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Host location in Oomyzus gallerucae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an egg parasitoid of the elm leaf beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

Abstract

Eggs of the elm leaf beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola are often heavily attacked by the chalcidoid wasp Oomyzus gallerucae. We studied the chemical signals mediating interactions between the egg parasitoid, its host, and the plant Ulmus campestris. Olfactometer bioassays with O. gallerucae showed that volatiles of the host-plant complex attract the parasitoid. In order to determine the source of attractive volatiles within this host-plant-complex, we tested separately the effect of odours of eggs, gravid elm leaf beetle females, faeces of the beetles and elm twigs (with undamaged leaves and leaves damaged either mechanically or by feeding of the beetles). Odours of faeces of the elm leaf beetle were attractive, whereas neither volatiles from eggs nor from gravid females acted as attractants. Volatiles from undamaged or damaged plants did not elicit a positive reaction in O. gallerucae, whereas volatiles from feeding-damaged plants onto which host eggs had been deposited were attractive. This latter result suggests that it is not feeding but deposition of host eggs onto elm leaves that induces the production of plant volatiles attractive to the egg parasitoid. Investigations of the search patterns of O. gallerucae within the habitat by laboratory bioassays revealed that the egg parasitoid encounters host eggs by chance. Contact kairomones from faeces were demonstrated to be important in microhabitat acceptance, while contact kairomones isolated from the host eggs are relevant for host recognition.

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Received: 12 February 1997 / Accepted: 29 April 1997

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Meiners, T., Hilker, M. Host location in Oomyzus gallerucae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an egg parasitoid of the elm leaf beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Oecologia 112, 87–93 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004420050287

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  • Key words Egg parasitoids
  • Microhabitat acceptance
  • Host finding
  • Kairomones
  • Induced defence