Risk of Egg Parasitoid Attraction Depends on Anti-aphrodisiac Titre in the Large Cabbage White Butterfly Pieris brassicae

M.E. Huigens, E. de Swart, R. Mumm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Males of a variety of insects transfer an anti-aphrodisiac pheromone to females during mating that renders them less attractive to conspecific males. In cabbage white butterflies, the transfer of an anti-aphrodisiac can result in the unwanted attraction of tiny egg parasitoid wasps of the genus Trichogramma that hitch-hike with mated female butterflies to a host plant where they parasitize the freshly laid butterfly eggs. Here, we show that the anti-aphrodisiac benzyl cyanide (BC) of the large cabbage white Pieris brassicae is depleted by frequent display of the mate-refusal posture that signals a female's unreceptivity to mating. This depletion of BC is ecologically important because it results in a reduced risk of attracting the hitch-hiking egg parasitoid Trichogramma brassicae to mated female butterflies over time since mating. Our results indicate for the first time that a reduction in anti-aphrodisiac titre in mated females due to frequent adoption of the mate-refusal posture is beneficial to both mated females and males particularly when parasitoid pressure is high
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-367
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • trichogramma wasps
  • females

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