Abstract: Plants are challenged by both above- and belowground herbivores which may indirectly interact with each other via herbivore-induced changes in plant traits; however, little is known about how genetic variation of the host plant shapes such interactions. We used two genotypes (M4 and E9) of Solanum dulcamara (Solanaceae) with or without previous experience of aboveground herbivory by Spodoptera exigua (Noctuidae) to quantify its effects on subsequent root herbivory by Agriotes spp. (Elateridae). In the genotype M4, due to the aboveground herbivory, shoot and root biomass was significantly decreased, roots had a lower C/N ratio and contained significantly higher levels of proteins, while the genotype E9 was not affected. However, aboveground herbivory had no effects on weight gain or mortality of the belowground herbivores. Root herbivory by Agriotes increased the nitrogen concentration in the roots of M4 plants leading to a higher weight gain of conspecific larvae. Also, in feeding bioassays, Agriotes larvae tended to prefer roots of M4 over E9, irrespective of the aboveground herbivore treatment. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) documented differences in metabolic profiles of the two plant genotypes and of the roots of M4 plants after aboveground herbivory. Together, these results demonstrate that previous aboveground herbivory can have genotype-specific effects on quantitative and qualitative root traits. This may have consequences for belowground interactions, although generalist root herbivores might not be affected when the root biomass offered is still sufficient for growth and survival.
Abstract: Despite the sanitary importance of the European house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Trouessart, 1897), the pheromonal communication in this species has not been sufficiently studied. Headspace analysis using solid phase micro extraction (SPME) revealed that nerol, neryl formate, pentadecane, (6Z,9Z)-6,9-heptadecadiene, and (Z)-8-heptadecene are released by both sexes whereas neryl propionate was released by males only. Tritonymphs did not produce any detectable volatiles. In olfactometer experiments, pentadecane and neryl propionate were attractive to both sexes as well as to tritonymphs. (Z)-8-heptadecene was only attractive to male mites. Therefore it is discussed that pentadecane and neryl propionate are aggregation pheromones and (Z)-8-heptadecene is a sexual pheromone of the European house dust mite D. pteronyssinus. To study the potential use of pheromones in dust mite control, long-range olfactometer experiments were conducted showing that mites can be attracted to neryl propionate over distances of at least 50 cm. This indicates that mite pheromones might be useable to monitor the presence or absence of mites in the context of control strategies.
Abstract: Free-flying honeybees acquire color information differently depending upon whether a target color is learnt in isolation (absolute conditioning), or in relation to a perceptually similar color (differential conditioning). Absolute conditioning allows for rapid learning, but color discrimination is coarse. Differential conditioning requires more learning trials, but enables fine discriminations. Currently it is unknown whether differential conditioning to similar colors in honeybees forms a long-term memory, and the stability of memory in a biologically relevant scenario considering similar or saliently different color stimuli. Individual free-flying honeybees (N = 6) were trained to similar color stimuli separated by 0.06 hexagon units for 60 trials and mean accuracy was 81.7% ± 12.2% s.d. Bees retested on subsequent days showed a reduction in the number of correct choices with increasing time from the initial training, and for four of the bees this reduction was significant from chance expectation considering binomially distributed logistic regression models. In contrast, an independent group of 6 bees trained to saliently different colors (>0.14 hexagon units) did not experience any decay in memory retention with increasing time. This suggests that whilst the bees’ visual system can permit fine discriminations, flowers producing saliently different colors are more easily remembered by foraging bees over several days.
Abstract: The increasing concern over the continued use of pesticides is pressurising apple growers to look for alternatives to chemical pest control. The re-discovery, and subsequent conservation, of the beneficial predatory mite, Anystis baccarum (Linnaeus) (Acari: Anystidae), in Bramley apple orchards in Northern Ireland offers a potential alternative control component for incorporation into integrated pest management strategies. Anystis baccarum readily feeds upon economically important invertebrate pest species including European fruit tree red spider mite, Panonychus ulmi (Koch) (Acari: Tetranychidae) and show a level of compatibility with chemical pesticides. Recent mis-identification by apple growers of this beneficial mite species had resulted in unnecessary pesticide applications being applied within Northern Irish apple orchards. However, dissemination of information to the apple growers and promotion of the benefits this mite offers in apple orchards has helped to conserve its populations. Apple growers, across the United Kingdom, must be encouraged to be aware of A. baccarum, and indeed all predatory fauna, within their orchards and seek to conserve populations. In doing so, it will ensure that the British apple market remains an environmentally sustainable production system.
Abstract: The sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) continues to be a serious threat to crops worldwide. The UK holds Protected Zone status against this pest and, as a result, B. tabaci entering on plant material is subjected to a policy of eradication. There has recently been a shift from Middle East-Asia Minor 1 to the more chemical resistant Mediterranean species entering the UK. Predatory mites (Amblyseius swirskii, Transeius montdorensis and Typhlodromalus limonicus) were screened for their impact upon various lifestages of B. tabaci Mediterranean species. Approximately 30% of eggs were fed upon by A. swirskii following a 5 day period. Feeding rates slightly decreased for all mite species when feeding on first instar life-stages (27%, 24%, 16% respectively) and significantly decreased when feeding on second instars (8.5%, 8.5%, 8.7% respectively). Combining the two mite species (A. swirskii and T. montdorensis) increased mortality of Bemisia eggs to 36%. The potential of incorporating the mites into existing control strategies for B. tabaci is discussed.
Abstract: The lack of an effective pheromone lure has made it difficult to monitor and manage the navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in the economically important crops in which it is the primary insect pest. A series of experiments was conducted to demonstrate and characterize a practical synthetic pheromone lure for capturing navel orangeworm males. Traps baited with lures prepared with 1 or 2 mg of a three- or four-component formulation captured similar numbers of males. The fluctuation over time in the number of males captured in traps baited with the pheromone lure correlated significantly with males captured in female-baited traps. Traps baited with the pheromone lure usually did not capture as many males as traps baited with unmated females, and the ratio of males trapped with pheromone to males trapped with females varied between crops and with abundance. The pheromone lure described improves the ability of pest managers to detect and monitor navel orangeworm efficiently and may improve management and decrease insecticide treatments applied as a precaution against damage. Awareness of differences between male interaction with the pheromone lure and calling females, as shown in these data, will be important as further studies and experience determine how best to use this lure for pest management.