The spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch has a broad range of host plants. However, the spider mite does not accept all plants to the same degree because of differences in nutritive and toxic constituents. Other factors, such as the induction of secondary metabolites, the morphology of a leaf surface and the presence of natural enemies, also play an important role in plant acceptance. We compared plants from various families in their degree of acceptance by the spider mite, to get an indication of the plant's direct defence. Glycine max (soybean), Humulus lupulus (hop), Laburnum anagyroides (golden chain) and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) were highly accepted by the spider mites. Different glandular hair densities among tobacco cultivars did not affect their suitability towards spider mites significantly. Solanum melalonga (eggplant), Robinia pseudo-acacia (black locust), Vigna unguiculata (cowpea) and Datura stramonium (thorn apple) were accepted by the spider mites to a lesser degree. Vitis vinifera (grapevine) was poorly accepted by the spider mite. It might be that the food quality of the leaves was not high enough to arrest the spider mites. Also, Capsicum annuum (sweet pepper) and especially Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) were poorly accepted by the spider mite, probably because of the presence and concentration of certain of the secondary metabolites in the leaves. The spider mites accepted all the plants belonging to the Fabaceae for feeding, but those belonging to the Solanaceae showed a larger variance in spider mite acceptance varying from well accepted (tobacco) to poorly accepted (sweet pepper).
- phytophagous mite