Your chemical coat tells me you are my delicacy: a predatory stink bug uses cuticular hydrocarbons to identify prey
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Extensive studies have shown that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are among the major cues that allow many insects to identify interspecific and intraspecific variation between individuals. CHCs often have mutually nonexclusive functions that can provide multiple types of signals, while their role in predator–prey interactions has received little attention. Here, we used a predatory stink bug, Zicrona caerulea (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), and one of its favorite flea beetle prey, Altica viridicyanea (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), to test the hypothesis that CHCs of prey are important chemical cues for a predator. Two-choice bioassays using dead beetles and glass dummies clearly indicated that the CHC profile of A. viridicyanea is the pivotal cue in prey identification for Z. caerulea. The results also suggested that the role of acoustic and visual cues can be ignored in prey recognition at close range.
KeywordsCuticular hydrocarbon Chemical cue Predation Prey preference Altica Zicrona
We thank Rui-E Nie and Ming-Xia Guo for assistance in field collecting and bioassays, anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and Elizabeth McHone for helpful comments and English editing. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31272302) awarded to H.J.X.
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