The effect of rearing history and aphid density on volatile-mediated foraging behaviour of Diaeretiella rapae

Pasquale Cascone*, Rieta Gols, Nina E. Fatouros, Camille Ponzio, Marcel Dicke, Emilio Guerrieri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


1. Parasitoid females foraging for hosts rely on cues derived from the insect host, the host plant and/or their interaction, and all of these can be learned during the immature and adult stages.
2. The present study investigated the importance of rearing history on foraging behaviour of Diaeretiella rapae, an endoparasitoid often associated with aphids feeding on brassicaceous plant species.
3. Parasitoids were reared on one of the four possible combinations, comprising two brassicaceous host plant species, Brassica nigra or Raphanus sativus, and two aphid species Brevicoryne brassicae or Myzus persicae. These parasitoids were tested in a Y‐tube olfactometer and given the choice between volatiles emitted by an aphid‐infested plant (25 or 100 aphids per plant) and an uninfested control plant. The parasitoid's responses were compared when offered: (i) the same plant–aphid combination as the one on which it had been reared; (ii) the same host plant infested with the alternative aphid species; or (iii) an alternative plant with the alternative aphid species.
4. Aphid density did affect the behavioural responses to the various odour sources, but rearing history did not. Diaeretiella rapae only preferred aphid‐induced to non‐induced plant volatiles at low aphid infestation level, whereas they did not discriminate between volatiles at high aphid infestation level.
5. It is concluded that aphid‐induced volatiles of brassicaceous plants play an important role during host habitat location, but seem less important for parasitoids to locate the aphid host itself. The data are discussed in the light of manipulation of host plant defences by aphids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number2
Early online dateNov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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