Direct Defense or Ecological Costs: Responses of Herbivorous Beetles to Volatiles Released by Wild Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus)
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In response to feeding damage, Lima bean releases herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPV), which are generally assumed to attract carnivorous arthropods as an indirect defense. While many studies have focused on such tritrophic interactions, few have investigated effects of HIPV on herbivores. I used natural herbivores of wild Lima bean and studied their responses to jasmonic acid-induced plants in an olfactometer and in feeding trials. Both Cerotoma ruficornis and Gynandrobrotica guerreroensis (Chrysomelidae) significantly preferred control plants to induced ones in the olfactometer, and they avoided feeding on induced plants. In contrast, Curculionidae significantly preferred HIPV of the induced plant to those of the control in one plant pair and did not choose in the case of a second pair. In feeding trials, no choice occurred in the first plant pair, while control leaves were preferred in the second. Release of HIPV deterred Chrysomelid herbivores and, thus, acted as a direct defense. This may be an important addition to indirect defensive effects. Whether or not HIPV released by induced plants attracted herbivorous Curculionidae, thus incurring ecological costs, varied among plants. Such differences could be related to various HIPV blends released by individual plants.
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