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Predator–prey interactions: olfactory adaptations of generalist and specialist predators

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1 Olfactory responses of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a generalist predator, Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Hemiptera, Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) (Pm), and a specialist predator, Perillus bioculatus (F.) (Hemiptera, Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) (Pb) were investigated. Volatiles tested included 20 compounds emitted by undamaged potato plants (Solanum tuberosum), plants that had been artificially damaged, or plants damaged by feeding by CPB larvae.

2 Coupled gas chromatography/electroantennogram detector (GC/EAD) recordings revealed five compounds for which reliable responses were recorded from CPB antennae: (E)-2-hexen-1-ol, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, (±)-linalool, nonanal, methyl salicylate, and indole. Both Pm and Pb responded selectively to the same compounds as the CPB with exceptions: (1) (Z)-3-hexenyl butyrate elicited reliable responses for both Pm and Pb, and (2) (E)-2-hexen-1-ol and (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol were inactive for Pm and Pb under these conditions. Dose–response curves showed that CPB was at least 100 times more sensitive to (E)-2-hexen-1-ol than were the predators. Both predators were more sensitive to each of the other compounds than were CPB. Both CPB and Pm were attracted to a five component blend comprising (E)-2-hexen-1-ol, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, (±)-linalool, nonanal and methyl salicylate. However, attraction of CPB to the blend occurred only with lower doses of (E)-2-hexen-1-ol and (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol.

3 These results show that the herbivore (CPB) has olfactory receptors which are more sensitive to constitutive host plant volatiles, e.g. green leaf volatiles, while both generalist (Pm) and specialist (Pb) predators are more sensitive to systemic volatiles produced in response to prey feeding.

Keywords Colorado potato beetle, constitutive compounds, host plant, induced compounds, olfaction, Perillus bioculatus, Podisus maculiventris, predator, prey, tritrophic.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: USDA-ARS, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Plant Sciences Institute, Vegetable Laboratory, Bldg 010A, Room 240, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, U.S.A.

Publication date: February 1, 1999


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