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Habitats as Complex Odour Environments: How Does Plant Diversity Affect Herbivore and Parasitoid Orientation?

Title data

Wäschke, Nicole ; Hardge, Kristin ; Hancock, Christine ; Hilker, Monika ; Obermaier, Elisabeth ; Meiners, Torsten:
Habitats as Complex Odour Environments: How Does Plant Diversity Affect Herbivore and Parasitoid Orientation?
In: PLOS ONE. Vol. 9 (2014) Issue 1 . - e85152.
ISSN 1932-6203
DOI der Verlagsversion:

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Plant diversity is known to affect success of host location by pest insects, but its effect on olfactory orientation of non-pest insect species has hardly been addressed. First, we tested in laboratory experiments the hypothesis that non-host plants, which increase odour complexity in habitats, affect the host location ability of herbivores and parasitoids. Furthermore, we recorded field data of plant diversity in addition to herbivore and parasitoid abundance at 77 grassland sites in three different regions in Germany in order to elucidate whether our laboratory results reflect the field situation. As a model system we used the herb Plantago lanceolata, the herbivorous weevil Mecinus pascuorum, and its larval parasitoid Mesopolobus incultus. The laboratory bioassays revealed that both the herbivorous weevil and its larval parasitoid can locate their host plant and host via olfactory cues even in the presence of non-host odour. In a newly established two-circle olfactometer, the weevils capability to detect host plant odour was not affected by odours from non-host plants. However, addition of non-host plant odours to host plant odour enhanced the weevils foraging activity. The parasitoid was attracted by a combination of host plant and host volatiles in both the absence and presence of non-host plant volatiles in a Y-tube olfactometer. In dual choice tests the parasitoid preferred the blend of host plant and host volatiles over its combination with non-host plant volatiles. In the field, no indication was found that high plant diversity disturbs host (plant) location by the weevil and its parasitoid. In contrast, plant diversity was positively correlated with weevil abundance, whereas parasitoid abundance was independent of plant diversity. Therefore, we conclude that weevils and parasitoids showed the sensory capacity to successfully cope with complex vegetation odours when searching for hosts.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Additional notes (visible to public): BAYCEER124712
Keywords: Plantago lanceolata; Mecinus pascuorum; Mesopolobus incultus
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Research Institutions > Central research institutes > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Service Facilities > Ökologisch-Botanischer Garten
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Central research institutes
Service Facilities
Language: English
Originates at UBT: Yes
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2016 11:21
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2020 06:52


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