Plant-mediated effects of butterfly egg deposition on subsequent caterpillar and pupal development, across different species of wild Brassicaceae

F.G. Pashalidou*, N.E. Fatouros, J.J.A. van Loon, M. Dicke, R. Gols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


1. Herbivory can change plant quality, which may have consequences for interactions between the inducing herbivore and other insect community members. 2. Studies investigating the effects of plant quality on herbivore performance often have neglected the egg stage, and instead introduced larvae onto the plant. Recently, we reported that herbivore oviposition by Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus) (Large Cabbage White Butterfly) reduced the plant quality of Brassica nigra L. (black mustard) for subsequent herbivores. 3. It remains unclear how persistent and common these plant-mediated effects of oviposition are. Here, five species of wild Brassicaceae were used (B. nigra L., Brassica oleracea L., Sinapis arvensis L., Moricandia arvensis L., and Moricandia moricandioides Boiss). The response to oviposition by the specialist P. brassicae was determined by following the natural sequence of events: oviposition, egg, larval, and pupal development. All tested plant species are known to interact with P. brassicae in nature. Caterpillar, pupal mass, and development time on plants exposed to butterfly eggs were assessed compared with egg-free plants. 4. It was shown that the plant-mediated effects of oviposition are not specific for B. nigra but occur in most of the tested plant species except for M. arvensis. However, the strength of the plant-mediated effect on caterpillar growth depended on plant species. Thus, across different members of the Brassicaceae family, oviposition can influence plant quality and has negative consequences on P. brassicae growth. Further studies are needed to assess to what extent this trait might be phylogenetically conserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-450
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Brassicaceae
  • Egg deposition
  • Insect performance
  • Specialist herbivore
  • Variation


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