Response of Brassica oleracea to temporal variation in attack by two herbivores affects preference and performance of a third herbivore

Jeltje M. Stam*, Lucille Chrétien, Marcel Dicke, Erik H. Poelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


1. Plants are frequently under attack by multiple insect herbivores, which may interact indirectly through herbivore-induced changes in the plant's phenotype. The identity, order, and timing of herbivore arrivals may influence the outcome of interactions between two herbivores. How these aspects affect, in turn, subsequently arriving herbivores that feed on double herbivore-induced plants has not been widely investigated. 2. This study tested whether the order and timing of arrival of two inducing herbivores from different feeding guilds affected the preference and performance of a subsequently arriving third herbivore, caterpillars of Mamestra brassicae L. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Aphids [Brevicoryne brassicae L. (Hemiptera: Aphididae)] and caterpillars [Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae)] were introduced onto wild Brassica oleracea L. (Brassicaceae) plants in different sequences and with different arrival times. The effects of these plant treatments on M. brassicae caterpillars were assessed in pairwise preference tests and no-choice performance tests. 3. The caterpillars of M. brassicae preferred to feed from undamaged plants rather than double herbivore-induced plants. Compared with undamaged plants, they preferred plant material on which aphids had arrived first followed by caterpillars, whereas they avoided plant material with the reverse order of herbivore arrival. Performance of the caterpillars increased with increasing arrival time between herbivore infestations in double herbivore-induced plants. Although M. brassicae grew faster on plants induced by aphids than on those induced by caterpillars alone, its performance was not affected by the order of previous herbivore arrival. 4. These results imply that the timing of colonisation by multiple herbivores determines the outcome of plant-mediated herbivore-herbivore interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-815
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number6
Early online date13 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Arrival sequence
  • Arrival time
  • Brevicoryne brassicae
  • Herbivore-induced plant response
  • Plutella xylostella
  • Wild cabbage
  • 017-4039


Dive into the research topics of 'Response of Brassica oleracea to temporal variation in attack by two herbivores affects preference and performance of a third herbivore'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this