Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2013) 7, 249-258
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Red oilseed rape? The potential for manipulation of petal colour in control strategies for the pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus)
Arthropod-Plant Interactions 7 (3), 249-258
Abstract: The pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus) is a major pest of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) at the inflorescence stage and is well known to prefer colours called yellow by human observers over many other colours. While commercial cultivars of oilseed rape have yellow flowers, little is known about the potential to manipulate host plant location and reduce subsequent infestation by this pest through variation in flower colour. We investigated the responses of pollen beetles to flowers of a white-petalled oilseed rape variety that had been dyed different colours in semi-field arena and field experiments. Flowers dyed blue or red were less heavily infested than those dyed yellow or the white flowers, indicating that blue and red flowers were less attractive than yellow and white ones. This response was most likely due to differences in petal colour because olfactometer studies showed that beetle responses to the odours of the coloured treatments did not differ. The comparatively high infestation of untreated white flowers is interpreted as a consequence of their high UV reflectance; the presence of a UV receptor in M. aeneus is suggested, and its role in visually guided insect-plant interactions in this species described. The potential for manipulation of petal colour in control strategies for the pollen beetle is discussed.
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Database assignments for author(s): Samantha M. Cook
Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host
Pest and/or beneficial records:
|Brassicogethes aeneus||Rape/canola (Brassica napus)|