Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 116–125

Diet Quality Can Play a Critical Role in Defense Efficacy against Parasitoids and Pathogens in the Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia)

  • Minna Laurentz
  • Joanneke H. Reudler
  • Johanna Mappes
  • Ville Friman
  • Suvi Ikonen
  • Carita Lindstedt
Article

Abstract

Numerous herbivorous insect species sequester noxious chemicals from host plants that effectively defend against predators, and against parasitoids and pathogens. Sequestration of these chemicals may be expensive and involve a trade off with other fitness traits. Here, we tested this hypothesis. We reared Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia L.) larvae on plant diets containing low- and high-levels of iridoid glycosides (IGs) (mainly aucubin and catalpol) and tested: 1) whether IGs affect the herbivore’s defense against parasitoids (measured as encapsulation rate) and bacterial pathogens (measured as herbivore survival); 2) whether parasitoid and bacterial defenses interact; and 3) whether sequestration of the plant’s defense chemicals incurs any life history costs. Encapsulation rates were stronger when there were higher percentages of catalpol in the diet. Implanted individuals had greater amounts of IGs in their bodies as adults. This suggests that parasitized individuals may sequester more IGs, increase their feeding rate after parasitism, or that there is a trade off between detoxification efficiency and encapsulation rate. Larval survival after bacterial infection was influenced by diet, but probably not by diet IG content, as changes in survival did not correlate linearly with the levels of IGs in the diet. However, M. cinxia larvae with good encapsulation abilities were better defended against bacteria. We did not find any life history costs of diet IG concentration for larvae. These results suggest that the sequestering of plant defense chemicals can help herbivorous insects to defend against parasitoids.

Keywords

Aucubin Catalpol Chemical defense Encapsulation rate Immunological defense Iridoid glycosides Plantago lanceolata Serratia marcescens Tritrophic interactions 

Supplementary material

10886_2012_66_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Table S1Temperature and light conditions in the environmental chamber during the experiment (DOC 32 kb)
10886_2012_66_MOESM2_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Table S2Correlations between ig-levels and nutritional quality of the diets (DOC 40.0 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minna Laurentz
    • 1
  • Joanneke H. Reudler
    • 1
  • Johanna Mappes
    • 1
  • Ville Friman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Suvi Ikonen
    • 3
  • Carita Lindstedt
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Research, Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyThe Tinbergen BuildingOxfordUK
  3. 3.Department of BiosciencesUniversity of HelsinkiLammiFinland
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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