Variation in parasitoid attraction to herbivore-infested plants and alternative host plant cover mediate tritrophic interactions at the landscape scale

Yavanna Aartsma*, Yueyi Hao, Marcel Dicke, Wopke van der Werf, Erik H. Poelman, Felix J.J.A. Bianchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: Tritrophic interactions may be affected by local factors and the broader landscape context. At small spatial scales, carnivorous enemies of herbivorous insects use herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) to find herbivores, but it is unknown whether variation in plant attractiveness due to differential HIPV emission can enhance recruitment of carnivores from the wider landscape. Objectives: We studied whether parasitism of caterpillars of the butterfly Pieris brassicae on white cabbage was influenced by landscape composition and cover with brassicaceous species that provide hosts for parasitoids of P. brassicae in 19 landscapes in the Netherlands. We also investigated whether differential attraction of parasitoids to herbivore-infested plants affected parasitism of P. brassicae caterpillars by using different accessions as proxies for HIPV emission. Results: The cabbage accession that is highly attractive to parasitic wasps recruited more wasps than a less attractive accession, but only when parasitism rates were high. Parasitism rate as proxy of wasp recruitment correlated positively with the cover of brassicaceous plants and area of arable land, suggesting that these habitats support hosts for the wasps and their population growth. In contrast, forest area was negatively associated with parasitism rates. Conclusions: Our study shows that the degree of attractiveness of plants to parasitoids, which is probably mediated by HIPVs, can be a useful predictor of parasitism, but needs to be considered within the landscape context. To understand the strength of tritrophic interactions it is crucial to consider local-scale processes driven by plant-trait variation in combination with landscape-scale processes that determine carnivore abundance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-919
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Animal behaviour
  • HIPV
  • Host location
  • Insect–plant interactions
  • Landscape ecology
  • Parasitism
  • Parasitoid
  • Plant odours
  • Spatial ecology
  • Spatial scales

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