on freshly damaged than on leaves with older damage.

Key Words

Cotesia rubecula Hymenoptera Braconidae Lepidoptera Pieridae Plutellidae Pieris rapae Plutella xylostella Helix aspera Brassica oleracea Phaseolus vulgaris tritrophic interactions synomones infochemicals 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agelopoulos, N.G., andKeller, M.A. 1994. Plant-natural enemy association in the tritrophic system,Cotesia rubecula-Pieris rapae-Brassicaceae (Cruciferae). I. Sources of infochemicals.J. Chem. Ecol. 20:1725–1734.Google Scholar
  2. Auger, J., Lecompte, C., Paris, J., andThibout, E. 1989. Identification of leek-moth and diamondback-moth frass volatiles that stimulate parasitoid,Diadromus pulchellus.J. Chem. Ecol. 15:1392–1398.Google Scholar
  3. Dicke, M., andTakabayashi, J. 1991. Specificity of induced indirect defence of plants against herbivores.Redia 17(3):105–113.Google Scholar
  4. Dicke, M., Van Beek, T.A., Posthumus, M.A., Ben Dom, N., Van Bokhoven, H., andDe Groot, A.E. 1990a. Isolation and identification of volatile kairomone that affects acarine predator-prey interactions: involvement of host plant in its production.J. Chem. Ecol. 16:381–398.Google Scholar
  5. Dicke, M., Sabelis, M.W., Takabayashi, J., Bruin, J., andPosthumus, M.A. 1990b. Plant strategies of manipulating predator-prey interactions through allelochemicals: Prospects for application in pest control.J. Chem. Ecol. 16:3091–3118.Google Scholar
  6. Kaiser, L., andCardé, R.T. 1992. In-flight orientation to volatiles from the plant-host complex inCotesia rubecula (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Increased sensitivity through olfactory experience.Physiol. Entomol. 17:62–67.Google Scholar
  7. Keller, M.A. 1990. Responses of the parasitoidCotesia rubecula to its hostPieris rapae in a flight tunnel.Entomol. Exp. Appl. 57:243–249.Google Scholar
  8. Nealis, V.G. 1986. Responses to host kairomones and foraging behaviour of the insect parasiteCotesia rubecula (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).Can. J. Zool. 64:2393–2398.Google Scholar
  9. Noldus, L.P.J.J. 1991. The observer: A software system for collection and analysis of observational data.Behav. Res. Methods Instrum. Comp. 23:415–429.Google Scholar
  10. Price, P.W., Bouton, C.E., Gross, P., McPherson, B.A., Thompson, J.N., andWeis, A.E. 1980. Interactions among three trophic levels: influence of plants on interactions between insect herbivores and natural enemies.Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 11:41–65.Google Scholar
  11. Ramachandran, R., Norris, D.M., Phillips, J.K., andPhillips, T.W. 1991. Volatiles mediating plant-herbivore-natural enemies interactions: soybean looper frass volatiles, 3-octanone and guaiacol, as kairomones for the parasitoidMicroplitis demolitor.J. Agric. Food Chem. 39:2310–2317.Google Scholar
  12. Shenefelt, R.D. 1972. Braconidae 4, Microgasterinae,Apanteles, p. 615,in J. Van Der Vecht, and R.D. Shenefelt (eds.). Hymenopterum Catalogus, Vol. 7, W. Junk, The Hague, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  13. Steinberg, S., Dicke, M., andVet, L.E.M. 1993. Relative importance of infochemicals from first and second trophic level in long-range host location by the larval parasitoidCotesia glomerata.J. Chem. Ecol. 19:47–59.Google Scholar
  14. Thibout, E., Guillot, J.F., andAuger, J. 1993. Microorganisms are involved in the production of volatile kairomones affecting the host seeking behaviour ofDiadromus pulchellus, a parasitoid ofAcrolepiopsis assectella.Physiol. Entomol. 18:176–182.Google Scholar
  15. Turlings, T.C.J., Tumlinson, J.H., andLewis, W.J. 1990. Exploitation of herbivore-induced plant odours by host-seeking parasitic wasps.Science 250:1251–1253.Google Scholar
  16. Turlings, T.C.J., Tumlinson, J.H., andLewis, W.J. 1991. Isolation and identification of allelochemicals that attract the larval parasitoid,Cotesia marginiventris (Cresson), to the microhabitat of one of its hosts.J. Chem. Ecol. 17:2235–2251.Google Scholar
  17. Vet, L.E.M., Wäckers, F.L., andDicke, M. 1991. The reliability-detectability problem for foraging parasitoids: usability of 1st and 2nd level stimuli.Redia 17(3):115–119.Google Scholar
  18. Vinson, S.B. 1975. Biochemical coevolution between parasitoids and their hosts, pp. 14–36,in P.W. Price (ed.). Evolutionary Strategies of Parasitic Insects and Mites. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  19. Vinson, S.B. 1984. How parasitoids locate their hosts: A case of insect espionage, pp. 325–384,in T. Lewis (ed.). Insect communication. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Whitman, D.W., andEller, F.J. 1990. Parasitic wasps orient to green leaf volatiles.Chemoecology 1:69–75.Google Scholar
  21. Zanen, P.O., andCardé, R.T. 1991. Learning and the role of host-specific volatiles during inflight host-finding in the specialist parasitoidMicroplitis croceipes.Physiol. Entomol. 16:381–389.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicky G. Agelopoulos
    • 1
  • Michael A. Keller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop Protection Waite CampusUniversity of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia

Personalised recommendations