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J Chem Ecol. 2001 Jul;27(7):1355-72.

Comparison of cultivars of ornamental crop Gerbera jamesonii on production of spider mite-induced volatiles, and their attractiveness to the predator Phytoseiulus persimilis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


We investigated whether volatiles produced by spider mite-damaged plants of four gerbera cultivars differ in attractiveness to Phytoseiulus persimilis, a specialist predator of spider mites, and how the mite-induced odor blends differ in chemical composition. The gerbera cultivars differed in resistance, as expressed in terms of spider mite intrinsic rate of population increase (rm). In order of increasing resistance these were Sirtaki, Rondena, Fame, and Bianca. To correct for differences in damage inflicted on the cultivars, we developed a method to compare the attractiveness of the blends, based on the assumption that a larger amount of spider mite damage leads to higher attraction of P persimilis. Spider mite-induced volatiles of cultivars Rondena and Bianca were preferred over those of cultivar Sirtaki. Spider mite-induced volatiles of cultivars Sirtaki and Fame did not differ in attractiveness to P. persimilis. Sirtaki plants had a lower relative production of terpenes than the other three cultivars. This was attributed to a low production of cis-alpha-bergamotene, trans-alpha-bergamotene, trans-beta-bergamotene, and (E)-beta-farnesene. The emission of (E)-beta-ocimene and linalool was lower in Sirtaki and Fame leaves than in Bianca and Rondena. The importance of these chemical differences in the differential attraction of predatory mites is discussed.

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