Effects of far-red light on the behaviour and reproduction of the zoophytophagous predator Macrolophus pygmaeus and its interaction with a whitefly herbivore

Davy Meijer*, Syb Hopkoper, Berhane T. Weldegergis, Wendy van Westende, Gerrit Gort, Joop J.A. van Loon, Marcel Dicke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Plants can detect neighbouring plants through a reduction in the ratio between red and far-red light (R:FR). This provides a signal of plant–plant competition and induces rapid plant growth while inhibiting defence against biotic stress, two interlinked responses designated as the shade avoidance syndrome (SAS). Consequently, the SAS can influence plant–herbivore interactions that could cascade to higher trophic levels. However, little is known about how the expression of the SAS can influence tritrophic interactions. We investigated whether changes in R:FR affect the emission of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), and whether these changes influence the attraction of the zoophytophagous predator Macrolophus pygmaeus. We also studied how the expression of the SAS and subsequent inhibition of plant defences affects the reproduction of M. pygmaeus in both the presence and absence of the greenhouse whitefly (WF) (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) as arthropod prey. The results show that changes in R:FR have little effect on HIPV emissions and predator attraction. However, a reduction in R:FR leads to increased reproduction of both the predator and the WFs. We discuss that shade avoidance responses can increase the population development of M. pygmaeus through a combination of reduced plant defences and increased herbivore densities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Volume47
Issue number1
Early online date13 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • arthropod performance
  • predator–prey interactions
  • shade avoidance
  • Trialeurodes vaporariorum
  • tritrophic interactions
  • volatiles

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