Attraction of Three Mirid Predators to Tomato Infested by Both the Tomato Leaf Mining Moth Tuta absoluta and the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci

Diego B. Silva, Vanda H.P. Bueno*, Joop J.A. van Loon, Maria Fernanda G.V. Peñaflor, José Maurício S. Bento, Joop C. van Lenteren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Plants emit volatile compounds in response to insect herbivory, which may play multiple roles as defensive compounds and mediators of interactions with other plants, microorganisms and animals. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) may act as indirect plant defenses by attracting natural enemies of the attacking herbivore. We report here the first evidence of the attraction of three Neotropical mirid predators (Macrolophus basicornis, Engytatus varians and Campyloneuropsis infumatus) toward plants emitting volatiles induced upon feeding by two tomato pests, the leaf miner Tuta absoluta and the phloem feeder Bemisia tabaci, in olfactometer bioassays. Subsequently, we compared the composition of volatile blends emitted by insect-infested tomato plants by collecting headspace samples and analyzing them with GC-FID and GC-MS. Egg deposition by T. absoluta did not make tomato plants more attractive to the mirid predators than uninfested tomato plants. Macrolophus basicornis is attracted to tomato plants infested with either T. absoluta larvae or by a mixture of B. tabaci eggs, nymphs and adults. Engytatus varians and C. infumatus responded to volatile blends released by tomato plants infested with T. absoluta larvae over uninfested plants. Also, multiple herbivory by T. absoluta and B. tabaci did not increase the attraction of the mirids compared to infestation with T. absoluta alone. Terpenoids represented the most important class of compounds in the volatile blends and there were significant differences between the volatile blends emitted by tomato plants in response to attack by T. absoluta, B. tabaci, or by both insects. We, therefore, conclude that all three mirids use tomato plant volatiles to find T. absoluta larvae. Multiple herbivory did neither increase, nor decrease attraction of C. infumatus, E. varians and M. basicornis. By breeding for higher rates of emission of selected terpenes, increased attractiveness of tomato plants to natural enemies may improve the effectiveness of biological control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number1
Early online date25 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Campyloneuropsis infumatus
  • Engytatus varians
  • Macrolophus basicornis
  • Multiple herbivory
  • Predator foraging behavior
  • Tomato pests


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