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Natal origin affects host preference and larval performance relationships in a tritrophic system

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ABSTRACT

Many insects face the challenge to select oviposition sites in heterogeneous environments where biotic and abiotic factors can change over time. One way to deal with this complexity is to use sensory experiences made during developmental stages to locate similar habitats or hosts in which larval development can be maximized. While various studies have investigated oviposition preference and larval performance relationships in insects, they have largely overlooked that sensory experiences made during the larval stage can affect such relationships. We addressed this issue by determining the role of natal experience on oviposition preference and larval performance relationships in a tritrophic system consisting of Galerucella sagittariae, feeding on the two host plants Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora, and its larval parasitoid Asecodes lucens. We firstly determined whether differences in host‐derived olfactory information could lead to divergent host selection, and secondly, whether host preference could result in higher larval performance based on the natal origin of the insects. Our results showed that the natal origin and the quality of the current host are both important aspects in oviposition preference and larval performance relationships. While we found a positive relationship between preference and performance for natal Lysimachia beetles, natal Potentilla larvae showed no such relationship and developed better on L. thyrsiflora. Additionally, the host selection by the parasitoid was mainly affected by the natal origin, while its performance was higher on Lysimachia larvae. With this study, we showed that the relationship between oviposition preference and larval performance depends on the interplay between the natal origin of the female and the quality of the current host. However, without incorporating the full tritrophic context of these interactions, their implication in insect fitness and potential adaptation cannot be fully understood.

No MeSH data available.


(a) Behavioral responses of natal Potentilla (n = 27 and n = 18, respectively) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 18 and n = 21) to odors from damaged Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora (i.e., stimulus) vs. a control treatment with humidified air (white bars). Each shade of gray represents a specific combination of natal origin and current stimulus. (b) Behavioral response of natal Potentilla (n = 30) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 30) in two‐test odor experiments. Full overview of the data analysis is given in Table S1 (*p < .05; ***p < .001)
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ece32826-fig-0002: (a) Behavioral responses of natal Potentilla (n = 27 and n = 18, respectively) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 18 and n = 21) to odors from damaged Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora (i.e., stimulus) vs. a control treatment with humidified air (white bars). Each shade of gray represents a specific combination of natal origin and current stimulus. (b) Behavioral response of natal Potentilla (n = 30) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 30) in two‐test odor experiments. Full overview of the data analysis is given in Table S1 (*p < .05; ***p < .001)

Mentions: We firstly tested the olfactory response of beetles of both natal origins to olfactory cues from undamaged and damaged host plant vs. a control treatment of humidified air, which we denote as one‐test odor experiments throughout the rest of the paper. These tests indicated that beetles were only attracted to damaged plants, and we subsequently excluded undamaged plants from further analysis (Figure S1). We then compared beetle responses depending on natal origin when exposed to volatiles from feeding‐damaged plants of the two host species simultaneously, which we denote as two‐test odor experiments throughout the rest of the study (Figure 2). Feeding damage was obtained by allowing 10 conspecific adults to feed on plants for 20 hr in ventilated acrylic glass containers. Shortly before using the plants in the experiments, the beetles were removed from the plant. Depending on the treatment, shoots of 10–15 cm from either damaged or undamaged plants were placed in gas‐washing bottles that were connected to the olfactometer with Teflon tubing (ø 1.59 mm). The test odors were delivered into the olfactometer by pulling carbon filtered air through the gas‐washing bottles into the olfactometers at 6 ml/s (Model E flow meter, Kytola Instruments, Finland) with a diaphragm pump (MZ 2C; Vacuubrand GmbH, Germany). After each trial, the olfactometers were cleaned with a mild odorless detergent and ethanol, after which the positions of the odor treatments were switched.


Natal origin affects host preference and larval performance relationships in a tritrophic system
(a) Behavioral responses of natal Potentilla (n = 27 and n = 18, respectively) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 18 and n = 21) to odors from damaged Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora (i.e., stimulus) vs. a control treatment with humidified air (white bars). Each shade of gray represents a specific combination of natal origin and current stimulus. (b) Behavioral response of natal Potentilla (n = 30) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 30) in two‐test odor experiments. Full overview of the data analysis is given in Table S1 (*p < .05; ***p < .001)
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ece32826-fig-0002: (a) Behavioral responses of natal Potentilla (n = 27 and n = 18, respectively) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 18 and n = 21) to odors from damaged Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora (i.e., stimulus) vs. a control treatment with humidified air (white bars). Each shade of gray represents a specific combination of natal origin and current stimulus. (b) Behavioral response of natal Potentilla (n = 30) and natal Lysimachia beetles (n = 30) in two‐test odor experiments. Full overview of the data analysis is given in Table S1 (*p < .05; ***p < .001)
Mentions: We firstly tested the olfactory response of beetles of both natal origins to olfactory cues from undamaged and damaged host plant vs. a control treatment of humidified air, which we denote as one‐test odor experiments throughout the rest of the paper. These tests indicated that beetles were only attracted to damaged plants, and we subsequently excluded undamaged plants from further analysis (Figure S1). We then compared beetle responses depending on natal origin when exposed to volatiles from feeding‐damaged plants of the two host species simultaneously, which we denote as two‐test odor experiments throughout the rest of the study (Figure 2). Feeding damage was obtained by allowing 10 conspecific adults to feed on plants for 20 hr in ventilated acrylic glass containers. Shortly before using the plants in the experiments, the beetles were removed from the plant. Depending on the treatment, shoots of 10–15 cm from either damaged or undamaged plants were placed in gas‐washing bottles that were connected to the olfactometer with Teflon tubing (ø 1.59 mm). The test odors were delivered into the olfactometer by pulling carbon filtered air through the gas‐washing bottles into the olfactometers at 6 ml/s (Model E flow meter, Kytola Instruments, Finland) with a diaphragm pump (MZ 2C; Vacuubrand GmbH, Germany). After each trial, the olfactometers were cleaned with a mild odorless detergent and ethanol, after which the positions of the odor treatments were switched.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Many insects face the challenge to select oviposition sites in heterogeneous environments where biotic and abiotic factors can change over time. One way to deal with this complexity is to use sensory experiences made during developmental stages to locate similar habitats or hosts in which larval development can be maximized. While various studies have investigated oviposition preference and larval performance relationships in insects, they have largely overlooked that sensory experiences made during the larval stage can affect such relationships. We addressed this issue by determining the role of natal experience on oviposition preference and larval performance relationships in a tritrophic system consisting of Galerucella sagittariae, feeding on the two host plants Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora, and its larval parasitoid Asecodes lucens. We firstly determined whether differences in host&#8208;derived olfactory information could lead to divergent host selection, and secondly, whether host preference could result in higher larval performance based on the natal origin of the insects. Our results showed that the natal origin and the quality of the current host are both important aspects in oviposition preference and larval performance relationships. While we found a positive relationship between preference and performance for natal Lysimachia beetles, natal Potentilla larvae showed no such relationship and developed better on L.&nbsp;thyrsiflora. Additionally, the host selection by the parasitoid was mainly affected by the natal origin, while its performance was higher on Lysimachia larvae. With this study, we showed that the relationship between oviposition preference and larval performance depends on the interplay between the natal origin of the female and the quality of the current host. However, without incorporating the full tritrophic context of these interactions, their implication in insect fitness and potential adaptation cannot be fully understood.

No MeSH data available.