How oilseed rape (Brassica napus) genotype influences pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus) oviposition
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Oviposition of phytophagous insects is determined either by adaptive behaviours allowing evaluation and response to host plant quality and/or by nutritional constraints occurring during oogenesis. Besides differences found among host plant species, plant intraspecific diversity can also affect insect oviposition. However, to date few studies have extensively investigated the factors accounting for the effect of this intraspecific variation. We addressed this question using oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and the pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus), a phytophagous insect that uses the same plants and plant organs both for feeding and laying eggs. Our objectives were to test for a genotypic effect of oilseed rape on pollen beetle oviposition and identify the origin of the possible intergenotypic differences. We tested three hypotheses: oviposition is directly linked to (1) the amount of food eaten; (2) the nutritional quality of the food eaten; (3) a preference of females for certain plant genotypes. Results showed intergenotypic differences in both the number and the size of eggs laid. The factor that best accounted for most of these differences was the amount of food eaten. Nutritional quality of the pollen was of minor importance and females exhibited no preference among genotypes. These results reveal the importance of adult feeding on subsequent oviposition in phytophagous insects, an often neglected factor which partly determines the amount of energy available for oogenesis. Taking into account this factor may be of crucial importance in studies conducted on synovogenic insect species feeding on the same plant on which they lay eggs.
KeywordsOviposition Plant intraspecific variation Oogenesis Feeding stimulation
We are very grateful to Antoine Gravot for his stimulating remarks about plant biochemistry, to Maria Manzanares-Dauleux for her valuable comments on the study, to Céline Josso, Sonia Dourlot, Christine Lariagon and Anne Boudier for their help during bud dissections, to Sophie Rolland for her help during starch content quantification, to Muriel Escadeillas for the elemental analysis, to Dennis Webb for English improvement and to the UMR IGEPP glasshouse team for taking care of the plants used in this study. Metabolic analyses were performed on the P2M2 platform (Le Rheu, France), except elemental analysis which was performed on the CRMPO platform (Rennes, France). Maxime Hervé was supported by a CJS grant from the French National Institute of Agronomical Research.
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