Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 69–89 | Cite as

Qualitative and Quantitative Variation Among Volatile Profiles Induced by Tetranychus urticae Feeding on Plants from Various Families

  • Cindy E. M. Van Den Boom
  • Teris A. Van Beek
  • Maarten A. Posthumus
  • Aede De Groot
  • Marcel Dicke


Many plant species are known to emit herbivore-induced volatiles in response to herbivory. The spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch is a generalist that can feed on several hundreds of host plant species. Volatiles emitted by T. urticae-infested plants of 11 species were compared: soybean (Glycine max), golden chain (Laburnum anagyroides), black locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), eggplant (Solanum melalonga), thorn apple (Datura stramonium), sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum), hop (Humulus lupulus), grapevine (Vitis vinifera), and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). The degree to which the plant species produced novel compounds was analyzed when compared to the odors of mechanically damaged leaves. Almost all of the investigated plant species produced novel compounds that dominated the volatile blend, such as methyl salicylate, terpenes, oximes, and nitriles. Only spider mite-infested eggplant and tobacco emitted a blend that was merely quantitatively different from the blend emitted by mechanically damaged or clean leaves. We hypothesized that plant species with a low degree of direct defense would produce more novel compounds. However, although plant species with a low direct defense level do use indirect defense to defend themselves, they do not always emit novel compounds. Plant species with a high level of direct defense seem to invest in the production of novel compounds. When plant species of the Fabaceae were compared to plant species of the Solanaceae, qualitative differences in spider mite-induced volatile blends seemed to be more prominent in the Fabaceae than in the Solanaceae.

Headspace analysis variation Fabaceae Solanaceae specificity herbivore-induced plant volatiles mites Phytoseiulus persimilis methyl salicylate 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agelopoulos,N. G. and Keller,M. A. 1994. Plant-natural enemy association in the tritrophic system, Cotesia rubecula-Pieris rapa-Brassicaceae (Crucifera). III: Collection and identification of plant and frass volatiles. J. Chem. Ecol. 20:1955-1967.Google Scholar
  2. Baldwin,I. T. 1999. Functional interactions in the use of direct and indirect defences in native Nicotiana plants, pp. 74-87, in D. J. Chadwick and J. Goode (eds.) Insect–Plant Interactions and Induced Plant Defence (Novartis foundation Symposium 223). Wiley, Chicester, UK.Google Scholar
  3. Blaakmeer,A., Geervliet,J. B. F., Van Loon,J. J. A., Posthumus,M. A., Van Beek,T. A., and De Groot,A. E. 1994. Comparative headspace analysis of cabbage plants damaged by two species of Pieris caterpillars: consequences for in-flight host location by Cotesia parasitoids. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 73:175-182.Google Scholar
  4. Boland,W., Hopke,J., Donath,J., NÜske,J., and Bublitz,F. 1995. Jasmonic acid and coronatin induce odor production in plants. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 34:1600-1602.Google Scholar
  5. Boland,W., Koch,T., Krumm,T., Piel,J., and Jux,A. 1999. Induced biosynthesis of insect semiochemicals in plants, pp. 110-126, in D. J. Chadwick and J. Goode (eds.) Insect–Plant Interactions and Induced Plant Defence (Novartis Foundation Symposium 223). Wiley, Chicester, UK.Google Scholar
  6. Bolter,C. J., Dicke,M., Loon,J. J. A., Van, Visser,J. H., and Posthumus,M. A., 1997. Attraction of colorado potato beetle to herbivore-damaged plants during herbivory and after its termination. J. Chem. Ecol. 23:1003-1023.Google Scholar
  7. Bouwmeester,H. J., Verstappen,F., Posthumus,M. A., and Dicke,M. 1999. Spider-mite induced (3S)-(E)-nerolidol synthase activity in cucumber and Lima bean. The first dedicated step in acyclic C11-homoterpene biosynthesis. Plant Physiol. 121:173-180Google Scholar
  8. Degenhardt,J. and Gershenzon,J. 2000. Demonstration and characterization of (E)-nerolidol synthase from maize: A herbivore-inducible terpene synthase participating in (3E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene biosynthesis. Planta 210:815-822.Google Scholar
  9. De Moraes,C. M., Lewis,W. J., Paré,P. W., Alborn,H. T., and Tumlinson,J. H. 1998. Herbivore-infested plants selectively attract parasitoids. Nature 393:570-573.Google Scholar
  10. Dicke,M. 1999a. Are herbivore-induced plant volatiles reliable indicators of herbivore identity to foraging carnivorous arthropods? Entomol. Exp. Appl. 91:131-142.Google Scholar
  11. Dicke,M. 1999b. Evolution of induced indirect defense of plants, pp. 62-88, in R. Tollrian and C. D. Harvell (eds.) The Ecology and Evolution of Inducible Defenses. Princeton University press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  12. Dicke,M., Gols,R., Ludeking,D., and Posthumus,M. A. 1999. Jasmonic acid and herbivory differentially induce carnivore-attracting plant volatiles in lima bean plants. J. Chem. Ecol. 25:1907-1922.Google Scholar
  13. Dicke,M. and Sabelis,M. W. 1988. Infochemical terminology: Based on cost-benefit analysis rather than origin of compounds? Funct. Ecol. 2:131-139.Google Scholar
  14. Dicke,M., Takabayashi,J., Posthumus,M. A., SchÜtte,C., and Krips,O. E. 1998. Plant-phytoseiid interactions mediated by herbivore-induced plant volatiles: Variation in production of cues and in responses of predatory mites. Exp. Appl. Acarol. 22:311-333.Google Scholar
  15. Dicke,M., Van Beek,T. A., Posthumus,M. A., Dom,N. B., Van Bokhoven,H., and De Groot,A. E., 1990. Isolation and identification of volatile kairomone that effects acarine predator-prey interactions: Involvement of host plant in its production. J. Chem. Ecol. 16:381–396.Google Scholar
  16. Du,Y., Poppy,G. M., Powell,W., Pickett,J. A., Wadhams,L. J., and Woodcock,C. M. 1998. Identification of semiochemicals released during aphid feeding that attract parasitoid Aphidius ervi. J. Chem. Ecol. 24:1355-1368.Google Scholar
  17. Fritzsche-Hoballah,M. E., Tamò,C., and Turlings,T. C. J. 2002. Differential attractiveness of induced odors emitted by eight maize varieties for the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris: Is quality or quantity important? J. Chem. Ecol. 28:951-968.Google Scholar
  18. Guerrieri,E., Poppy,G. M., Powell,W., Tremblay,E., and Pennacchio,F. 1999. Induction and systemic release of herbivore-induced plant volatiles mediating in-flight orientation of Aphidius ervi. J. Chem. Ecol. 25:1247-1261.Google Scholar
  19. Kahl,J., Siemens,D. H., Aerts,R. J., Gábler,R., Kühnemann,F., Preston,C. A., and Baldwin,I. T., 2000. Herbivore-induced ethylene suppresses a direct defense but not a putative indirect defense against an adapted herbivore. Planta 210:336-342.Google Scholar
  20. Kaiser,R. 1993. On the scent of orchids, pp. 240-268, in R. Teranishi et al. (eds.) Bioactive Volatile Compounds from Plants (ACS Symposium Series 525). Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  21. Karban,R. and Baldwin,I. T. 1997. Induced Responses to Herbivory. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 300pp.Google Scholar
  22. Kessler,A. and Baldwin,I. T. 2001. Defensive function of herbivore-induced plant volatile emissions in nature. Science 291:2141-2144.Google Scholar
  23. Krips,O. E., Willems,P. E. L., Gols,R., Posthumus,M. A., and Dicke,M. 1999. The response of Phytoseiulus persimilis to spider mite-induced volatiles from gerbera: Influence of starvation and experience. J. Chem. Ecol. 12:2623-2641.Google Scholar
  24. Malamy,J., Sánchez-Casas,P., Hennig,J., Guo,A., and Klessig,D. F. 1996. Dissection of the salicylic acid signalling pathway in tobacco. Am. Phytopathol. Soc. 6:474-482.Google Scholar
  25. Metraux,J. P., Signer,H., Ryals,J., Ward,E., Wyss-Benz,M., Gaudin,J., Raschdorf,K., Schmid,E., Blum,W., and Inverardi,B. 1990. Increase in salicylic acid at the onset of systemic acquired resistance in cucumber. Science 250:1004-1006.Google Scholar
  26. Moran,P. J. and Thompson,G. A. 2001. Molecular responses to aphid feeding in Arabidopsis in relation to plant defense pathways. Plant Physiol. 125:1074-1085.Google Scholar
  27. Nordlund,D. A. and Lewis,W. J. 1976. Terminology of chemical releasing stimuli in intraspecific and interspecific interactions. J. Chem. Ecol. 2:211-220.Google Scholar
  28. Ozawa,R., Arimura,G., Takabayashi,J., Shimoda,T., and Nishioka,T. 2000. Involvement of jasmonate-and salicylate-related signaling pathways for the production of specific herbivore-induced volatiles in plants. Plant Cell Physiol. 41:391-398.Google Scholar
  29. Paré,P. W. and Tumlinson,J. H. 1997. De novo biosynthesis of volatiles induced by insect herbivory in cotton plants. Plant Physiol. 114:1161-1167.Google Scholar
  30. Ryals,J., Lawton,K. A., Delaney,T. P., Friedrich,L., Kessmann,H., Neuenschwander,U., Uknes,S., Vernooij,B., and Weymann,K. 1995. Signal transduction in systemic acquired resistance. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 92:4202-4205.Google Scholar
  31. Sabelis,M. W. and Van De Baan,H. E., 1983. Location of distant spider mite colonies by phytoseiid predators: Demonstration of specific kairomones emitted by Tetranychus urticae and Panonychus ulmi. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 33:303-314.Google Scholar
  32. Scutareanu,P., Drukker,B., Bruin,J. Posthumus,M. A., and Sabelis,M. W. 1997. Volatiles from Psylla-infested pear trees and their possible involvement in attraction of anthocorid predators. J. Chem. Ecol. 23:2241-2260.Google Scholar
  33. Shimoda,T. and Dicke,M. 2000. Attraction of a predator to chemical information related to nonprey: When can it be adaptive? Behav. Ecol. 6:606-613.Google Scholar
  34. Shiojiri,K., Takabayashi,J., Yano,S., and Takafuji,A. 2001. Infochemically mediated tritrophic interaction webs on cabbage plants. Popul. Ecol. 43:23-29.Google Scholar
  35. Shulaev,V., Silverman,P., and Raskin,I. 1997. Airborne signalling by methyl salicylate in plant pathogen resistance. Nature 385:718-721.Google Scholar
  36. Steinberg,S., Dicke,M., and Vet,L. E. M., 1993. Relative importance of infochemicals from first and second trophic level in long-range host location by the larval parasitoid Cotesia glomerata. J. Chem. Ecol. 19:47-59.Google Scholar
  37. Takabayashi,J., Dicke,M., and Posthumus,M. A. 1991. Variation in composition of predator attracting allelochemicals emitted by herbivore-infested plants: Relative influence of plant and herbivore. Chemoecology 2:1-6.Google Scholar
  38. Takabayashi,J., Dicke,M., and Posthumus,M. A. 1994a. Volatile herbivore-induced terpenoids in plant–mite interactions: Variation caused by biotic and abiotic factors. J. Chem. Ecol. 20:1329-1354.Google Scholar
  39. Takabayashi,J., Dicke,M., Takahashi,S., Posthumus,M. A., and Beek,T. A. Van 1994b. Leaf age affects composition of herbivore-induced synomones and attraction of predatory mites. J. Chem. Ecol. 20:373-386.Google Scholar
  40. Thaler,J. S., Farag,M. A., Paré,P. W., and Dicke,M., 2002. Jasmonate-deficient plants have reduced direct and indirect defences against herbivores. Ecol. Lett. 5:764-774.Google Scholar
  41. Turlings,T. C. J., Loughrin,J. H., Mccall,P. J., Rose,U. S. R., Lewis,W. J., and Tumlinson,J. H. 1995. How caterpillar-damaged plants protect themselves by attracting parasitic wasps. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 92:4169-4174.Google Scholar
  42. Turlings,T. C. J., Wáckers,F. L., Vet,L. E. M., Lewis,W. J., and Tumlinson,J. H. 1993. Learning of host-finding cues by Hymenopterous parasitoids, pp. 51-78, in D. R. Papaj and A. C. Lewis (eds.) Insect Learning. Chapman and Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  43. Van Den Boom,C. E. M., Van Beek,T. A., and Dicke,M. 2002. Attraction of Phytoseiulus persimilis towards volatiles from various Tetranychus urticae-infested plant species. Bull. Entomol. Res. 96:539-546.Google Scholar
  44. Van Den Boom,C. E. M., Van Beek,T. A., and Dicke,M. 2003. Differences among plant species in acceptance by the spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch. J. Appl. Entomol. 127: 177–183.Google Scholar
  45. Van Poecke,R. M. P., Posthumus,M. A., and Dicke,M. 2001. Herbivore-induced volatile production by Arabidopsis thaliana leads to attraction of the parasitoid Cotesia rubecula: Chemical, behavioral, and gene-expression analysis. J. Chem. Ecol. 27:1911-1928.Google Scholar
  46. Walling,L. L., 2000. The myriad plant responses to herbivores. J. Plant Growth Regul. 19:19–216.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy E. M. Van Den Boom
    • 1
  • Teris A. Van Beek
    • 1
  • Maarten A. Posthumus
    • 1
  • Aede De Groot
    • 1
  • Marcel Dicke
    • 2
  1. 1.Phytochemical Section, Laboratory of Organic ChemistryWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Laboratory of EntomologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations