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Attraction of Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) towards volatiles from various Tetranychus urticae-infested plant species

  • C.E.M. van den Boom (a1), T.A. van Beek (a1) and M. Dicke (a2)


Plants infested with the spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch, may indirectly defend themselves by releasing volatiles that attract the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot. Several plants from different plant families that varied in the level of spider mite acceptance were tested in an olfactometer. The predatory mites were significantly attracted to the spider mite-infested leaves of all test plant species. No differences in attractiveness of the infested plant leaves were found for predatory mites reared on spider mites on the different test plants or on lima bean. Thus, experience with the spider mite-induced plant volatiles did not affect the predatory mites. Jasmonic acid was applied to ginkgo leaves to induce a mimic of a spider mite-induced volatile blend, because the spider mites did not survive when incubated on ginkgo. The volatile blend induced in ginkgo by jasmonic acid was slightly attractive to predatory mites. Plants with a high degree of direct defence were thought to invest less in indirect defence than plants with a low degree of direct defence. However, plants that had a strong direct defence such as ginkgo and sweet pepper, did emit induced volatiles that attracted the predatory mite. This indicates that a combination of direct and indirect defence is to some extent compatible in plant species.


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