Special Issue "Insect-Plant Interactions"


A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Paul A. Weston
School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences and Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia
Website: http://www.csu.edu.au/research/grahamcentre/people/participants/weston_paul.htm
E-Mail: pweston@csu.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 6933 4815
Interests: insect-plant interactions; insect behaviour and ecology; plant secondary chemistry; metabolomic profiling of plants; orientation mechanisms; modelling insect movement; biological control; phenological modelling; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding the interactions of insects with their plant hosts is fundamental to basic ecological studies as well as more practical endeavours aimed at lessening the impact of insect pests on crop production. The diversity of plant characteristics that mediate these interactions and the often intricate behavioural mechanisms used by insects to assess the suitability of plants as food for themselves or their offspring have led to great complexity, which is slowly being unraveled by scientists with a diversity of research specialisations. Recent advances in analytical chemistry instrumentation has enabled deeper insights into these complex relationships, and a better understanding of chemical signalling occurring in plants in response to attack by insects has facilitated research into ways to increase plant resistance to insect attack. The potential for climate change to disturb the balance of biochemical and ecological processes underlying these relationships is leading to innovative studies examining the impact of extreme environmental conditions on the interactions between insects and plants. For this special issue, we invite the submission of high quality original research papers and mini-reviews covering all aspects of insect-plant interactions.

Dr. Paul A. Weston
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Displaying article 1-7
p. 921-941
by , , , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(4), 921-941; doi:10.3390/insects5040921
Received: 8 August 2014; in revised form: 6 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 19 November 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect-Plant Interactions)
p. 793-804
by ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(4), 793-804; doi:10.3390/insects5040793
Received: 29 April 2014; in revised form: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 October 2014 / Published: 27 October 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect-Plant Interactions)
p. 805-817
by  and
Insects 2014, 5(4), 805-817; doi:10.3390/insects5040805
Received: 17 June 2014; in revised form: 26 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 27 October 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect-Plant Interactions)
p. 668-688
by , , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 668-688; doi:10.3390/insects5030668
Received: 31 March 2014; in revised form: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 12 September 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect-Plant Interactions)
p. 651-667
by , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 651-667; doi:10.3390/insects5030651
Received: 15 May 2014; in revised form: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 August 2014 / Published: 29 August 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect-Plant Interactions)
p. 539-563
by , ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(3), 539-563; doi:10.3390/insects5030539
Received: 13 May 2014; in revised form: 5 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 8 July 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect-Plant Interactions)
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p. 364-376
by ,  and
Insects 2014, 5(2), 364-376; doi:10.3390/insects5020364
Received: 19 March 2014; in revised form: 6 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 3 June 2014
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Genetic variation of the host plant species matters for interactions with above- and belowground herbivores
Authors: Dinesh Kafle and Susanne Wurst
Affiliations: Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences (DCPS), Institute of Biology, Functional Biodiversity, Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Str. 1-3, 14195 Berlin, Germany; E-mail: s.wurst@fu-berlin.de
Abstract: Plants are being threatened by both above- and belowground herbivores which may indirectly influence and interact with each other. However, little is known about how genetic variation of the host plant affects above- and belowground herbivory and shapes plant-mediated insect interaction via herbivore-induced changes in plant performance. Here, we used two genotypes (M4 and E9) of the model plant Solanum dulcamara with or without previous experience of aboveground herbivory by Spodoptera exigua (Noctuidae) to quantify its effects on subsequent root herbivory by Agriotes spp. (Elateridae). The shoot and root biomass of the genotype M4 significantly decreased due to the aboveground herbivory, while the genotype E9 was not affected. Root tissues of M4 plants previously treated with aboveground herbivores had a lower C/N ratio and contained significantly higher levels of proteins, while E9 showed no response. The protease inhibitor (PI) content in roots was not induced by the aboveground herbivore treatment in both genotypes, and no effects on weight gain or mortality of the belowground herbivore was detected. Feeding by Agriotes larvae only increased the nitrogen concentration in the roots of M4 plants. In a feeding assay, the larvae tended to prefer roots of M4 over E9, irrespective of the aboveground herbivore treatment. 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 be not affected when the root biomass offered is still sufficient for growth and survival.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Switched after birth: Performance of viburnum leaf beetle [Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull)] after transfer to a suboptimal host plant
Authors: Gaylord A. Desurmont and Paul A. Weston
Affiliations: Department of Entomology, Cornell University
Abstract: Host switching is common among polyphagous and oligaphagous insects, and can be driven by nutritional requirements or food scarcity. Once optimal food sources have been depleted, immature insects may resort to use suboptimal hosts in order to complete their development. Here we investigated the effects of host switching in larvae of the viburnum leaf beetle (VLB), an invasive landscape pest in North America. Specifically, we studied how transfer of 3rd instar larvae from the optimal host Viburnum dentatum to three suboptimal hosts (V. lentago, V. carlesii, and V sieboldii) affects larval development and survivorship to the adult stage. Survivorship to the adult stage, and pupal and adult mass were overall lower for VLB larvae that switched hosts, independently of the suboptimal host tested. This decrease in performance corresponds to decreased feeding rates on suboptimal hosts. Larvae did not compensate for reduced feeding rate by a longer developmental time. Subsequent choice tests showed that 3rd instar larvae become less choosy as they approach pupation, and discriminate less between optimal and suboptimal hosts once they pass a certain weight threshold. In conclusion, VLB larvae are able to feed on suboptimal hosts in order to complete their development, but host switching has a negative impact of several fitness correlates. Mixed ornamental gardens containing both optimal and suboptimal Viburnum species may provide to outbreaking VLB populations opportunities to survive the depletion of their favored food sources.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: The African maize stalk borer, Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): a new look at insect-plant interactions of a well-studied pest.
Authors: P.A. Calatayud 1,2, B. Le Ru 1,2, J. Van den Berg 3 and F. Schulthess 4
1 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UR 072, c/o icipe (African Insect Science for Food and Health), PO Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
2 CNRS UPR9034, Laboratoire Evolution, Génomes et Spéciation, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex / Université Paris-Sud 11, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France; E-Mail: paul-andre.calatayud@legs.cnrs-gif.fr
3 Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
4 Postfach 508, 7000 Chur, Switzerland
Abstract: Since its first description by Fuller in 1901, Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) has been considered as an important pest of maize and sorghum in sub-Saharan Africa. However, one century later, inaccurate information based on reports made decades ago are still propagated on its distribution (e.g., absent from the coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania) and host plant range (e.g., polyphagous feeding on several cultivated and wild plant species). During the last decade, the interactions of this insect species with plants have been well documented. This review provides updated information on the biology, distribution, chemical ecology and genetics of B. fusca with emphasis on insect-plant interactions. Related to this, new avenues of stem borer management are proposed.

Last update: 24 March 2014

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