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Effects of Banana Plantation Pesticides on the Immune Response of Lepidopteran Larvae and Their Parasitoid Natural Enemies
Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89501, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 May 2012; in revised form: 28 May 2012 / Accepted: 18 June 2012 / Published: 27 June 2012
Abstract: Basic research on the insect immune response has progressed dramatically within the last two decades, showing that immunity is one of the most effective defenses against foreign invaders. As such, it is important to understand the causes of variation in this response. Here, we investigate the effects of pesticides used in Costa Rican banana plantations on the immune response of the lepidopteran larva, Caligo memnon (Brassolinae). In addition, we performed a parasitism survey of the banana plantations and surrounding forests to provide a broader assessment of pesticide effects on parasitoid populations. All caterpillars for the immune assay were collected from two banana plantations and brought to La Selva Biology Station for immune challenge. Individuals were fed leaves from the plantations (pesticide) or leaves from La Selva (pesticide-free), then immune challenged with injected sephadex beads. We found that individuals feeding on pesticide leaves had significantly lower bead melanization compared to individuals feeding on pesticide-free leaves. Nonetheless, the parasitism survey showed that caterpillars from the banana plantations had lower parasitism rates compared to caterpillars from the La Selva forest. This study adds to the growing body of evidence documenting negative effects of pesticides on the insect immune response and on adult parasitoids, and underscores the need for more research at the intersection between ecological entomology and immunology.
Keywords: immune; insect; parasitism; pesticides; banana; caterpillar; melanization; parasitoid; Bayesian; ecology
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Smilanich, A.M.; Dyer, L.A. Effects of Banana Plantation Pesticides on the Immune Response of Lepidopteran Larvae and Their Parasitoid Natural Enemies. Insects 2012, 3, 616-628.
Smilanich AM, Dyer LA. Effects of Banana Plantation Pesticides on the Immune Response of Lepidopteran Larvae and Their Parasitoid Natural Enemies. Insects. 2012; 3(3):616-628.
Smilanich, Angela M.; Dyer, Lee A. 2012. "Effects of Banana Plantation Pesticides on the Immune Response of Lepidopteran Larvae and Their Parasitoid Natural Enemies." Insects 3, no. 3: 616-628.