, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 447–457 | Cite as

Changes in plant growth and seed production in wild lima bean in response to herbivory are attenuated by parasitoids

  • Maximilien A. C. Cuny
  • Johanna Gendry
  • Johnattan Hernández-Cumplido
  • Betty Benrey
Special Topic: From Plants to Herbivores


Lima bean plants (Phaseolus lunatus) exhibit compensatory growth responses to herbivory. Among the various factors that have been identified to affect plant compensatory growth are the extent and type of tissue damage, the herbivore’s feeding mode and the time of damage. Another factor that can greatly impact plant responses to herbivory, but has been largely ignored in previous studies, is the action of parasitoids. In most cases, parasitoids halt or slow down the development of herbivorous hosts, which, can result in decreased leaf damage, thereby affecting plant responses and ultimately plant fitness. Here, we investigated the effects of two koinobiont parasitoids on the amount of leaf damage inflicted by the Southern armyworm Spodoptera latifascia to wild lima bean, and the consequences of this for plant growth and seed production in the field. We specifically tested the hypothesis that the action of parasitoids will reduce plant damage and that this reduction will alter plant growth responses and seed production. Indeed, we found that in the presence of parasitoids plants suffered less damage than plants with only herbivores. As a consequence, compensatory growth was reduced and more and heavier seeds were produced earlier in the season, compared to plants exposed to only herbivores.


Compensation Plant response Parasitoid-mediated Beans Seed output 



We thank Xoaquin Moreira for advice on statistical analysis, Christer Hansson for the determination of Euplectrus platyhypenae, Thomas Degen for the drawings presented in the graphs and Alfredo López-Rojas, Quint Rusman, Stéphanie Morelon, Yasmin Emery and William K. Petry for their help in the field. We thank Ted Turlings for helpful advice and discussions during this study and the Universidad del Mar of Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca, Mexico) for logistic support and infrastructure. We are grateful to Caroline Mueller, Jeff Harvey and an anonymous reviewer for their many constructive and insightful comments that helped improve this manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This research was financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Project No. 3100AO-10923) awarded to BB.

Author contribution statement

BB originally formulated the idea, MACC, JG, JHC and BB designed the experiments, MACC, JG and JHC conducted fieldwork, MACC analyzed the data, MACC and BB wrote the manuscript.

Supplementary material

442_2018_4119_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (174 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 174 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maximilien A. C. Cuny
    • 1
  • Johanna Gendry
    • 1
  • Johnattan Hernández-Cumplido
    • 1
    • 2
  • Betty Benrey
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biology, Laboratory of Evolutionary EntomologyUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecologia y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)Mexico CityMexico

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