Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

An invasive insect herbivore disrupts plant volatile-mediated tritrophic signalling.

Abstract

Plants respond to insect attack by emission of volatile organic compounds, which recruit natural enemies of the attacking herbivore, constituting an indirect plant defence strategy. In this context, the egg parasitoid Trissolcus basalis is attracted by oviposition-induced plant volatiles emitted by Vicia faba plants as a consequence of feeding and oviposition by the pentatomid host Nezara viridula. However, this local tritrophic web could be affected by the recent invasion by the alien pentatomid bug Halyomorpha halys, an herbivore that shares the same environments as native pentatomid pests. Therefore, we investigated in laboratory conditions the possible impact of H. halys on the plant volatile-mediated signalling in the local tritrophic web V. faba-N. viridula-T. basalis. We found that T. basalis wasps were not attracted by volatiles induced in the plants by feeding and oviposition activities of H. halys, indicating specificity in the wasps' response. However, the parasitoid attraction towards plant volatiles emitted as a consequence of feeding and oviposition by the associated host was disrupted when host, N. viridula, and non-associated host, H. halys, were concurrently present on the same plant, indicating that invasion by the alien herbivore interferes with established semiochemical webs. These outcomes are discussed in a context of multiple herbivory by evaluating the possible influences of alien insects on local parasitoid foraging behaviour.