Essential oil composition in leaves of carrot varieties and preference of specialist and generalist sucking insect herbivores
• The carrot psyllid Trioza apicalis and Lygus rugulipennis can cause serious damage to cultivated carrots, especially at the seedling stage. The essential oil composition in leaves of several carrot varieties was studied in relation to oviposition acceptance by sucking insect herbivores that have different feeding strategies. Of the insect species studied, T. apicalis is a carrot specialist, T. anthrisci is an Apiaceae specialist, and L. rugulipennis is a generalist.
• The oil composition differed significantly between leaves from different carrot varieties (Flakkeer 2, Nantura, Parano, Napoli, Panther, Splendid, Nantes 3 Express).
• There were no differences in the mean numbers of eggs laid by T. apicalis or T. anthrisci on different varieties, but L. rugulipennis laid fewer eggs on the Panther variety than on Nantes 3 Express.
• There was a negative linear correlation between limonene concentration and number of eggs laid by T. apicalis, confirming that limonene is a repellent to the carrot psyllid. Results suggest that only particular compounds influence the preference of the carrot psyllid, and these compounds may not be the main components in the essential oil of carrots.
• A positive correlation was found between myrcene concentration and number of eggs laid by T. anthrisci. Essential oil composition did not explain egg-laying preference of L. rugulipennis.
• The results indicate that essential oil composition of carrot varieties affects host preference of Apiaceae specialists more than that of generalists.