A maternal influence on the conditioning to plant cues of Aphidius colemani Viereck, parasitizing the aphid Myzus persicae Sulzer
Douloumpaka, S. and van Emden, H. F. (2003) A maternal influence on the conditioning to plant cues of Aphidius colemani Viereck, parasitizing the aphid Myzus persicae Sulzer. Physiological Entomology, 28 (2). pp. 108-113. ISSN 0307-6962
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The offspring of parasitoids, Aphidius colemani Viereck, reared on Brussels sprouts and emerging from Myzus persicae Sulzer on a fully defined artificial diet, show no preferences in a four-way olfactometer, either for the odour of the diet, the odour of Brussels sprouts, or the odour of two other crucifers (cabbage and Chinese cabbage). A similar lack of odour preferences is shown when the host aphids are exposed for parasitization (for 48 h) on cabbage, Chinese cabbage or wheat. However, if parasitization occurs on Brussels sprouts, a weak but statistically highly significant response to Brussels sprout odour is observed. Although as many as 30-35% of the parasitoids show no response to any odour, another 35% respond positively to the odour of Brussels sprout compared with responses to the odours of cabbage, Chinese cabbage or wheat of only approximately 10%. An analagous result is obtained when the parent parasitoids are reared on cabbage. In this case, significant positive responses of their offspring to cabbage odour occur only if the 48-h parasitization has occurred also on cabbage. However, with parasitoids from Brussels sprouts parasitizing the aphids for 48 h also on Brussels sprouts, the offspring subsequently emerging from pupae excised from the mummies show no preference for Brussels sprout odour. Thus, although the Brussels sprout cue had been experienced early in the development of the parasitoids, they only become conditioned to it when emerging from the mummy. Both male and female parasitoids respond very similarly in all experiments. It is proposed that the chemical cue (probably glucosinolates in these experiments) is most likely in the silk surrounding the parasitoid pupa, and that the mother may leave the chemical in or around the egg at oviposition, inducing chemical defences in her offspring to the secondary plant compounds that the offspring are likely to encounter.