Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 398975
Title Chemical espionage on species-specific butterfly anti-aphrodisiacs by hitchhiking Trichogramma wasps
Author(s) Huigens, M.E.; Woelke, J.B.; Pashalidou, F.G.; Bukovinszky, T.; Smid, H.M.; Fatouros, N.E.
Source Behavioral Ecology 21 (2010). - ISSN 1045-2249 - p. 470 - 478.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arq007
Department(s) Laboratory of Entomology
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2010
Keyword(s) podisus-maculiventris hemiptera - weevil ceutorhynchus-assimilis - rape brassica-napus - sex-pheromone - oilseed rape - entomophagous insects - parasitic wasps - egg parasitoids - foraging behavior - infochemical use
Abstract Parasitic wasps employ a wide range of chemical cues to find their hosts. Very recently, we discovered how 2 closely related egg parasitoids, Trichogramma brassicae and Trichogramma evanescens, exploit the anti-aphrodisiac pheromone benzyl cyanide of one of their hosts, the gregarious large cabbage white butterfly Pieris brassicae that deposits a clutch of more than 20 eggs per oviposition bout. The pheromone is transferred by male butterflies to females during mating to enforce female monogamy. On detecting the anti-aphrodisiac, the tiny parasitic wasps ride on a mated female butterfly to a host plant and then parasitize her freshly laid eggs. The present study demonstrates that both wasp species similarly exploit the anti-aphrodisiac mixture of methyl salicylate and indole of another host, the more common solitary small cabbage white butterfly Pieris rapae that deposits only one egg at a time. Interestingly, this behavior is innate in T. brassicae, whereas T. evanescens learns it after one successful ride on a mated female butterfly. Moreover, we show that the wasps only respond to the anti-aphrodisiacs of the 2 cabbage white butterflies when the ubiquitous compounds are part of a complete mated female odor blend. Obviously, parasitic wasps use the sophisticated espionage-and-ride strategy to find eggs of different gregarious and solitary host species. From the wasps’ perspective there seems to be a trade-off between the abundance and egg-laying behavior of the butterflies. Our findings suggest that Pieris butterflies are under strong selective pressure to minimize the use of an anti-aphrodisiac.
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