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J Chem Ecol. 2007 Apr;33(4):767-79. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

A Comparison of Semiochemically Mediated Interactions Involving Specialist and Generalist Brassica-feeding Aphids and the Braconid Parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae.

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Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK.


Diaeretiella rapae, a parasitoid that predominately specializes in the parasitism of Brassica-feeding aphids, attacks Lipaphis erysimi, a specialist feeding aphid of the Brassicaceae and other families in the Capparales, at a greater rate than the generalist-feeding aphid, Myzus persicae. In this study, we investigated the orientation behavior of D. rapae to the volatile chemicals produced when these two aphid species feed on turnip (Brassica rapa var rapifera). We showed no significant preference orientation behavior to either aphid/turnip complex over the other. Isothiocyanates are among the compounds emitted by plants of the Brassicaceae in response to insect feeding damage, including by aphids. We assessed parasitoid orientation behavior in response to laboratory-formulated isothiocyanates. We tested two formulations and discovered significant orientation toward 3-butenyl isothiocyanate. We also assessed plant and aphid glucosinolate content, and showed large levels of glucosinolate concentration in L. erysimi, whereas there was little change in plant content in response to aphid feeding. Our results suggest that during the process of host location, similar cues may be utilized for locating L. erysimi and M. persicae, whereas the acceptance of hosts and their suitability may involve aspects of nonvolatile aphid chemistry.

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